Australian Governor-General Peter Cosgrove, left, and French President Francois Hollande toast during a dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, Tuesday, April 26, 2016. Australia's largest-ever defense contract has gone to a French shipbuilder to produce a new generation of submarines, thrilling officials in Paris and inaugurating half a century of close defense cooperation between the nations. LynneCosgrove, right. (Philippe Wojazer, Pool Photo via AP)
Australian Governor-General Peter Cosgrove, left, and French President Francois Hollande toast during a dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, Tuesday, April 26, 2016. Australia's largest-ever defense contract has gone to a French shipbuilder to produce a new generation of submarines, thrilling officials in Paris and inaugurating half a century of close defense cooperation between the nations. LynneCosgrove, right. (Philippe Wojazer, Pool Photo via AP) Philippe Wojazer

LETTER: No chance subs built from scratch in Australia

THE PM has committed $50 billion of our grandkids' wealth to build submarines in South Australia.

His reasoning is back-to-front. Building hi-tech submarines is not an on-the-job training exercise; it has to have an existing sophisticated, experienced workforce to build them.

Australia is de-industrialising. We no longer build planes, cars, dishwashers or electronic devices, so where will these experienced hi-tech people come from?

Subs are mostly metal, but Australia no longer offers degrees in metallurgy. The high quality steels required won't come from Whyalla. They will come from foreign electric arc furnaces because ours have closed due to exorbitant electricity costs.

And as our green PM has signed the Paris Accord electricity prices will go higher

We've already stopped making most other metal products too, and as for engines, batteries, electronics and armaments, they will be foreign.

Ordering what we think we want in 15 years is lunacy. "No Shortfin Barracuda has been built yet. In fact it hasn't even been designed yet." So sign a variable price contract with the French, to build a product long on ideas but short on detail. And at every spec change, the price increases.

In these times of rapidly changing technology and politics, military hardware purchasers must:

  • Buy the best product currently available.
  • Adapt to the product, don't try to make it adapt to you.
  • Ensure the supplier is trustworthy. France isn't: It even refused to provide supplies for our Mirage fighters due to political reasons. They did it once, they could do it again. And with the growing Muslim power in Europe during the next 15-50 years that's more likely to happen.

So what should Australia do? Buy off-the-shelf nuclear US subs, starting ASAP. They're state of the art, long range and available. It won't upset Japan because the US is also their major Pacific ally.

Why nuclear? France has a coastline of 3500km so diesels will do. Just go home to refuel. Australia's coastline is 37,500km and a diesel can't even circle it once without resurfacing to refuel, at which time they're like ducks on a pond.

But why pick the French anyway who strategically don't give a rats tail about us? Japan was excluded because Tony selected them.

So why does the PM want to build subs in SA? To win a few marginal seats. Too bad for the taxpayer that he accepted the highest bidder and an inferior product.

And it's only one of many self-serving plans he will use to get elected. He will try to buy the election, no matter what the cost or the negative implications it has.

John Ibbotson, Gulmarrad

 

Who will you vote for in the electorate of Page?

This poll ended on 10 May 2016.

Current Results

Kevin Hogan - National

32%

Janelle Saffin - Labor

54%

Kudra Falla-Ricketts - Greens

9%

Other

3%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.



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