After the cancellation of the submarine contract with France, the Australians must provide a temporary solution so as not to lose their naval capabilities and to preserve jobs.
Will Australians ever have the nuclear submarines they dream of? Yes, but not for many years to come, but also this gear change could be very expensive. The contract is not signed and Canberra has not yet decided whether it will be signed with the United States or the United Kingdom. At the earliest – and if all goes well – deliveries could not start until 2040, well after the retirement of the six Collins-class submarines currently in service.
Australia is now looking for a solution so as not to find itself without naval defense for a few years. Several avenues are being considered, says the Financial Review. The government initially wanted to lease a British or American nuclear-powered submarine until the delivery of the first of the new ships. This track has been ruled out because neither the United States nor the United Kingdom can afford to impoverish their fleet.
A work group
To reach 2038, the Australians planned to extend their submersibles by 10 years, hoping that the new models will be delivered on time. But experts report that upgrading end-of-life ships wouldn’t cost much less than buying new Collins-class submarines.
“Building a new Collins-class submarine would give more capability and keep the workforce in Adelaide. You can’t ask a 40-year-old submarine to do things it wasn’t designed to do. “, a source told the site.
A task force has been formed to assess the best lead, but things won’t be straightforward regardless of the option. The Collins upgrade would require an investment of $ 4.3 billion and $ 6.4 billion, according to Marcus Hellyer, analyst with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and noting that it will be difficult to find compatible components as vendors have discontinued to produce them.
Canberra in “a bad situation”
The lead of an order for new conventional submarines could be favored especially as, according to experts, it would ensure orders for local companies penalized by the cancellation of the French submarine program. Faced with this dilemma, Marcus Hellyer believes that Canberra is “in a bad situation”.
Will this increase in spending force Australians to order fewer submarines than the 12 initially provided for in the agreement with Naval Group while asking the Americans or the British to help it “temporarily” take care of its? maritime territory based on the Aukus pact? It would ultimately be a blow to Australia’s defense sovereignty.
In the meantime, the Australian government does not want to waste time on its nuclear models. Defense Minister Peter Dutton signed an agreement with British and American diplomats authorizing the exchange of “information on naval nuclear propulsion” between their countries. This is the first agreement signed and made public since the announcement in September by the three countries of the Aukus Pact, the new alliance for the defense of the three countries in the Indo-Pacific.