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August 11, 2021

Today we see another major Defence project in trouble under the Morrison Government, with reports the $5.6 billion Land 400 armoured vehicle fleet face lengthy delays over multiple technical issues.

In what is the Australian Army’s largest procurement project in history, we learn the vehicles’ weapons system is too heavy and unstable to be effective, can only use bespoke European tyres and ammunition, and now the fleet faces being placed on 'projects of concern' list.

Labor has expressed concern about this project for months, asking a series of specific questions about the turrets, which house the weapons and make up 25 per cent of the vehicle, during Senate Estimates in June. The response was the turrets are performing safely and reported gun jamming was “technical issues”.

These ongoing issues with the LAND 400 armoured vehicles add to the long list of beleaguered Defence assets including:
• Future Submarines running $40 billion over budget and 10 years late.
• Future Frigates running $15 billion over budget and 18 months late.
• The $3.8 billion fleet of MRH-90 Taipan helicopters have been grounded since June due to potentially catastrophic maintenance issues.
• The $1.5 billion C-27J Spartan battlefield airlifters that were not fit for battle and had to be reclassified as humanitarian aircraft.
• The $3 billion Battle Management System suspended after failing cyber security tests and not receiving full IT security accreditation.
• The $4 billion Offshore Patrol Vessel program has been delayed with no answers given for the setback.
The Morrison Government likes to talk tough on Defence, but their actions bely their words.

This is another case of taxpayers being told we are buying Military Off The Shelf equipment, instead we now know we are getting a developmental project with the Lance 2 Turret.

Many of the 28 major Defence projects running a cumulative 74 years late got into trouble because the Government claimed they were buying off the shelf equipment when in fact they were developmental and hence much riskier projects.

The reality is after six Defence Ministers in eight years, this Government has presided over a long list of costand time blow outs in Defence, while failing to deliver the assets we need to secure our nation.

The Morrison Government must get control of our critical Defence contracts, get them back on track, and see these projects delivered.