Why Australia Needs Nuclear Subs
Image Credit: U.S. Navy

Why Australia Needs Nuclear Subs


The Australian Government is courting disaster with its approach to this country’s largest-ever defense program, the purchase of new submarines. The government seems determined to spend over $30 billion designing and building in Australia 12 new submarines that will almost certainly have serious flaws, will be delivered late, will be unnecessarily expensive and will be inadequate for our defense needs.

How could the government get itself into such a bad position? Some key decision-makers have failed to appreciate that Australia now faces a much more demanding security future. As the Pentagon’s recently released annual report on China’s military development makes clear, Beijing’s surveillance, missile, air and naval developments are transforming the strategic balance in the Western Pacific. Indeed, by 2025 China’s military power will be predominant in parts of our region.

There’s also a need to take account of China’s much more aggressive recent military operations, especially in disputed areas of the South and East China Seas. Australian security planners should do everything in their power to negotiate peaceful resolutions of these issues. They would, however, be naive to neglect strong investment in defense capabilities that can deter coercion against us in the 2025-2050 timeframe.

Advanced submarines offer special strategic leverage in the more demanding security environment that’s in store. The best submarines are highly survivable in intense military operations and have the potential to force the leadership of even a major power to pause and think carefully before attacking Australia or our key interests. They are one of only two or three military capabilities that carry this game-changing leverage. So, while Australia will always need some surface warships, armored vehicles and transport aircraft, the truth is that advanced submarines offer unique strategic advantages for us in the troubled times ahead.

All this means we need to get the new submarine program right and do so quickly. Australia has three main submarine options. The government currently favors designing and building our own unique, rather large, diesel-electric submarines, essentially a Collins Mk 2. Second, we could purchase much smaller diesel-electric submarines that are currently in production in Europe. Third, we could purchase or lease from “hot” production lines advanced nuclear-propelled submarines from the United States or Britain.

Designing and building a Collins Mk2 would probably eventually deliver a class of the largest diesel-electric submarines in the world. However, given that the government has yet to launch even preliminary design work, the first of these boats couldn’t be delivered until at least 2028 and more likely 2035-2040. Because they would be a completely new design, they would inevitably experience technical problems, would probably possess some unreliable systems and we should expect them to have relatively low availability. As these Australian-designed boats would be “orphans,” they would also be expensive to maintain and update.

September 13, 2013 at 15:08

i couldn't agree more!

what's to say we can't aquire nuke subs and learn from them,rather than pissing away our own money on big expensive mistakes,go american or british!

May 5, 2013 at 19:42

I'm afraid that spending big money on submarines is a huge mistake, the future is now… we should be gearing up to protect australia with jump-jet aircraft based at convienent sites around the coast of the country.

We should be developing homing torpedos which would be droped from drone aircraft which would be fitted with a magnetic resinence detector locating system no ship or sub will escape, this may sound a bit futuristic but it will take a few years to develope.

Building subs based on systems used 70 years ago with the same old engines maybe some update on eletronics won't help much,I haven't even read where they might try plasma generators for the electric motors,

Canada is building at this moment industrial hemp cars made from the hemp fibre and resin its very strong and light weight the remainder of the plant is turned into bio fuel,now this material could be used to make the drone aircraft which may be invisable to radar we could also develope a device to neutralise the electronics in the enemies war machines,

This is a new century and looking to the past we want peace around the world ,building submarine means we intend to do a sneak attack on some country because they sure as hell won't be able to protect our coastline,really if you wanted to protect by sea we shoud build ground effect aircraft like the Russians built only much improved on their machines , they would travel at 500kph.

major lowen gil marquez
March 18, 2013 at 20:46

The better option for the Australian plan on Submarine hardware, they must have their own local capability and has a newest design so that the chinese will not be able to steal in one nation the secret design of every unique submarine, this will put the chinese in chaotic robbery designed, the australiamust have a strong and highlytechnological advantage military hardware bothin air, sea, land and sattelite battle, the Chinese ICBM Designed was involving the distance of Australia in their secret war plans…Australia, USA, Philippines, Japan,Malaysia, Taiwan, SKorea, Brunei and, Vietnam must have  Multi-Military exercise designing to repel the attack and Invasion of the Communist Chinese….

January 29, 2014 at 22:05

if some one who is still claiming that china is a communist state, I will write him right off, because he must be either retard or ill-minded to mislead others with despicable intention!

and I shall remind that vietnam is still runned by communist party…

china invasion of australian ? come on! you silly little creature…

why you say that might because philipine is seeking new territory out side the borders defined by both spanish and american when they were leaving there…

philipine got 7000 thousands island and still playing games of rediscovering unmaned islands which is long claimed by others… that is not very nice ??

so philipino is playing tricks of thief call help to catch thief… and even pull their previous colonial ruler into the sea go give them despicable a boost! haha… what a country! shocking truth ah?!!

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