Time to face hard truths on Australia’s defence

Time to face hard truths on Australia’s defence, by Robert Gottliebsen.

One of our military heroes, Jim Molan, has found his way into the Senate and has started the long process of discovering and then telling Australians the truth about the mess we have made of defence.

First he told Australians that we were one of the few developed countries in the world without substantial fuel stocks and our supplies could be cut off in a war. And he also warned that the US might be too weak to defend Australia …

Then, in Senate estimates, he queried the ability of Australia’s new strike fighter the F-35 to fight Russian built fighters at supersonic speed, and at high altitudes north of Australia …

Part of the reason we will struggle to fund fuel stocks is the high cost of our defence tendering process. …

Apparently a large part of the problem is buying votes, especially South Australian votes. Also tendering rules are changed in expensive ways after contracts have been signed, for political reasons that are only loosely related to defense effectiveness. Good one, politicians.

Over paying is a tradition in defence.

Take the frigates where we are paying around $4 billion for each frigate when India is buying similar but not the same frigates for a quarter of that price and the US can build a destroyer for about quarter to a third of our frigate price. Our frigates also won’t be available until well into future.