19 February 2016
Australia’s impending decision to choose a new submarine involves grand strategy that could lock Australia into a strategic posture for the next thirty years or more.
Australia’s future submarine programme is the largest and most complex defence procurement in the nation’s history. The decision as to which submarine to choose has become one of grand strategy with far-reaching economic, political, and strategic consequences. While technical issues to establish the “best” submarine remain important, strategic, political and economic factors are also key determinants of the decision. It could have significant impact on Australia’s regional relations and the ability of Australia to act independently within the region.
The three contenders in the current evaluation process are: France’s state-controlled naval contractor DCNS offering a conventional-powered version of the nuclear-powered Barracuda-class submarine; ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) of Germany with a Type 216 Class submarine, an up-sized version of the popular Type 214 submarine; and the Government of Japan with a proposal based on the existing Soryu class. None of these options are ideal for Australia’s requirements.
… Sam Bateman is an adviser to the Maritime Security Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He is a former Australian naval commodore who has worked in force development areas of the Department of Defence in Canberra.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 22/02/2016