Australian submarines project a $220bn disaster that could jeopardise the nation for a generation

Australian submarines project a $220bn disaster that could jeopardise the nation for a generation. By Robert Gottliebsen.

I have access to information that has made me realise that the proposed submarine project is not a normal mistake that can be managed — it is a national disaster. …

The DCNS Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A design is a conventionally-powered derivative of France’s nuclear-powered Suffren-class submarines.

Stupid, late, hobbled by politics, and ripping us off blind.

Previously former PM Tony Abbott had a nodding agreement with the Japanese prime minister to buy the Japanese submarine. However, down the line staff in the Japanese submarine operation did not want to do such a deal and so undermined the efforts of those at the top. …

So someone got spun a line by the French. Oh dear.

Our defence systems are linked or at least compatible to the United States. The US defence and security people have never trusted the French since US defence secrets were leaked to Russia during the reign of President de Gaulle. That distrust has grown in the decades that followed and intensified when the base design of the Australian submarine was leaked prior to the deal. The Americans demanded that it only supply its combat system to the project if the US had a separate deal with Australia.

And so, the submarine development is two deals — one for the basic design between Australia and France and one for the combat system between Australia and the US. And the French will have restricted access to the combat system in the submarine they are designing. …

The US is very sensitive to its technology which was illustrated when Turkey bought antimissile systems from Russia. The US immediately cancelled its Joint Strike Fighter deal with Turkey. …

This is a high-risk new technology submarine so with two “warring” suppliers there will be an endless blame game. …

The Australian government announced in 2016 that it would be paying $50 billion, inflation protected, for the submarines. By 2018 that had blown out to $90 billion. At that time, with help, I estimated that the final costs over the life of the submarines, including maintenance etc, would be around $225 billion. …

Given the looming chaos that I have described we conceivably could be looking at $400 billion to $500 billion, although that is pure speculation.

Ridiculously expensive, and ridiculously technologically risky and probably inadequate because of political nonsense. A testament to the incompetence of the Australian deep state.

The US is paying about US$6 billion per nuclear submarine for its own boats, available to start building now (Virginia class, lifetime costs estimate). We are paying US$13 billion (maybe double that if there is a blow out) each for twelve slow old conventional, incompatible submarine, delivery 2040+. Brilliant.