Submarine Matters provides an expanding database on submarines worldwide. Australia should contract in 2016 to only buy a batch of 6 Shortfins - then, in the 2030s, decide whether to buy: 6 more Shortfins or 6 Barracuda SSNs or 4 Virginia SSNs. With increasing numbers of Chinese, Russian and Indian SSNs in Australia's region Australia's Shortfins cannot attain any 2016 Defence White Paper goal of being "regionally superior". Australia would need to buy SSNs to be "superior".
February 24, 2016
2016 Australian Defence White Paper out tomorrow - Pre-Briefing
Will there be a new building cost diagram tomorrow. The diagram above is courtesy The Daily Telegraph August 20, 2015. Note this is based on Defence Teaming Australia advice in mid August 2015, under the Abbott Government. The Turnbull Government's plans appear to be little different.
The Australian Government has indicated that the 2016
Defence White Paper is to be released tomorrow, Thursday, February 25, 2016.
The Government has pre-briefed members of major
Australian newspapers including the Australian and Sydney Morning Herald on the White Paper's broad contents.
Today Brendan Nicholson, Defence Editor of the The
Australian indicated in part:
...the Royal Australian Navy’s submarine fleet will
be increased from six to 12, laying to rest fears the long-standing pledge
would not be fulfilled.
… It will take 10 years to commission the promised new
warships, including nine [Future] frigates and a number of offshore patrol
vessels that will be bigger than the existing patrols boats and have more crew
members. The two [Canberra Class LHDs] already in operation are bigger than
the navy’s past aircraft carriers.
… The decision on whether the new submarines will be
based on a Japanese, French or German design is not expected until mid-year.
As revealed by The Australian yesterday, the centrepiece
of the new defence blueprint will be a multi-billion-dollar plan to expand and
modernise the navy and to save the shipbuilding industry...[much more on
The Turnbull Government’s “promises included new planes, an
upgrade to the Army's Steyr rifle, new offshore combatant vessels, new
frigates, a new grenade launcher, a replacement armoured vehicle fleet and
initial work on the new fleet of 12 submarines.
"The [submarine] design work is going to cost a pretty
penny," Dr Thomson said."You add to that the Joint Strike Fighter,
the P-8 [surveillance aircraft], there's a very sizeable investment budget out
there that is going to help them … ramp up towards the 2 per cent." PETE’S COMMENT
So the 2016 Government announcement is for 12 new
However previous announcements (for the Oberons and Collins) have
led to reduced numbers of submarines over time. We’ll probably only know in 2035 – at the end of the submarine
build program how many were built. Two decades is a long time in politics and a need for a batch of SSNs to face China may come along.
It is difficult to assess whether the 12 submarines intention will
favour Japan, TKMS or DCNS?
See the subsequent Submarine Matters article which covers the content on Submarines in the White Paper on the actual day of release, February 25 2016. Pete