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Australia's submarine solution

Sean K

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One thing that gets overlooked in the China debate is that is primarily Western consumers who are funding China's military buildup by buying their exports .

If we want to contain China, the first thing to do is stop buying their stuff, or put import tarrifs on them and put the proceeds into our own manufacturing.

Yep, but that’s globalism for you. Europe is still funding Russia.
 
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I fear that rederob is trying to move the goal posts. His views can't be substantiated, so his tactics have changed.
Why can't you justify your points?

I asked about the relevance of the map you posted (#147). A quick glance shows half a dozen nations of South-East Asia having concerns about any subs in their waters. Perhaps you can tell us why they should be there rather than nearby, protecting our continent.
 
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Why can't you justify your points?

I asked about the relevance of the map you posted (#147). A quick glance shows half a dozen nations of South-East Asia having concerns about any subs in their waters. Perhaps you can tell us why they should be there rather than nearby, protecting our continent.
But our subs will be in international waters presumably?
 

JohnDe

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Why can't you justify your points?

I asked about the relevance of the map you posted (#147). A quick glance shows half a dozen nations of South-East Asia having concerns about any subs in their waters. Perhaps you can tell us why they should be there rather than nearby, protecting our continent.


You make erroneous comments, like "A quick glance shows half a dozen nations of South-East Asia having concerns about any subs in their waters." When it is common knowledge that our navy navigates through international waters, which the map and YouTube video show.

The map cannot be looked at in isolation, it must be used with the previous posts that express my views. As you well know but ignore in an attempt to hide something.

And your latest twisting of what is said "they should be there rather than nearby, protecting our continent", when I have clearly stated "Australia must be able to defend itself and its trade routes."

As the episode of What's Going on With Shipping shows, there is more than one way to defend our country and its interest. Going around and circling Australian waters is not one of them.

But you know all this, while you shift the goal posts

Moving+the+Goalposts+Thumbnail.png
 
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You make erroneous comments, like "A quick glance shows half a dozen nations of South-East Asia having concerns about any subs in their waters."
Explain how subs in another nation's waters is not a concern? EEZ's extend for 200km and the idea of a sub surfacing next to your fishing boat is unlikely to make you happy!

The map cannot be looked at in isolation, it must be used with the previous posts that express my views. As you well know but ignore in an attempt to hide something.
How are our subs in South East Asian waters defending Australia?
And your latest twisting of what is said "they should be there rather than nearby, protecting our continent", when I have clearly stated "Australia must be able to defend itself and its trade routes."
Two entirely different points.
AUKUS leaves our army and airforce vulnerable via disproportionate spending and very little bang for our buck.
So now explain how a few subs protect our trade routes which have no Australian flagged ships anyway and would be better off protected by those nations who are receiving our exports? After all, it's their cargo on the line.
As the episode of What's Going on With Shipping shows, there is more than one way to defend our country and its interest. Going around and circling Australian waters is not one of them.
The issue is about how effective AUKUS can be. Is it really protecting our trade routes or is it doing America's bidding in South East Asia and the Pacific where there is zero unrest and no need for shipping to feel threatened?
If you listen to Marles, he has a foot in both camps. And he will know that at best we might actually have 3 subs at sea at any given time. When looked at objectively the AUKUS decision comes straight from hysteria being whipped up by the west over a nation that has no declared interest beyond its own sovereign territory.
 

JohnDe

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Explain how subs in another nation's waters is not a concern? EEZ's extend for 200km and the idea of a sub surfacing next to your fishing boat is unlikely to make you happy!


How are our subs in South East Asian waters defending Australia?

Can you show me the document that states that an Australian Navy sub will be entering or stationed "in another nation's waters"?

The video explains how the subs will be used as a defence to our nation, it explains how during WWII nations used their forces to choke trade and supply routes. Please re-watch with an open mind, the answers that you search for on this are clearly explained.

As for the number of subs, well we have to start somewhere. We already have the Collins class, old but still useful. And now we have AUKUS which will include US subs being stationed at an Australian port, while others patrol. Australia is not in this on their own, we have allies.

Again, watch the video and accept that the narrator has experience and qualifications that you don't.

 
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Can you show me the document that states that an Australian Navy sub will be entering or stationed "in another nation's waters"?
Your map! Although there are conventions for safe transit, the question you have never addressed is why we need our subs in places like the South China Sea.
The video explains how the subs will be used as a defence to our nation, it explains how during WWII nations used their forces to choke trade and supply routes. Please re-watch with an open mind, the answers that you search for on this are clearly explained.
This is 2023 and little from WWII applies because weaponry has outgrown platforms, while hybrid warfare has become the norm. None of that was in your link. Autonomous, unmanned vessels on land, sea and in the air is where all smart research and sensible funding is going. By the time we have manned nuclear subs in the water they are likely to have been superseded by UAVs.
As for the number of subs, well we have to start somewhere.
We have 6 submarines in our navy, as you note. Under the previous government nuclear subs were ruled out for the reasons I have covered. The only thing that has changed is the extra $300 billion price tag. We can buy off the shelf submarines for defence that are not "attack" submarines and have no need to ply the South China Sea.

With America's existing submarine supply chain in place they estimate their first Columbia class nuclear sub will still take over 10 years to get into the water. And none of their recent subs builds have been on time or budget so that's optimistic. If we start a nuclear sub build locally, then a 15 year timeline will be a good outcome.

Unfortunately not many people - politicians in particular - are applying their brains to what is necessary for defence when the shi!t hits the fan. Subs can play a role, but they need to be in decent number with significant firepower. AUKUS provides neither. On the other hand there are options like the Bayraktar that could be deployed in the thousands for less than the cost of one nuclear sub, or for about $10B we could pick up almost 500 MQ-9 Reapers (like that one downed by Russia the other day). Not to put too fine a point on it, anyone wanting to attack Australia would have little trouble knocking out half our subs and all their bases in no time at all. Having a few at sea with nowhere to base is not a good outcome for a $380B commitment.
 
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Autonomous subs can play a role but the programming necessary to ensure that they won't loose off misslies on the wrong target means that their usefulness is probably limited to surveillance .
 

JohnDe

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Autonomous subs can play a role but the programming necessary to ensure that they won't loose off misslies on the wrong target means that their usefulness is probably limited to surveillance .

And until AI is as good as human intuition, humans will continue to be at the controls.
 

JohnDe

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It’s time to return fire against AUKUS naysayers

The AUKUS pathway for Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines is barely 10 days old. Already it is clear that the biggest threat to the plan is not the opposition, which is embracing bipartisan support, or China’s absurd attempts to distract from its own military behaviour by saying AUKUS threatens regional security.
Labor’s biggest challenge comes from within: it’s the attacks on AUKUS from Paul Keating, Bob Carr, at least one Labor backbencher and former Labor staff.

This critique of AUKUS includes sweeping but generally poorly informed dismissals of submarine technology, Australian defence policy, the reliability of the US and the supposed invincibility of China.

If there is one lesson Anthony Albanese should take from the disastrous French submarine contract, it is that governments have no chance of delivering projects they can’t explain. AUKUS will have to be sold in the square of public opinion every day until the boats arrive.

You can be certain the anti-AUKUS elements will grow louder and probably better organised. Progressive politics loves a cause, and what could be a more galvanising mix than a plan combining nuclear propulsion, the US, the British, defence industry and a chance to indulge benign and defeatist views of communist China?

Well done to the Prime Minister, Defence Minister Richard Marles and Foreign Minister Penny Wong for dismissing the angry and out-of-date views of Keating. Now the need is to make the detailed case for AUKUS, explaining the military technology, the value of the alliance and why we need to deter China’s aggression

One Labor tradition worth repeating is using parliament to make detailed ministerial policy statements. AUKUS is surely worth a six-monthly prime ministerial statement that enables members and senators to put their views on the public record.

Marles has already made a parliamentary statement on how Australia will keep sovereign control of submarine operations. That helped Marles counter silly arguments that US nuclear engineers will veto Australian commanding officers.

996e406028dfa37b681447b735d93dda.jpg
Richard Marles after signing a co-operation agreement to build the AUSKUS submarines at the Osborne Naval Shipyard. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Brenton Edwards

Now the government must set out its position on many of the anti-AUKUS arguments already picking up steam. One probably skewers red herrings rather than torpedoes them, but here are four poor quality anti-AUKUS arguments in need of immediate broadsides.

First it’s claimed that future technology will make the oceans transparent, rendering submarines obsolescent. I have seen one claim by business columnist Robert Gottliebsen that “the US is developing an ability to locate submarines from the air using a giant radar mounted in a pod”. This can pick up a submarine’s undersea wakes and “the Chinese have a similar system which may be more advanced”.

I can assure readers that no such giant pod exists, making the deep oceans transparent to aircraft or even satellites. Quantum computing may make progress in surface detection of wakes that are hundreds of metres deep. But we are decades from that point, if it is ever reached.

It is true that submarine hunting technology will improve, but submarines also will get quieter and faster, decoys more numerous, and weapons will have longer ranges.

China, Russia, the US and dozens of other countries are not investing billions of dollars into submarines knowing that radars in pods will make them worthless. The anti-AUKUS argument is false. One would hope our navy might easily refute such undergraduate debating points. Don’t hold your breath. The government will have to drag that out of Defence, an organisation that does not accept it has to explain its business.

6c9f8ea814ffd5e36ba22058fb4df9d6.jpg
Rear Admiral Matthew Buckley, Head of Nuclear Submarine Capability, Royal Australian Navy is seen on-board the USS Asheville, a Los Angeles-class nuclear powered fast attack submarine.

A second anti-AUKUS claim is that we simply will not be able crew nuclear-powered boats. A Virginia-class sub has a crew of about 135 compared with 42 for a Collins-class boat. The future AUKUS subs may be closer to 100 personnel.

Note that on Defence’s planning we will not have eight AUKUS subs in the water until the early 2060s. We have 38 years to find less than 1000 personnel, almost all not yet born.

Crew numbers will not be a showstopper. If the task seems too hard, consider that some have argued a better approach would be to build and operate 50 Collins-class conventional subs. That would require a notional total crew of 2100.

Of course 50 Collins-class boats would need at least two more navy bases than we currently have. The idea that Australian security will be maintained by swarms of crewed 1980s technology diesel submarines, operating one presumes south of the Indonesian archipelago (they will not survive farther north) is absurd.

Third, we have the claim that operating two different nuclear-powered submarines at the same time – when the Virginia-class subs hand over to the AUKUS design – crosses a threshold of complexity for Australia that will be just too difficult to manage.

Why should that be so? The boat’s weapons and sensors will be the same, the nuclear reactors will be similar, as will the training and maintenance systems.

90ee5331a9cbe40e2c4c636d7d67ebe4.jpg
Anthony Albanese, Joe Biden and Rishi Sunak hold a press conference after a trilateral meeting during the AUKUS summit on March 13, 2023 in San Diego.

The Australian air force, with fewer than 14,500 people, operates more than a dozen types of aircraft from the F-35 to the Super Hornet, Growler electronic warfare aircraft, along with early warning and control, maritime patrol, refuelling, heavy and tactical transport aircraft. But the navy, it’s asserted, cannot run two types of submarines because subs are “complex”. In fact for a small force the Australian Defence Force manages complexity remarkably well, with high levels of safety and (important for a defence force) with absolute lethality.

A fourth anti-AUKUS claim is that the project represents a stealthy shift from a “defence of Australia” strategy to a “forward defence” concept – meaning, as former Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade secretary Peter Varghese put it in The Australian Financial Review, that “some day we may have to fight in a battle a long way from Australia and as part of a US-led coalition”.

A defence of Australia strategy would not be improved by selecting military equipment reducing our ability to support a coalition-led war. Our participation in a future conflict will be determined by the grit of our political leadership, not the equipment Defence uses.

It’s past time for the government to have a fresh conversation with the Australian people about defence strategy. The defence of Australia concept developed in the ’80s focused on how to deal with a so-called low-level threat from Indonesia. That time is long past. Now, the risk to regional peace is China. In this new reality Australia cannot defend itself by preparing only for what might happen south of the Indonesian archipelago.

What does the defence of Australia mean in the 2020s? It’s time the government developed its thinking on that point. To pretend this has nothing to do with China, as the anti-AUKUS critics seem to suggest, would be naive and extremely dangerous.
 
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Autonomous subs can play a role but the programming necessary to ensure that they won't loose off misslies on the wrong target means that their usefulness is probably limited to surveillance .
You are confusing an AUV with an autonomous submarine which is not on anyone's drawing board.
 
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@JohnDe
Do you have an original thought or will you rely on copious cutting and pasting?

Your article from The Australian does nothing to improve the case for AUKUS.
First, the issue of ocean transparency in coming decades is not new. But it's barely relevant! The fact we can see naval surface vessels does not stop them from being built: they serve other purposes. In the case of subs those other purposes relate mostly yo "spying"!!!

The point about crewing seems not understood. It's not about numbers but expertise. Nuclear sub command and control requires unique skill sets, for rather obvious reasons. That still leaves us with a handful of submarines, and it won't be enough to achieve any decent amount of firepower against an enemy, let alone protect a merchant fleet. Note this latter point in not mentioned, again for obvious reasons.

Let me now break down just one piece of the article's poor logic:
" The idea that Australian security will be maintained by swarms of crewed 1980s technology diesel submarines, operating one presumes south of the Indonesian archipelago (they will not survive farther north) is absurd."
First, most submarines presently under construction and in national fleets are conventional. That's because they offer a reasonable defense capability rather than attack, per se.
Second, weapons aboard the proposed nuclear subs and conventional subs would be the same.
Third, an important reason we had not gone nuclear in the previous decade was because we simply had no military imperative to operate north of the indonesian archipelago. That is, our defensive capability was most effective closer to home. Like a lot of what we are being fed on AUKUS, it's plain wrong thinking or misleading.

The article's third point is a further failure to understand that the different technologies are separate levels of complexity. There is a reason why nuclear subs are so hard to build as they are often described as the most complex pieces of engineering ever. Crossing between the two is not the cakewalk the article would have us believe.

The fourth point makes sense in that AUKUS is an essential tool in a US-led coalition of the willing... like Vietnam, Iraq, etc....

The China hawks have us believing Australia could be attacked in as few as 3 years. Putting aside the timeline, what would China gain? As Russia has learned, any pre-emptive attack mobilises much of the rest of the world against you. As the world's preeminent trading nation China's economy would quickly fall apart and take generations to recover. Do we think China has not worked this out and will attack us anyway?
 

JohnDe

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@JohnDe
Do you have an original thought or will you rely on copious cutting and pasting?

Your article from The Australian does nothing to improve the case for AUKUS.
First, the issue of ocean transparency in coming decades is not new. But it's barely relevant! The fact we can see naval surface vessels does not stop them from being built: they serve other purposes. In the case of subs those other purposes relate mostly yo "spying"!!!

The point about crewing seems not understood. It's not about numbers but expertise. Nuclear sub command and control requires unique skill sets, for rather obvious reasons. That still leaves us with a handful of submarines, and it won't be enough to achieve any decent amount of firepower against an enemy, let alone protect a merchant fleet. Note this latter point in not mentioned, again for obvious reasons.

Let me now break down just one piece of the article's poor logic:
" The idea that Australian security will be maintained by swarms of crewed 1980s technology diesel submarines, operating one presumes south of the Indonesian archipelago (they will not survive farther north) is absurd."
First, most submarines presently under construction and in national fleets are conventional. That's because they offer a reasonable defense capability rather than attack, per se.
Second, weapons aboard the proposed nuclear subs and conventional subs would be the same.
Third, an important reason we had not gone nuclear in the previous decade was because we simply had no military imperative to operate north of the indonesian archipelago. That is, our defensive capability was most effective closer to home. Like a lot of what we are being fed on AUKUS, it's plain wrong thinking or misleading.

The article's third point is a further failure to understand that the different technologies are separate levels of complexity. There is a reason why nuclear subs are so hard to build as they are often described as the most complex pieces of engineering ever. Crossing between the two is not the cakewalk the article would have us believe.

The fourth point makes sense in that AUKUS is an essential tool in a US-led coalition of the willing... like Vietnam, Iraq, etc....

The China hawks have us believing Australia could be attacked in as few as 3 years. Putting aside the timeline, what would China gain? As Russia has learned, any pre-emptive attack mobilises much of the rest of the world against you. As the world's preeminent trading nation China's economy would quickly fall apart and take generations to recover. Do we think China has not worked this out and will attack us anyway?

Copious cutting and pasting that reflect my thoughts.

Especially from those that have proven references and expertise, and also put names to them so they can be checked.
 

JohnDe

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The point about crewing seems not understood. It's not about numbers but expertise. Nuclear sub command and control requires unique skill sets, for rather obvious reasons. That still leaves us with a handful of submarines, and it won't be enough to achieve any decent amount of firepower against an enemy, let alone protect a merchant fleet. Note this latter point in not mentioned, again for obvious reasons.

Let me now break down just one piece of the article's poor logic:
" The idea that Australian security will be maintained by swarms of crewed 1980s technology diesel submarines, operating one presumes south of the Indonesian archipelago (they will not survive farther north) is absurd."
First, most submarines presently under construction and in national fleets are conventional. That's because they offer a reasonable defense capability rather than attack, per se.
Second, weapons aboard the proposed nuclear subs and conventional subs would be the same.
Third, an important reason we had not gone nuclear in the previous decade was because we simply had no military imperative to operate north of the indonesian archipelago. That is, our defensive capability was most effective closer to home. Like a lot of what we are being fed on AUKUS, it's plain wrong thinking or misleading.

The article's third point is a further failure to understand that the different technologies are separate levels of complexity. There is a reason why nuclear subs are so hard to build as they are often described as the most complex pieces of engineering ever. Crossing between the two is not the cakewalk the article would have us believe.

The fourth point makes sense in that AUKUS is an essential tool in a US-led coalition of the willing... like Vietnam, Iraq, etc....

The China hawks have us believing Australia could be attacked in as few as 3 years. Putting aside the timeline, what would China gain? As Russia has learned, any pre-emptive attack mobilises much of the rest of the world against you. As the world's preeminent trading nation China's economy would quickly fall apart and take generations to recover. Do we think China has not worked this out and will attack us anyway?

1) First it’s claimed that future technology will make the oceans transparent, rendering submarines obsolescent. I have seen one claim by business columnist Robert Gottliebsen that “the US is developing an ability to locate submarines from the air using a giant radar mounted in a pod”.

I can assure readers that no such giant pod exists, making the deep oceans transparent to aircraft or even satellites. Quantum computing may make progress in surface detection of wakes that are hundreds of metres deep. But we are decades from that point, if it is ever reached.
It is true that submarine hunting technology will improve, but submarines also will get quieter and faster, decoys more numerous, and weapons will have longer ranges.
China, Russia, the US and dozens of other countries are not investing billions of dollars into submarines knowing that radars in pods will make them worthless.

2) A second anti-AUKUS claim is that we simply will not be able crew nuclear-powered boats. A Virginia-class sub has a crew of about 135 compared with 42 for a Collins-class boat. The future AUKUS subs may be closer to 100 personnel.

Note that on Defence’s planning we will not have eight AUKUS subs in the water until the early 2060s. We have 38 years to find less than 1000 personnel, almost all not yet born.
Crew numbers will not be a showstopper. If the task seems too hard, consider that some have argued a better approach would be to build and operate 50 Collins-class conventional subs. That would require a notional total crew of 2100.
Of course 50 Collins-class boats would need at least two more navy bases than we currently have. The idea that Australian security will be maintained by swarms of crewed 1980s technology diesel submarines, operating one presumes south of the Indonesian archipelago (they will not survive farther north) is absurd.

3) Third, we have the claim that operating two different nuclear-powered submarines at the same time – when the Virginia-class subs hand over to the AUKUS design – crosses a threshold of complexity for Australia that will be just too difficult to manage.

Why should that be so? The boat’s weapons and sensors will be the same, the nuclear reactors will be similar, as will the training and maintenance systems.
The Australian air force, with fewer than 14,500 people, operates more than a dozen types of aircraft from the F-35 to the Super Hornet, Growler electronic warfare aircraft, along with early warning and control, maritime patrol, refuelling, heavy and tactical transport aircraft. But the navy, it’s asserted, cannot run two types of submarines because subs are “complex”. In fact for a small force the Australian Defence Force manages complexity remarkably well, with high levels of safety and (important for a defence force) with absolute lethality.

4) A fourth anti-AUKUS claim is that the project represents a stealthy shift from a “defence of Australia” strategy to a “forward defence” concept – meaning, as former Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade secretary Peter Varghese put it in The Australian Financial Review, that “some day we may have to fight in a battle a long way from Australia and as part of a US-led coalition”.

A defence of Australia strategy would not be improved by selecting military equipment reducing our ability to support a coalition-led war. Our participation in a future conflict will be determined by the grit of our political leadership, not the equipment Defence uses.​
It’s past time for the government to have a fresh conversation with the Australian people about defence strategy. The defence of Australia concept developed in the ’80s focused on how to deal with a so-called low-level threat from Indonesia. That time is long past. Now, the risk to regional peace is China. In this new reality Australia cannot defend itself by preparing only for what might happen south of the Indonesian archipelago.​

Mr Peter Jennings PSM​

EXPERTISE​

Strategic policy, crisis management, international security, international policy

PHONE​

(+61 2) 6270-5100

BIOGRAPHY​

Peter Jennings is a Senior Fellow and was the executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) from May 2012 to May 2022.
He has worked in senior roles in the Australian Public Service on defence and national security. He was Deputy Secretary for Strategy in the Defence Department (2009-12); Chief of Staff to the Minister for Defence (1996-98) and Senior Adviser for Strategic Policy to the Prime Minister (2002-03).
Peter led the ‘External Expert Panel’ appointed in 2014 to advise on the Defence White Paper, released in February 2016. Peter was a member of the Australia-Germany Advisory Group, appointed by the Prime Minister and German Chancellor in 2015 to develop closer bilateral relations. He has been a member of the Advisory Group on Australia-Africa Relations advising the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Peter has previously held several Senior Executive Service positions in Defence including First Assistant Secretary International Policy and First Assistant Secretary Coordination and Public Affairs, Deputy Director of the Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation and head of the Strategic Policy Branch. In 1999 Peter ran Defence’s East Timor Policy Unit, developing policy for the stabilization operation in East Timor.
Peter studied at the London Business School in 2000–2001 as a Sloan Fellow and was awarded a Masters of Science (Management) with Distinction. He has a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations from the Australian National University (1987) and a BA (Honours) in History from the University of Tasmania (1980–1984). He has been a Fulbright Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1985).
Peter was awarded the Public Service Medal in the Australia Day 2013 Honours list. In February 2016 Peter was awarded the French decoration of Knight in the Order of Legion of Honour. In 2021 he was awarded a Commendation by the Foreign Minister of Japan for services to the bilateral relationship.
Peter has stepped down as ASPI Executive Director after a decade in the position in early May 2022.

 
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Copious cutting and pasting that reflect my thoughts.

Especially from those that have proven references and expertise, and also put names to them so they can be checked.
Yet they avoid many of the points I have raised.
Why are we placing subs in SE Asia?
Why are there so few so late at a huge expense?
Where is the firepower that is needed to counter an attack?
Why don't our subs perform optimally in our continental waters?
What is the trade off in terms of lost firepower and capability wrt our army and airforce.
the purchase is farcical for a nation with a natural geographic defence, viz. distance, archipelago and seas to traverse.
They are just the military spects.

The economic consequences are even more damning.
There's a social cost that strains welfare capacity, diminishes national infrastructure spend, and keeps us deep in the Budget red for 3 more decades, minimum. And that's not considering another market collapse, GFC style event or viral pandemic in the interim.

Why you think your fallacious arguments from authority carry weight is beyond me. Smart people can say dumb stuff. In this case the AUKUS decision meets only one criterion that makes sense. That is, a nuclear sub of itself is a very capable piece of equipment in today's world.
 

JohnDe

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Yet they avoid many of the points I have raised.


Your goal posts must be on a block & pulley system.

rederob:​

  • First, most submarines presently under construction and in national fleets are conventional. That's because they offer a reasonable defense capability rather than attack, per se.
  • Second, weapons aboard the proposed nuclear subs and conventional subs would be the same.
  • Third, an important reason we had not gone nuclear in the previous decade was because we simply had no military imperative to operate north of the indonesian archipelago. That is, our defensive capability was most effective closer to home. Like a lot of what we are being fed on AUKUS, it's plain wrong thinking or misleading.
  • The fourth point makes sense in that AUKUS is an essential tool in a US-led coalition of the willing... like Vietnam, Iraq, etc....

In my humble opinion, I believe that your four points have been more than adequately answered. And to top it off, by someone who's expertise is in several fields: Strategic policy, crisis management, international security, international policy.
Whereas your comments and opinions are faceless and nameless, so yes, I do put more faith in people like Peter Jennings that I can see their qualifications and check their history & references.


1) First it’s claimed that future technology will make the oceans transparent, rendering submarines obsolescent. I have seen one claim by business columnist Robert Gottliebsen that “the US is developing an ability to locate submarines from the air using a giant radar mounted in a pod”.

I can assure readers that no such giant pod exists, making the deep oceans transparent to aircraft or even satellites. Quantum computing may make progress in surface detection of wakes that are hundreds of metres deep. But we are decades from that point, if it is ever reached.
It is true that submarine hunting technology will improve, but submarines also will get quieter and faster, decoys more numerous, and weapons will have longer ranges.
China, Russia, the US and dozens of other countries are not investing billions of dollars into submarines knowing that radars in pods will make them worthless.

2) A second anti-AUKUS claim is that we simply will not be able crew nuclear-powered boats. A Virginia-class sub has a crew of about 135 compared with 42 for a Collins-class boat. The future AUKUS subs may be closer to 100 personnel.

Note that on Defence’s planning we will not have eight AUKUS subs in the water until the early 2060s. We have 38 years to find less than 1000 personnel, almost all not yet born.
Crew numbers will not be a showstopper. If the task seems too hard, consider that some have argued a better approach would be to build and operate 50 Collins-class conventional subs. That would require a notional total crew of 2100.
Of course 50 Collins-class boats would need at least two more navy bases than we currently have. The idea that Australian security will be maintained by swarms of crewed 1980s technology diesel submarines, operating one presumes south of the Indonesian archipelago (they will not survive farther north) is absurd.

3) Third, we have the claim that operating two different nuclear-powered submarines at the same time – when the Virginia-class subs hand over to the AUKUS design – crosses a threshold of complexity for Australia that will be just too difficult to manage.

Why should that be so? The boat’s weapons and sensors will be the same, the nuclear reactors will be similar, as will the training and maintenance systems.
The Australian air force, with fewer than 14,500 people, operates more than a dozen types of aircraft from the F-35 to the Super Hornet, Growler electronic warfare aircraft, along with early warning and control, maritime patrol, refuelling, heavy and tactical transport aircraft. But the navy, it’s asserted, cannot run two types of submarines because subs are “complex”. In fact for a small force the Australian Defence Force manages complexity remarkably well, with high levels of safety and (important for a defence force) with absolute lethality.

4) A fourth anti-AUKUS claim is that the project represents a stealthy shift from a “defence of Australia” strategy to a “forward defence” concept – meaning, as former Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade secretary Peter Varghese put it in The Australian Financial Review, that “some day we may have to fight in a battle a long way from Australia and as part of a US-led coalition”.


A defence of Australia strategy would not be improved by selecting military equipment reducing our ability to support a coalition-led war. Our participation in a future conflict will be determined by the grit of our political leadership, not the equipment Defence uses.
It’s past time for the government to have a fresh conversation with the Australian people about defence strategy. The defence of Australia concept developed in the ’80s focused on how to deal with a so-called low-level threat from Indonesia. That time is long past. Now, the risk to regional peace is China. In this new reality Australia cannot defend itself by preparing only for what might happen south of the Indonesian archipelago.

Mr Peter Jennings PSM​

EXPERTISE​

Strategic policy, crisis management, international security, international policy

PHONE​

(+61 2) 6270-5100

BIOGRAPHY​

Peter Jennings is a Senior Fellow and was the executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) from May 2012 to May 2022.
He has worked in senior roles in the Australian Public Service on defence and national security. He was Deputy Secretary for Strategy in the Defence Department (2009-12); Chief of Staff to the Minister for Defence (1996-98) and Senior Adviser for Strategic Policy to the Prime Minister (2002-03).
Peter led the ‘External Expert Panel’ appointed in 2014 to advise on the Defence White Paper, released in February 2016. Peter was a member of the Australia-Germany Advisory Group, appointed by the Prime Minister and German Chancellor in 2015 to develop closer bilateral relations. He has been a member of the Advisory Group on Australia-Africa Relations advising the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Peter has previously held several Senior Executive Service positions in Defence including First Assistant Secretary International Policy and First Assistant Secretary Coordination and Public Affairs, Deputy Director of the Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation and head of the Strategic Policy Branch. In 1999 Peter ran Defence’s East Timor Policy Unit, developing policy for the stabilization operation in East Timor.
Peter studied at the London Business School in 2000–2001 as a Sloan Fellow and was awarded a Masters of Science (Management) with Distinction. He has a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations from the Australian National University (1987) and a BA (Honours) in History from the University of Tasmania (1980–1984). He has been a Fulbright Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1985).
Peter was awarded the Public Service Medal in the Australia Day 2013 Honours list. In February 2016 Peter was awarded the French decoration of Knight in the Order of Legion of Honour. In 2021 he was awarded a Commendation by the Foreign Minister of Japan for services to the bilateral relationship.
Peter has stepped down as ASPI Executive Director after a decade in the position in early May 2022.



Salvatore R. Mercogliano

Dr. Salvatore R. Mercogliano is an associate professor of history at Campbell University in North Carolina and adjunct professor at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He holds a bachelor of science in marine transportation from the State University of New York Maritime College, along with a merchant marine deck officer license (unlimited tonnage 2nd mate), a master’s in maritime history and nautical archaeology from East Carolina University, and a Ph.D. in military and naval history from the University of Alabama.

Articles by Salvatore R. Mercogliano​

Kumar1.jpg

COMMENTARY

Alchemy of the Ever Given

By Shashi Kumar and Salvatore Mercogliano

April 2021
The recent blockage of the Suez Canal put a spotlight on the global maritime industry and showed the world’s dependence on it.
Mercogliano_Online.jpg

COMMENTARY

A New American (Naval) Expeditionary Force

By Sal Mercogliano

December 2020
Should the Navy have to reduce its forward presence and then surge into an area that it does not expect to fight, it currently lacks the means to do so.
Commentary-PRO-5-20%201.jpg

P COMMENTARY

New Hospital Ships are Needed

By Salvatore R. Mercogliano

May 2020
The Navy's hospital ships are 44 years old. If the service is serious about replacing them, there are options.

Mercogliano-PRO-1-20%201.jpg

P FEATURED ARTICLE

Suppose There Was a War and the Merchant Marine Didn’t Come?

By Salvatore R. Mercogliano

January 2020
Without a healthy merchant marine, there may be no means to feed, arm, or sustain deployed forces in war.
Mergogliano-PRO-8-19%203.jpg

P ARTICLE

To Be a Modern Maritime Power

By Salvatore R. Mercogliano

August 2019
The United States must invest in its flagging Merchant Marine if it wants to compete for maritime supremacy.
 
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Your goal posts must be on a block & pulley system.

rederob:​

  • First, most submarines presently under construction and in national fleets are conventional. That's because they offer a reasonable defense capability rather than attack, per se.
  • Second, weapons aboard the proposed nuclear subs and conventional subs would be the same.
  • Third, an important reason we had not gone nuclear in the previous decade was because we simply had no military imperative to operate north of the indonesian archipelago. That is, our defensive capability was most effective closer to home. Like a lot of what we are being fed on AUKUS, it's plain wrong thinking or misleading.
  • The fourth point makes sense in that AUKUS is an essential tool in a US-led coalition of the willing... like Vietnam, Iraq, etc....

In my humble opinion, I believe that your four points have been more than adequately answered. And to top it off, by someone who's expertise is in several fields: Strategic policy, crisis management, international security, international policy.
Not even a good try.
Whereas your comments and opinions are faceless and nameless, so yes, I do put more faith in people like Peter Jennings that I can see their qualifications and check their history & references.
You have no idea what a debate involves given your posts in this thread.
Why not respond to my points rather than mistakenly believe what suits you.

And please stop using fallacious arguments from authority as it makes you look pedestrian.
 

JohnDe

Property, ASX, US stock market investor
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Not even a good try.

You have no idea what a debate involves given your posts in this thread.
Why not respond to my points rather than mistakenly believe what suits you.

And please stop using fallacious arguments from authority as it makes you look pedestrian.

I have responded to your points. You just don't like how I trumped you by referencing experts in the field discussed.

And there you go again, abusing me with names to try and hurt my feelings to get a rise from me. Sticks and Stones.

I have given you all the information required to understand my views and opinion, the proven references and experts leave your argument without basis. Until you come up with something new and change my view, I will continue to post what I believe.

I'm sure that some are starting to wonder if we are old lovers, and like broken relationships, one will argue till the cows come home.
 
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