EX-PM SPEAKS: Abbott flabbergasted at Turnbull government’s decision to delay new submarines by a decade. The new Australian defence white paper commits to acquiring 12 new conventional submarines, “with the first submarines likely to begin entering service in the early 2030s”. There is no explanation in the new white paper for the slippage of nearly a decade.
“I’m not just disappointed, I’m flabbergasted at this decision,’’ Mr Abbott told The Australian.
The former prime minister said there was nothing in the defence area more important than quickly replacing the Collins-class submarines, which he described as “a fragile platform”.
“This is vital for the defence of the nation, it is vital for our national self-respect, it is vital for our national security.”
That will be about two decades too late. The Collins Class submarines are junk that need to be replaced as soon as possible. The Soryu Class is the only option that can do that. Add an eight-metre section to the hull for the extra fuel and an Australianised version will be ready to go. The White Paper budgets more than $50 billion for the design and construction of 12 new submarines. That works out to $4.2 billion each. In the 2015 Japanese defence budget, the 11th vessel in the Soryu Class program was budgeted at US$537 million, currently equating to $756 million. So we are setting out to pay 5.5 times the cost of something very similar? Something isn’t right.