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Australia’s strategic answer to China.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #1
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Australia’s strategic answer to China.

I am new here, and I do not know if this topic has been covered before.

China, looking south towards south-east Asia, and further on to Australia, needs to watch its back if it contemplates an invasion of these regions. China has Russia to worry about, so can only allocate a fraction of its forces to any invasion south and south west. Japan was in a similar position in WW2.

Australia, by contrast, does not need to watch its back. Further south is nothing but the Great Southern Ocean, so Australia can allocate all its military resources to its northward approaches.

Australia is an island nation, so the Navy is the most important part of its defence. A hundred years ago, increasing naval strength was easy - buy more dreadnoughts. It is more complicated today; anti-ship missiles have replaced big guns, and anti-aircraft missiles protect against hostile aircraft. Submarines are a serious threat to any invasion fleet. Large multi wheel land based missile launchers are a possibility against hostile shipping closer to shore.

Australia does not project much naval power, so does not need an aircraft carrier.

So the shopping list is:
Missile cruisers, say a billion dollars each.
Submarines, say a billion dollars each.
Maritime patrol aircraft, including airborne radar, say $50 million each.
Anti-ship aircraft, using Australia as an unsinkable aircraft carrier, say $50 million each.
Multi wheel anti-ship missile launchers, using the coastal roads, say a few million dollars each.

A$15 billion is about 1% of Australia’s GDP, and defence spending is about 2% of our GDP. If defence spending went to 5% of GDP, then increasing our naval power makes an invasion expensive for potential invaders, mainly China, but also Indonesia. Germany tried to invade Britain in 1940, over a mere 30 km of sea, but abandoned the plan when Germany could not secure sea and air superiority The reverse invasion was D Day, and was a huge industrial effort.

I remember Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War, and I thought that the Australian emphasis on infantry activity at the time diverted public attention from the military reality of defending Australia.
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I think you will find that Germany,s plan to invade England, was a very clever deception plan, used to discourage England to send more resources to mainland Europe.
5% of GDP is not going to happen.
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The US is the only Western country much above 2%, currently the US is around 3.5% GDP. Countries at or over 5% are those shining beacons of freedom over in the ME.
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The US is the only Western country much above 2%, currently the US is around 3.5% GDP. Countries at or over 5% are those shining beacons of freedom over in the ME.
And also North Korea.

But seriously Australian security within a global context is not just an Australian effort.

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Originally Posted by Jutland View Post
Multi wheel anti-ship missile launchers, using the coastal roads, say a few million dollars each.
There's a reason why so few westernized countries invest heavily into coastal AShMs. Consider the situation Russia has with defending something like Vladivostok, and then consider the situation that Australia has. For whom do coastal AShMs make more sense? Not to mention the basic reality that any military threat to the Australian coastline would involve more then just an Australian response.
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Originally Posted by Jutland View Post
I am new here, and I do not know if this topic has been covered before.

China, looking south towards south-east Asia, and further on to Australia, needs to watch its back if it contemplates an invasion of these regions. China has Russia to worry about, so can only allocate a fraction of its forces to any invasion south and south west. Japan was in a similar position in WW2.

Australia, by contrast, does not need to watch its back. Further south is nothing but the Great Southern Ocean, so Australia can allocate all its military resources to its northward approaches.

Australia is an island nation, so the Navy is the most important part of its defence. A hundred years ago, increasing naval strength was easy - buy more dreadnoughts. It is more complicated today; anti-ship missiles have replaced big guns, and anti-aircraft missiles protect against hostile aircraft. Submarines are a serious threat to any invasion fleet. Large multi wheel land based missile launchers are a possibility against hostile shipping closer to shore.

Australia does not project much naval power, so does not need an aircraft carrier.

So the shopping list is:
Missile cruisers, say a billion dollars each.
Submarines, say a billion dollars each.
Maritime patrol aircraft, including airborne radar, say $50 million each.
Anti-ship aircraft, using Australia as an unsinkable aircraft carrier, say $50 million each.
Multi wheel anti-ship missile launchers, using the coastal roads, say a few million dollars each.

A$15 billion is about 1% of Australia’s GDP, and defence spending is about 2% of our GDP. If defence spending went to 5% of GDP, then increasing our naval power makes an invasion expensive for potential invaders, mainly China, but also Indonesia. Germany tried to invade Britain in 1940, over a mere 30 km of sea, but abandoned the plan when Germany could not secure sea and air superiority The reverse invasion was D Day, and was a huge industrial effort.

I remember Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War, and I thought that the Australian emphasis on infantry activity at the time diverted public attention from the military reality of defending Australia.
This post seems like the sort of pet rock theory that periodically appears before people do basic research.

In this case, it appears as though the OP has not considered what the cost to a nation like China would be to 'invade' Australia to get what it wants, vs. what it currently does which is trading with Australia to get what it wants.

It also appears that the OP has not looked at the capabilities the ADF currently possesses and those which should be entering service in the near future. The OP also seems a bit 'off' in terms of both the cost and value of some of the capabilities. $50 mil. for MPA would get something like a C-295MPA Persuader, when the RAAF has already started fielding the P-8A Poseidon which had a cost of ~USD$125 mil per aircraft from a contract awarded earlier this year. The Poseidon capabilities are believed to be significantly greater than other MPA.

Lastly, the OP seems to completely ignore the international implications of an attempted invasion of Australia, and how the international community as well as Australia's traditional and strategic allies would respond.
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Originally Posted by Jutland View Post
I am new here, and I do not know if this topic has been covered before.

China, looking south towards south-east Asia, and further on to Australia, needs to watch its back if it contemplates an invasion of these regions. China has Russia to worry about, so can only allocate a fraction of its forces to any invasion south and south west. Japan was in a similar position in WW2.

Australia, by contrast, does not need to watch its back. Further south is nothing but the Great Southern Ocean, so Australia can allocate all its military resources to its northward approaches.

Australia is an island nation, so the Navy is the most important part of its defence. A hundred years ago, increasing naval strength was easy - buy more dreadnoughts. It is more complicated today; anti-ship missiles have replaced big guns, and anti-aircraft missiles protect against hostile aircraft. Submarines are a serious threat to any invasion fleet. Large multi wheel land based missile launchers are a possibility against hostile shipping closer to shore.

Australia does not project much naval power, so does not need an aircraft carrier.

So the shopping list is:
Missile cruisers, say a billion dollars each.
Submarines, say a billion dollars each.
Maritime patrol aircraft, including airborne radar, say $50 million each.
Anti-ship aircraft, using Australia as an unsinkable aircraft carrier, say $50 million each.
Multi wheel anti-ship missile launchers, using the coastal roads, say a few million dollars each.

A$15 billion is about 1% of Australia’s GDP, and defence spending is about 2% of our GDP. If defence spending went to 5% of GDP, then increasing our naval power makes an invasion expensive for potential invaders, mainly China, but also Indonesia. Germany tried to invade Britain in 1940, over a mere 30 km of sea, but abandoned the plan when Germany could not secure sea and air superiority The reverse invasion was D Day, and was a huge industrial effort.

I remember Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War, and I thought that the Australian emphasis on infantry activity at the time diverted public attention from the military reality of defending Australia.
Gidday cobber. Welcome to the forum. Please have a read of the rules. I would strongly suggest that you have a read through the Australian related threads to give you background on the ADF.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #7
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Originally Posted by Jutland View Post
I am new here, and I do not know if this topic has been covered before.

China, looking south towards south-east Asia, and further on to Australia, needs to watch its back if it contemplates an invasion of these regions. China has Russia to worry about, so can only allocate a fraction of its forces to any invasion south and south west. Japan was in a similar position in WW2.

Australia, by contrast, does not need to watch its back. Further south is nothing but the Great Southern Ocean, so Australia can allocate all its military resources to its northward approaches.

Australia is an island nation, so the Navy is the most important part of its defence. A hundred years ago, increasing naval strength was easy - buy more dreadnoughts. It is more complicated today; anti-ship missiles have replaced big guns, and anti-aircraft missiles protect against hostile aircraft. Submarines are a serious threat to any invasion fleet. Large multi wheel land based missile launchers are a possibility against hostile shipping closer to shore.

Australia does not project much naval power, so does not need an aircraft carrier.

So the shopping list is:
Missile cruisers, say a billion dollars each.
Submarines, say a billion dollars each.
Maritime patrol aircraft, including airborne radar, say $50 million each.
Anti-ship aircraft, using Australia as an unsinkable aircraft carrier, say $50 million each.
Multi wheel anti-ship missile launchers, using the coastal roads, say a few million dollars each.

A$15 billion is about 1% of Australia’s GDP, and defence spending is about 2% of our GDP. If defence spending went to 5% of GDP, then increasing our naval power makes an invasion expensive for potential invaders, mainly China, but also Indonesia. Germany tried to invade Britain in 1940, over a mere 30 km of sea, but abandoned the plan when Germany could not secure sea and air superiority The reverse invasion was D Day, and was a huge industrial effort.

I remember Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War, and I thought that the Australian emphasis on infantry activity at the time diverted public attention from the military reality of defending Australia.
Actually your shopping list is pretty close to what we are already planning. Even land based anti-ship missiles were foreshadowed in the white paper.

However it sounds like you are talking about continental defence rather than forward defence so if that were the case I would question the need for a lot of the equipment you are proposing.

Paul Dibb proposed something similar quite some time back when he authored the 1987 white paper on Defence.

https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliam...efendAust/1987

The gist of the report was that Australia should predominantly look at defending its northern approaches and rely more on small mobile forces and better surveillance.

If anything that would be easier to achieve than Australia's current defence goals so I would not see any need to boost defence spending to 5%. In fact you might be able to do it for less than we are currently paying.

If I were to simply look at continental defence I would cancel the current plans to build large frigates and long range submarines and look at corvettes and short range subs instead. I guess you could save some more cash by flogging off the Amphibs as they would seem somewhat excessive for HADR work and of course we would no longer have the escorts to defend them.

I would then look at increasing the number of P8A and Tritons with the money I saved. Maybe an extra squadron of fighters but perhaps the anti-shipping capability of the P8A would be adequate.

I don't imagine our allies would be happy if we were to withdraw from the international stage and concentrate purely on continental defence. We do have other responsibilities on the world stage. The war against terror for example still relies predominantly on ground forces.

All up I think the balanced approach we are currently taking is the correct one.

Last edited by hauritz; 1 Week Ago at 07:16 PM.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #8
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Australia already has a pretty extensive plan to deter anyone from interfering with it or her region.
  • Australia is building 12 very large attack submarines, over 5,000t.
  • That a tiny bit less than the UK and France (future France, not current France, Australia already has an attack submarine fleet bigger than France), combined. In comparison, China has something like 6 in that weight range or larger.
  • Australia is building the 2nd largest Aegis fleet, after the USN, with 12 ships.
  • Australia has embarked on a significant build program of minor naval vessels for herself and regional nations.

The Australian Navy is growing faster than the Peoples Liberation Army Navy. The Australian Navy is growing faster than any navy since WW2 (and faster than many during WW2).

On top of that China sources a significant portion of their raw materials from Australia. Australia is certainly an important trading partner with China.

I would disagree that Australia doesn't project much naval power. I would say currently, we are projecting a lot.

https://navaltoday.com/2017/09/04/au...cific-mission/

Plus submarine operations with Japan and the US.

https://thediplomat.com/2017/10/us-j...marine-drills/

While the UK fails to meet even its middle east naval commitments, and US pacific fleet is battling exhaustion, I think Australia is doing quite a lot. On top of meeting its existing commitments.

Pretty sure in the current environment, Australia is taking a very serious approach to increase its capabilities and deter threats (of which China is just one, and I am not convinced it is the biggest one).

I am surprise other nations don't seem to have the same concern and aren't tripling the size of their navies in the next 15 years, like Australia is doing.
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Welcome to the forum, Will learn a lot here from all of the members (If you keep an open mind, Just be careful some of the older ones can get grumpy )

As many have pointed out you are off on yours costs so should heed there advice and do some research. First I'd also point out the ADF budgeting often includes costs outside of just the direct purchase cost so you will find it difficult to compare Australian acquisition budgets to other nations, Makes it hard (impossible) for a direct comparison.

Missile cruisers - Depends how you define them. Are we looking at WWII cruiser sizes in which case we are already getting them with the 3 Hobarts or are we looking Kirov class battle cruisers or something in between? Missile cruisers or cruisers in general is just a hold over name from the past, The role they performed has been gradually taken over by the increased size and capability growth of modern frigates and destroyers. Adding such a ship to the fleet would stretch valuable resources for no extra real gain that wont already be acquired through the increased capability of our new destroyers and future frigates.

Submarines - Already on the drawing board (literally) so there is no issue there. At best we can look at increasing there capability with possible VLS and shuffling around the build schedule and intended life time to allow them to be replaced sooner allowing us to more easily introduce the latest tech.

MPA - Already had deals signed, For the area we have to cover you dont want a base aircraft any smaller then a 737 and those aircraft alone set airlines back minimum $50m with large orders, Add in the extra's and you have no chance of the price you suggested. Radar's are already sorted through our fielding of the E-7A wedgetail, JORN and few other systems.

Anti ship aircraft - Already have that as most of our assets can launch the Harpoons or a variety of other missiles and bombs that can cripple and/or destroy a ship.

Mobile AShM launchers - Already intended to be acquired as per the 2016 DWP.

5% budget - not a chance in hell to put in bluntly. Im all for a strong military but if you over prioritize it from everything else then the rest of the economy suffers, when the economy suffers then the funds you had intended for defence start to shrink. It's a balancing act, Perhaps we could go a little higher but not much more.

Indonesia - Not a threat. While having our issues in the past and even small ones to day we are on pretty decent terms considering. They have voiced no concerns with our GDP as we have voiced no concerns with there planned future military. We are both building up our forces to suit our needs and neither one will be in a position to threaten the other with anything more then a raid on a coastal city (pointless to do so).

China - They are the worry in the room especially with recent news articles hinting at economic responses by China against Australia due to our position on the SCS issue. Economically they could hurt us a little but would do so to them selves at the same time. Militarily besides submarine warfare they would be no real threat. Simply too far away, They would be hard pressed to strike Darwin and most of our Industry is a few thousand km's behind there again. Not to mention with the size of China's population with there reliance in imports and exports there economy would start to suffer much harder then ours (Except for petrol we are in a pretty decent position to be self reliant).
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As vonnoobie mentioned the large frigates being deployed these days are the size of cruisers of old but many don't realise is the original cruisers of the 1900s were actually the replacement for the sail frigates that supported the battle fleet in large fleets and served as the main vessels in small fleets in the exact same way frigates do today. Basically we don't need cruisers because modern, multirole frigates are cruisers in pretty much all but name.
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As vonnoobie mentioned the large frigates being deployed these days are the size of cruisers of old but many don't realise is the original cruisers of the 1900s were actually the replacement for the sail frigates that supported the battle fleet in large fleets and served as the main vessels in small fleets in the exact same way frigates do today. Basically we don't need cruisers because modern, multirole frigates are cruisers in pretty much all but name.
Well one could argue for a future cruiser, as a carrier for strategic ABM assets, and sea-based ASAT platforms, in addition to a large arsenal of offensive and defensive weaponry. But it's hardly something Australia needs.
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Well one could argue for a future cruiser, as a carrier for strategic ABM assets, and sea-based ASAT platforms, in addition to a large arsenal of offensive and defensive weaponry. But it's hardly something Australia needs.
Not really, or at least not in a Western navy. At present, the principal difference between a cruiser and a destroyer (CG vs. DDG) in a Western navy is whether the vessel has a command function or not.

If one looks at the (relatively) recent of USN destroyers and cruisers. The Ticonderoga-class CG hull is based off the hull used for the Spruance-class DD and Kidd-class DDG, and was originally designated as a destroyer. It was re-designated as a cruiser due to the Aegis system and with the addition of facilities for an admiral and staff making the class suitable for use as a flagship.

At present, the Arleigh Burke-class DDG's either have an ABM capability or will be getting one installed. Additionally, the Flight III versions are planned to have a displacement matching that of the Ticonderoga-class CG's.

In addition, a Zumwalt-class DDG is considerably larger than a Ticonderoga-class CG, displacing ~5,000 tons more with a longer and broader hull.
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Well one could argue for a future cruiser, as a carrier for strategic ABM assets, and sea-based ASAT platforms, in addition to a large arsenal of offensive and defensive weaponry. But it's hardly something Australia needs.
Australia has flagged interest in SM-6 and seems to be moving to SM-3 capability. There are already plans to upgrade the yet unfinished Air Warfare Destroyers to newer, SM-3 capable, Aegis. SM-3 is capable in the ABM/ASAT role. I don't see Australia seeking capability beyond that. We help out in other ways with JORN being integrated into the US global efforts.

SM-6 will most likely appear on the frigates as well. But the intention is that the Frigates and the AWD will share the same combat system and capabilities. I don't think a bigger cruiser will add much.
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Thank you for replying to my post, and thank you VonNoobie for warning me about grumpy posters.

I was not able to include all my thoughts in one post. I know that any large scale naval threats from China will be met by an anti-China naval coalition. I already knew that Australia already has several missile destroyers, call them what you will. I know there is some confusion about definitions for cruiser, destroyer, frigate. I knew that Australia has maritime patrol aircraft, and a nephew of mine commands one. My username will give a clue as to my thoughts on Australian defence.

I will read the 2016 Australian White Paper on defence. I have read the 1986 Paul Dibb report on Australian defence, and was interested in his idea of area denial. Australia has about the same land area as China or the United States, so long range submarines seem a better idea.

Indonesia is a potential threat, and has been for about as long as I can remember. I visited Indonesia in 1980, and at that time Indonesian TV news and weather had a map of the Indonesian archipelago as background, with the northern part of Australia looming up from the bottom of the picture. There were no place names on the partial map of Australia, and I expect that few Indonesians, then and now, know the huge difference between the lush, tropical geography of Indonesia, and the hot, dry geography of Northern Australia.
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Thank you for replying to my post, and thank you VonNoobie for warning me about grumpy posters.

I was not able to include all my thoughts in one post. I know that any large scale naval threats from China will be met by an anti-China naval coalition. I already knew that Australia already has several missile destroyers, call them what you will. I know there is some confusion about definitions for cruiser, destroyer, frigate. I knew that Australia has maritime patrol aircraft, and a nephew of mine commands one. My username will give a clue as to my thoughts on Australian defence.

I will read the 2016 Australian White Paper on defence. I have read the 1986 Paul Dibb report on Australian defence, and was interested in his idea of area denial. Australia has about the same land area as China or the United States, so long range submarines seem a better idea.

Indonesia is a potential threat, and has been for about as long as I can remember. I visited Indonesia in 1980, and at that time Indonesian TV news and weather had a map of the Indonesian archipelago as background, with the northern part of Australia looming up from the bottom of the picture. There were no place names on the partial map of Australia, and I expect that few Indonesians, then and now, know the huge difference between the lush, tropical geography of Indonesia, and the hot, dry geography of Northern Australia.
One of the important considerations that a number of posters here on DT (and I am one of them...) keep banging on about, is how in the current era warfare is a system-level event. One of the things which tends to make certain people on DT grumpy is how frequently posters, especially new ones, tend to focus on the capabilities or lack thereof, of specific platforms, meanwhile ignoring what the other capabilities of a nation's war-fighting systems.

Another area which is commonly overlooked, is the necessity of adequate logistical support in order for a military endeavour to succeed. In point of fact, that is a common failure among most invasion scenarios which get put forward. For whatever reason, it is rare for most to consider what would be required to support an invasion force in the field, or just how few nations have sufficient assets to actually support such a force.

Lastly, look into the OODA loop, and the capabilities of various systemic ADF and Oz gov't capabilities and where they can become involved in the OODA loop.
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