The Future of the Australian Navy

Dec 2, 2000
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From Defence News,com:

Australia Looks Beyond Destroyer, Amphib Programsquote{The Royal Australian Navy in July will select new Air Warfare Destroyers, worth some 6 billion Australian dollars ($4.9 billion), and amphibious landing ships (LHDs) worth 2 billion Australian dollars. The three destroyers are scheduled to enter service from 2013, while the first of two LHDs should enter service by about 2012.
While Canberra’s recent focus has been on these major new maritime capabilities, Navy planners already have begun considering the surface combatants, submarines and supply ships that will replace the service’s existing fleet.
The Navy is grappling with two major challenges – money and manpower, said retired Commodore Jack McCaffrie, an analyst at the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security at Wollongong University.
While planners in the 1990s aspired to a surface fleet of up to 14 warships, the December 2000 defense white paper, whose strategic guidance remains in force, calls for a fleet of about 12 surface combatants. Traditionally, Australia has rarely been able to afford more than this number, McCaffrie said.
And the rising cost of uniformed manpower, exacerbated by the battle to recruit and retain personnel during Australia’s current economic boom, means that manpower constraints could limit the number of ships the service can operate as well as drive down the size of their crews.}For the rest of this interesting story, go to http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?F=2655307&C=navwar

Comment: Austrailia has a lot of coastline to keep an eye on and has commitments to several alliances and coalitions to boot. The Navy is a small but highly professional force which manages to accomplish quite a bit on a shoestring, and well worth keeping an eye on if you have an interest in warships and a fleet that's a real class act.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From BYM Marine & Maritme News:

Australia. New maritime capability for Customs with order of 4 medium patrol vessels
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The Australian Government has taken another significant step in the nation's border protection capability with the commissioning today of four new medium patrol boats for the Australian Customs Service.

The Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator David Johnston, said Customs has signed a contract for the delivery of four new vessels, worth $3.5 million, that will enhance the agency's ability to deal with illegal incursions in Australia's northern waters.
Story at http://bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=6437
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From Canberra.yourguide:

\b[Navy hopes fly, but aircraft carrier still off radar}
quote:

NOT LONG ago, Defence Minister Brendan Nelson insisted that the old "defence of Australia doctrine" was as dead as the dodo. Soon afterwards, those who had gloated at this statement were suddenly chortling with glee, particularly when they heard which of the two new amphibious ships the navy would be getting.
That's because the chosen ship the Spanish design has both a catapult and a ski-jump; and these are both vital requirements if you want to send jet aircraft flying off a ship into the wild blue yonder. By the time the news came in that our pilots were now learning to fly off United States aircraft carriers, some of the armchair admirals were in paroxysms of glee. Finally (they hoped), perhaps finally, Australia would again possess an aircraft carrier.

Of course, no one at Russell Hill thinks the idea of getting a carrier is back in the mix now and the reasons are pretty clear-cut.
For the rest of this commentary, click on This Hotlink
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Murcury (Voice of Tasmania):

Shipyard naval offensive
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SHIPBUILDER Austal will use the newly acquired Margate shipyard near Hobart to supply lucrative military contracts.

The West Australia-based company bought the operations of North West Bay Ships in February last year.

Austal chairman John Rothwell said the facility was ideally suited to building vessels similar to the 56m border patrol boat HMAS Launceston which was officially commissioned at Beauty Point at the weekend.
For the rest of the story, click on http://www.news.com.au/mercury/story/0,22884,22467858-3462,00.html
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From BYM Maritime News:

Air Warfare Destroyer build begins with signing US$1.2 Billion contract
quote:

Representatives of the AWD Alliance (the Commonwealth of Australia, Raytheon Australia and ASC Shipbuilding) have signed Australia's Air Warfare Destroyers (AWD) Phase III contract signaling the start of building.

As the AWD Mission Systems Integrator, Raytheon Australia will "Australianize" the combat system around the Aegis core. The contract covers the design, development and procurement of the "Australianized" combat system, and is valued at US$1.2 billion (A$1.4 billion) to Raytheon.
Story at http://www.bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=16207

Comment: The article notes that these ships are to be called the Hobart class. remember, you heard it here first!​
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Australian:

Navy's new lethal subs
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AUSTRALIA will build the world's most lethal conventional submarine fleet, capable of carrying long-range cruise missiles and futuristic midget-subs, to combat an expected arms race in the region.

New Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon has ordered planning to begin on the next generation of submarines to replace the Royal Australian Navy's Collins-class fleet with the aim of gaining "first pass" approval for the design phase from cabinet's National Security Committee in 2011.

The 17-year project will be the largest, longest and most expensive defence acquisition since Federation, potentially costing up to $25 billion.
For the rest, go to http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22971955-31477,00.html
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Australian:

Navy cost sinking budget
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THE navy should consider downsizing its fleet as the multi-billion-dollar cost of keeping pace with military advances takes its toll on the Defence budget, a senior analyst has warned.

Taxpayers will have to stump up an extra $2billion for the privilege of having three air warfare destroyers built in Australia -- an expense that raises questions about the future requirements of the navy's fleet.
For the rest, see http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23015232-31477,00.html
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From BYM Maritime:

Australia: Austal showcases aluminium defence vessels at Pacific Maritime
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With a growing international need to patrol littoral waters effectively and economically, Austal will be showcasing its range of high speed, lightweight aluminium defence vessels at Pacific Maritime 2008, held at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre on January 29 - February 01.
For the rest, go to http://www.bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=21206
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From Defence News.com:

Australia Cancels Seasprite Contract
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SYDNEY - Australia on March 5 cancelled a $1 billion (930 million U.S.) contract for U.S.-made Seasprite helicopters following a review of the troubled project.

The Australian navy ordered 11 of the anti-submarine and anti-shipping helicopters in 1997 but technical problems meant they were never fully operational and the fleet was indefinitely grounded in 2006.
More at http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=3406111&c=ASI&s=AIR

Comment: It's not as if there's any point in buying the bird if the thing won't even work as needed.​
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Australian:

Defence fears over $8.4bn ship deal
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THE Defence Department fears that animosity between two of the US's biggest defence companies could jeopardise the navy's $8.4 billion air warfare destroyer contract - the largest ship-building project ever undertaken in Australia.

The Defence Materiel Organisation has warned US giants Raytheon and Lockheed Martin they should set aside their intense commercial rivalry and focus on delivering Australia's biggest ever warship deal.

Raytheon is one of three alliance partners in the AWD project together with Adelaide-based submarine builder ASC and the DMO. The AWD alliance will deliver three, possibly four, warships to the Royal Australian Navy from 2014.
More at http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23470271-2702,00.html
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Australian:

Navy has hard time recruiting sailors
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DEFENCE admits it has a tough time recruiting sailors, with research revealing navy lifestyle is considered lonely and dull.

Navy recruiting, while going far better than in past years, is still likely to fall far short of its present financial year target of 2,304 fulltime and part-time positions.

So far, 1,098 new recruits have signed on, leading to expectations of an 80 per cent of target result by the end of June.

Market research, conducted by Defence Force Recruiting, reveals a perception problem with navy careers.
Full story at http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23536144-31477,00.html
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From BYM:

Australian Marine Complex welcomes multi-million-dollar submarine facility
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A new $35million purpose-built submarine maintenance facility at the Australian Marine Complex (AMC) will bring in millions of dollars to the State over the next 25 years.

Industry and Enterprise Minister Francis Logan officially opened the ASC facility earlier this week, with the Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement, Greg Combet.

ASC (formerly known as Australian Submarine Corporation) is the designer and builder of the Australian Defence Force’s Collins Class submarines. ASC will provide through-life support, maintenance and upgrade services to the submarines under a 25-year contract.
More at http://www.bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=25929
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Australian:

UK firm to grab navy contract
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BRITISH firm Ultra Electronics is poised to snatch a $100 million sonar contract for the navy's air warfare destroyers ahead of French defence giant Thales, the navy's traditional sonar systems supplier.

A decision on the sonar contract, the first major sub-contract under the AWD program, is expected early next month following a lengthy evaluation of the two shortlisted bids by the AWD Alliance - the three-member partnership that manages the $8 billion destroyer contract.
For the rest, see http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24085748-5001561,00.html
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Australian:

Navy told to stop whining, get tough
quote:

ONE of the navy's most senior commanders has ordered sailors to toughen up, stop whingeing about money, be happier and display more leadership.

The navy is facing its greatest manpower crisis in a generation, but that is no excuse to wallow in misery, according to navy chief engineer Peter Marshall.

In an extraordinary minute addressed to all senior navy engineers, Commodore Marshall chastised his men for their lack of leadership.
Full story at http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24302147-31477,00.html

Comment: So what this officer is saying is "Embrace the suck." even though the private sector is offering more to people who know the value of their skills and who can eventually vote with their feet.

Brilliant.​
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Sydney Morning Herald:

Rudd vows to strengthen navy
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KEVIN RUDD'S warning about an arms build-up across Asia - and his pledge to upgrade the navy - has renewed vigorous debate about the size and reach of the nation's military.

While Mr Rudd's willingness to address the growing strength of countries across the region was roundly applauded, he revived anold split about Australia's potential defence capabilities.
More at http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/rudd-vows-to-strengthen-navy/2008/09/10/1220857637833.html
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Australian:

Navy chief vows to fix sub crews crisis
quote:

SOLVING the crewing crisis in the navy's six Collins-class submarines is the biggest priority for Chief of the Navy Vice-Admiral Russell Crane and will figure prominently in the Defence white paper.

The crewing crisis has already halved the number of submarines the RAN is able to put to sea.

A fourth Collins-class submarine is not crewless yet but the challenge of retaining and finding extra submariners remains a very real one, Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon said yesterday.
More at http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24332913-31477,00.html
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From Your Shipbuilding News:

Bids invited to build new Air Warfare Destroyers
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The $5 billion Air Warfare Destroyer construction program this week edged a step closer with companies invited to tender to build the 200-tonne modules that will form the bulk of the ships.

The three Hobart-class destroyers will be built from 29 modules, each about 20m long. ASC Shipbuilding will build eight blocks and the remaining 21 will be built by companies selected from this tender process and constructed at the ASC shipyards at Osborne.
For the rest, see http://www.yourshipbuildingnews.com/news_item.php?newsID=10615
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Australian:

Navy orders its sailors to plug leaks
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THE Chief of Navy has written to sailors warning them that unauthorised leaks to the media are a betrayal of the "value set" of the Royal Australian Navy.

The extraordinary warning, issued by Vice Admiral Rus Crane, comes at a time of flagging morale in the navy, which is facing its greatest manpower crisis in a generation.

Admiral Crane's letter was prompted by the leaking to The Australian last month of a navy minute written by a senior commander in which he told sailors to stop complaining about their conditions and display more leadership.
More at http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24568656-2702,00.html

Comment: Interestingly enough, this letter was also leaked to this newspaper.​