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October 27, 2021

The Government’s decision to cancel its second submarine promise in favour of a third promise could result in gap in Australia’s defences and an unproven capability, a Senate Estimates committee was told today.

Navy Chief Rear Admiral Noonan in Senate Estimates today warned that hull fatigue of the ageing Collins Class submarines could lead to "operational restrictions" and a defence capability gap in the region.

With the Collins Class submarines potentially in the water for another 30 years hull fatigue was confirmed as a significant risk for these ageing vessels.

The hearing also uncovered that despite Mr Morrison promising the new submarines will be delivered by the end of the next decade, there is no confirmed date for when Australia will have the new submarines in the water.

It shows yet more spin from Mr Morrison.

Despite claiming the submarine would be a “mature design” that is an already established submarine class, it was revealed that a hybrid submarine using US and UK technology and design could be adopted.

This is an alarming revelation. As a result of this Government’s delays and dithering, we’re already on the third submarine promise. Starting a new design from scratch - even if It contains existing design elements - could lead to complications including cost and time blow outs.

This Government started from scratch by making the French change a nuclear submarine to a conventional design.
Now they’re considering starting from scratch again, mixing two designs from the US and the UK.

This is just another example of Mr Morrison not doing the whole job.

If only this Government was focused on the detail, not just the announcement when it comes to defence capability.