Australia's submarine program has truly lost its rudder

China is well on its way to achieving its goal of complete military modernisation by 2027 and already has more warships and submarines than the US. China’s shipyards launch a new sub every year or so.

© Supplied submarine morrison biden homepage image

Australia is well on its way to achieving world champion status in faffing about with submarine acquisition. As of Thursday, Australia has no agreement with anyone to build any new submarines whatsoever.

China has 66 submarines. It’s expected to have 10 more by 2030, six of those nuclear powered, according to the US Office of Naval Intelligence.

By that time, Australia will have exactly as many subs as it has today, which is the same number it had a quarter-century earlier, according to Morrison government’s statements on Thursday.

That is, Australia will have the same six Collins class diesel powered subs that were first commissioned by the Hawke government, assuming they’re still functional. Their retirement has been postponed repeatedly as successive governments – Labor and Liberal – have fumbled their replacements.

So what was all the fanfare from Scott Morrison, Joe Biden and Boris Johnson on Thursday? Australia, the US and UK have announced an “enhanced trilateral security partnership”, the inelegantly named AUKUS. It is not a treaty and doesn’t pretend to be.

But it does represent an increased level of trust and an intensified commitment to share technology and advanced weaponry. This includes co-operation on some of the same next-generation technologies that Beijing has declared as its highest tech priorities – quantum computing, quantum communication, artificial intelligence and cyber.

This could prove to be the most important element of the agreement in equipping Australia for its own defence in the longer run, if it’s executed intelligently, a major caveat.

As Joe Biden put it, AUKUS is a “historic step to deepen and formalise co-operation among all three of our nations, because we all recognise the imperative of ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific over the long-term.”

But the three wartime allies have chosen to announce as their first initiative a plan to help Australia acquire nuclear propulsion technology for submarines.

Australia has spent the entire post-war era fantasising about nuclear power for its submarines. Till now, that’s all they were, fantasies.

Morrison gets credit for persuading Washington and London to share their closely held nuclear expertise with Canberra. But what’s Australia going to do with it? Beyond the theatrics of the announcement, what is the practical outcome?

First, the Morrison government has cancelled the existing contracts to buy 12 French-designed submarines. This was the deal that the Turnbull government struck five years ago. The subs, to be built in Adelaide based on French design, were to cost an estimated lifetime total of $90 billion. The first was supposed to enter the water in about a decade from now.

That agreement, which was feted as the basis of a new era in strategic relations with France, is now dead. All that remains is an argument about how much Australia will have to pay to cancel. And a deep sense of French dismay and betrayal. Much as Australia’s abortive deal for Japanese subs ended years earlier.

And in its place? The Morrison government has announced an interdepartmental committee to spend the next 18 months talking to the US and UK “identifying the optimal pathway to deliver at least eight nuclear-powered submarines for Australia”. They’re to be built in Adelaide, the government tells us, so that will require a full reconfiguration of the shipyards and workforce. But there is no known design and certainly no contracts. In other words, it’s a plan to have a plan.

But we know from the Morrison government that the proposed new nuclear subs will be delivered years later than the French-designed subs, and cost more. And because it’s planning “at least eight”, Australia could end up with fewer than the 12 in the previous deal.

Nuclear propulsion will, if it ever becomes operative in an Australian sub, allow subs to remain on station longer, underwater longer and travel faster. The subs aren’t proposed to have nuclear arms.

The nuclear reactors that drive them would be inserted as sealed units by the US or UK. Canberra says that no civil or military nuclear capability will be developed in Australia.

“We’d be buying a nuclear reactor in a box,” says ASPI’s sub specialist, Marcus Hellyer. “It does make us even more dependent on the US. At any point they can turn off the technology. The question then is what expertise we can develop to operate and sustain the subs.”

Australia can now contemplate another decade or two with no new subs. And even if this proposal goes to plan, Australia will not have a full sovereign capability but an increased defence dependency on the US. Perhaps Morrison thinks that America, having produced one Donald Trump, could not possibly produce another.

So when Beijing’s spokesmen fulminate against this announcement, don’t be surprised if they have to pause to laugh into their sleeves.

Get a note direct from our foreign correspondents on what’s making headlines around the world. Sign up for the weekly What in the World newsletter here.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related


Halloween Baking Championship Season 7: The Winner is…

It’s been a terrifying trek through this season of Halloween Baking Championship, and host John Henson greets the remaining four denizens of Camp Devil’s Food Lake while malevolently toasting marshmallows – a ... Read more »

Rahul Dravid applies for job of India head coach on deadline day

Rahul Dravid Former India captain Rahul Dravid has applied for the role of India men’s cricket team head coach on the deadline day for submitting applications to the top job ... Read more »

South Africa vs West Indies, ICC T20 World Cup 2021, Live Cricket Score: Gayle departs while looking to accelerate in closing stages

16:59:08 IST The bowling change works out well initially for South Africa as Pretorius gets rid of Gayle on the 1st delivery. Andre Russell walks out to bat. Bavuma has ... Read more »

Booster-Impfung ab November – aber nicht für alle

Swissmedic hat für ältere und gefährdete Personen eine dritte Impfung zugelassen. Zur Anwendung kommt Biontech oder eine halbe Dosis Moderna. © Foto: Keystone Booster-Impfungen sind in der Schweiz nun möglich ... Read more »

Salmonellen in Probe - Migros ruft Alnatura-Erdmandeln zurück

© Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund Die Detailhändlerin Migros ruft bestimmte gemahlene Erdmandeln von Alnatura zurück. In einer Probe des Produkts wurden Salmonellen-Bakterien nachgewiesen. Ein Gesundheitsrisiko könne nicht ausgeschlossen werden, teilte der Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund am ... Read more »

22 Jahre irrtümlich Schweizer: Keine erleichterte Einbürgerung

Ein Winterthurer war jahrelang fälschlicherweise als Schweizer registriert. Er kann seine Situation nicht durch eine erleichterte Einbürgerung regeln. © Foto: Laurent Gilliéron (Keystone/Archiv) Das Bundesgericht in Lausanne hat eine Beschwerde ... Read more »

(Video) Dewan kecoh Aziz dakwa gajah faham Tamil, Rayer diusir

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today KUALA LUMPUR: Speaker Dewan Rakyat, Azhar Harun hari ini mengarahkan RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong) keluar dewan selama 10 minit susulan pertikaikannya dengan Abdul Azeez Abdul ... Read more »

World Fund climate VC fund aims to raise 350 million euros for green startups

© Reuters/Peter Andrews FILE PHOTO: Smoke billows from Belchatow Power Station in Poland BERLIN (Reuters) – A recently launched climate technology fund, which says its mission is to solve the ... Read more »

Covid-19: Beijing Marathon postponed indefinitely

© Provided by Khaleej Times Covid-19: Beijing Marathon postponed indefinitely The Beijing Marathon has been postponed indefinitely after Sunday’s race was called off amid rising Covid-19 cases in China, the ... Read more »

Brazil's Caixa plans IPOs of Elo, asset manager in coming months

© Reuters/Pilar Olivares FILE PHOTO: Caixa’s logo is seen in Rio de Janeiro By Aluisio Alves SAO PAULO (Reuters) – State-owned lender Caixa Economica Federal is planning to list its ... Read more »

Final show in France for looted Benin treasures

© Christophe ARCHAMBAULT The trove of objects, snatched by French forces in 1892, are being shown for just six days at the Quai Branly museum A Paris museum on Tuesday ... Read more »

Kershaw County man who was shot last week has died. The suspect remains at large

A Kershaw County man shot last week has died, police say. Rodney Ishmael Thompson Jr., 27, was shot Oct. 18 and has died, according to a news release from the ... Read more »

Gulf's net-zero goals will help create sustainable future, says Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed

© Rashed Al Mansoori / Crown Princ Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said Saudi Arabia and Bahrain’s 2060 targets on carbon neutrality are a significant boost to addressing climate change. Rashed ... Read more »

Biden to announce $100 million spending at ASEAN summit

President Joe Biden delivers remarks at NJ Transit Meadowlands Maintenance Complex to promote his “Build Back Better” agenda, Monday, Oct. 25, 2021, in Kearny, N.J. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) WASHINGTON (AP) ... Read more »

African Union to buy up to 110 million Moderna Covid-19 vaccines: Officials

© Provided by Khaleej Times African Union to buy up to 110 million Moderna Covid-19 vaccines: Officials The African Union (AU) intends to buy up to 110 million doses of ... Read more »

No bail for Lawrence murder suspect charged in 2017 case

Oct. 26—LAWRENCE — A superior court judge on Monday approved funds to hire an expert witness on gangs in the ongoing criminal case of Emmanuel Disla, 18, of Lawrence. Disla ... Read more »

Bottega Veneta's iconic Salon 03 collection sheds light on a joyful future

© Motivate Publishing Bottega Veneta Bottega Veneta’s Salon 03 collection is embracing what lies ahead. Inspired by a forward-thinking mindset, Bottega Veneta’s creative director, Daniel Lee embodied futuristic elements throughout ... Read more »

Baileys release two new popcorn flavours in time for the festive season – and they sound amazing

Baileys has launched new popcorn flavours just in time for Christmas – and they sound incredible. The Irish cream liqueur brand have released two new festive flavours to choose from. ... Read more »

China will uphold world peace, international rules: President Xi

© Provided by Khaleej Times China will uphold world peace, international rules: President Xi President Xi Jinping vowed on Monday that China would always uphold world peace and international rules. ... Read more »

Your needs cannot be resolved in 27 years, Ekurhuleni mayor Masina tells Benoni residents

© Provided by SowetanLive Masina and the party’s regional leadership accompanied deputy president David Mabuza as he took the ANC’s campaign to Benoni, where they were confronted by residents of ... Read more »

Critics seek proof after Israel designates Palestinian rights groups as terrorists

© Provided by Six Palestinian civil society organizations, including Addameer, have been outlawed by Israel The Israeli Defense Ministry’s unexpected decision to designate six Palestinian human rights and civil ... Read more »

Japan's princess Mako gives up royal title as she weds college sweetheart

© Provided by Khaleej Times Japan’s princess Mako gives up royal title as she weds college sweetheart Japan’s Princess Mako, the niece of the emperor, married college sweetheart Kei Komuro ... Read more »

The global vice president of Farfetch on creating smart solutions

© Motivate Publishing Farfetch October’s – ‘The Renegade Issue’ – Download Now Jamie Freed, Global Vice President, Private Client at FARFETCH is the brains behind the strategy for the newly launched ... Read more »

Trending TV News Today: Karan Kundrra rushes to Tejasswi Prakash's aid after task goes wrong, Mohsin Khan's future plan, Anuj to confront Anupamaa about marriage and more

© Provided by It’s time to know what made news in the TV industry today. From new plans in career to shocking incidents in the reality TV shows and ... Read more »

Xiaomi's Diwali with Mi sale offers discounts on Mi 11X, Redmi phones, smart TVs and other products

Xiaomi India is conducting the ‘Diwali with Mi’ sale wherein the tech major is offering exclusive offline offers to buyers of its products. These offers during the sale period include ... Read more »

Trending South News Today: Vijay Deverakonda confesses to always being shaky in relationships, Samantha Ruth Prabhu congratulates Nayanthara-Vignesh Shivan and more

© Provided by Today, we saw all the biggies from south grabbing our eyeballs. While Vijay Deverakonda confessed to always being shaky in relationships, Samantha Ruth Prabhu congratulated Nayanthara ... Read more »

What are the benefits of eating seasonal foods?

© Provided by Independent Online (IOL) During the summer, strawberries, watermelon, and tomatoes taste especially juicy and refreshing. When the weather gets cooler, we turn to warm, filling foods like ... Read more »

EXCLUSIVE: Rajkummar Rao on Hum Do Hamare Do, HIT, Chupke Chupke, Badhaai Do and Monica O My Darling

© Provided by Pinkvilla Rajkumar Rao is a busy man, jumping from one set to the other. In an exclusive interview with Pinkvilla ahead of his Diwali release, Hum Do ... Read more »

Janhvi Kapoor on debut in South & rejecting movies; Calls Fahadh Faasil 'Superb'

© Provided by Pinkvilla Janhvi Kapoor has always been in the news as rumours about her South debut pop out every now and then. Being the daughter of Sridevi, who ... Read more »

Beach Floating Wheelchair for People of Determination Revealed

© UAEMoments Beach Floating Wheelchair for People of Determination Revealed Sharjah Ladies Club has launched a new ‘Beach Floating Wheelchair’ service for elderly women and women of people of determination. ... Read more »

Tech Mahindra fixes record date for Rs 15 special dividend; shares zoom 6%

© Provided by Zee Business Tech Mahindra shares on Tuesday soared to a new high on back of September quarter result and announcement of record date for special dividend by ... Read more »

Covaxin WHO approval: what is the latest Covid-19 vaccine and why is it so significant?

© T. Narayan A man receives a dose of the Covaxin Covid-19 vaccine in New Delhi, India. T Narayan / Bloomberg The World Health Organisation (WHO) will meet on Tuesday ... Read more »

Anu Malik joins hands with producer Anand Pandit for a devotional music album

© Provided by Zee News Mumbai: Ace music composer Anu Malik has joined hands for a devotional album dedicated to Lord Krishna with producer Anand Pandit. Talking about the collaboration, ... Read more »

BTS: 7 emotional speeches by the Bangton Boys at Permission To Dance On Stage concert that touched ARMYs heart

© Provided by BTS Permission To Dance On Stage was the K-pop supergroup’s first global online concert in about a year since the BTS MAP OF THE SOUL ON:E ... Read more »

Vehicle Rental company Hertz orders 100,000 Tesla Model 3 electric cars, Largest order of its kind

© Provided by Zee News Car rental company Hertz has announced to place an order of 100,000 electric vehicles from Tesla. The global vehicle leasing company says it’s buying the ... Read more »

Mumbai drug case: Will Aryan Khan finally walk free today?

© Provided by Khaleej Times Mumbai drug case: Will Aryan Khan finally walk free today? The Bombay High Court will hear Aryan Khan’s bail application today. After the special court ... Read more »

Jagran Explainer: What is Metaverse? Know all about the 'ultimate expression' of social media

© Provided by Jagran English New Delhi | Jagran Technology Desk: Facebook recently has made building metaverse one of its top priorities. And why is that? Because Mark Zuckerberg thinks ... Read more »

Penny Black: World's first stamp expected to fetch $8 million at auction

© Provided by Khaleej Times Penny Black: World’s first stamp expected to fetch $8 million at auction An example of the world’s first postage stamp, the Penny Black, is being ... Read more »

Bahrain Airport Company, FedEx Express sign contract to operate advanced facility

© Motivate Publishing FedEx3 Bahrain Airport Company (BAC), the operator of Bahrain International Airport (BIA) and FedEx Express have signed a 10-year contract for the operation of a 9,000 square ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic