December 13, 2013

Australian submarine selection, GMH closing, defence spending

Part of the Australian Submarine Corporation's complex, Adelaide, South Australia (Image from )
Most public interest generally focusses on a submarine's military technology, attributes and functions. Submarine technology, tactics and their missiles are cool. But below the surface are other pivotal matters including domestic industrial policy, jobs, international relations and government budgeting.

The December 10-11, 2013 announcement that General Motors Holden (GMH) will close its Adelaide factory in 2017 (Adelaide's Mitsubishi car factory closed in 2008) will impact on Australia's submarine selection. Adelaide is the capital of the ship-submarine building state of South Australia. South Australia relies on manufacturing more than other Australian states because South Australia has smaller mining, energy and agricultural resources than most states. Australia's federal government may well find it necessary to direct more funding, in the shape of defence spending, to South Australia, for jobs, economic growth and ultimately votes.

The Adelaide based Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) is Australia's largest domestic defence company (as distinct from foreign owned Boeing and Lockheed Martin). From the 1980s to the 2000s ASC (working with Kockums and other foreign corporations) built the six Collins Class submarines. ASC is now involved in the expensive and extensive maintenance of the six Collins - see .

ASC's main current defence construction activity is building the three Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers (AWDs) - also see .  


The closure of GMH in Adelaide in 2017 may impact not only on the Federal and South Australian states determination to that the future submarines be constructed domestically but also impact on the timing of future submarine project - SEA 1000 . As things stand it appears that many of the decisions for SEA 1000 might not be made until 2020, if not later. South Australian workers, businessmen and voters may well object to this timing. An earlier decision that might involve the ASC concurrently performing substantial work on a future submarine, as well as completing the AWDs, may be necessary.


1 comment:

MHalblaub said...

This comment is related to the entry "Australia's Future Submarine Selection - S-80 in trouble"

The Spanish S-80 and the Japanese submarines have something in common. The AIP of both submarine types is a licensed build by DCNS or Kockums.

I doubt that Kawasaki acquired a license to retail AIPs and France will never sell the AIP to Australia without a submarine.

There are just two western companies which have a good record for licensed building of submarines: DCNS and HDW. Kockums failed last time.