Finally something worthwhile to comment on, after months and months of endless speculative rubbish.
No point rehashing the A-Z steps from today to the delivery of the first AUKUS class boat in the early 2040s, but it is worth saying that each step appears to have been well thought out.
Yes there are lots of moving parts in the process that could potentially cause a hiccup, but overall it does appear the process will get us from today to where we want to get to in approx 20 years.
The continuation of the Collins class LOTE is confirmed, though I do wonder if all six will undergo the LOTE, if the three Virginia class arrive on time (with potential for two more), it may not be necessary to complete all six upgrades.
The political optics
As much as it pains me to say, I will congratulate Albo for picking up the ball that ScoMo left for him, there was a small early concern in my mind that the ALP might have tried to find a way out of committing to SSNs (we all know the ALP is fundamentally opposed to all things nuclear, they would never have proposed SSNs if they had been the Government at the time of Attack being cancelled).
When the three leaders made their speeches the other day, Albo made a comment that I thought was a bit odd, he referenced two of his ALP heroes, Curtain and Chifley in relation to the Australian auto industry.
Albo may have forgotten (the rest of us haven’t), but the Australian auto industry doesn’t exist anymore, it’s dead and buried, again, it was a bit odd.
One thing I believe he should have mentioned (in the spirit of Defence bipartisanship between the two major parties), is to make some reference to ScoMo, history will show that he was the PM that started the AUKUS ball rolling.
His speech was a bit too party political, mention Curtain and Chifley, but not ScoMo, I wasn’t surprised though.
One other thing I found interesting is the proposed availability of 3-5 Virginia class subs starting from the early 2030s.
Who will forget Dutton making that suggestion approx mid last year, eg, Virginia class subs for the RAN in the early 2030s, and at the time most commentators poo poo’d his suggestion.
Turns out his suggestion/prediction was reasonably accurate, which makes me think the possibility of a few Virginia boats transferred to the RAN was a topic discussed early in the 18mth investigation.
Anyway, that’s enough for now.
PS, a couple of naval related topics that hopefully will shortly receive some clarity.
Firstly the results of the Defence Review, and how other naval procurement plans will or won’t be affected.
And lastly will we finally see an update of the 2017 Naval Shipbuilding Plan? The update is way way overdue.