The build of eight additional Arafura sized vessels for the MCM role suggested in the Defence strategic review coupled with existing naval programs will satisfy any bridging capability if a gap appears in the Hunter Class program and provide additional employment in the Naval building sector nationally. Some prudent flexibility in construction between completing needs of SA and WA will need to be managed, but there is an abundance of work here .A key part of the plan is to build these larger support ships in Australia. They may have been budgeted for but that was for future years, not now. Bringing forward such projects to have the jobs go overseas won't do anything for us. The entire issue if such an issue actually exists is a possible work gap between the OPV's and Hunters. Building ships in Spain, acquiring corvettes etc won't fix anything. The one and only solution that can be quickly implemented is building an extra 2-3 OPV's while waiting on the hunters. They can either come from existing orders, be add one if budget and manpower allow or simply interim vessels before sold/gifted to border force, or any one of our neighbours that have the capability to use and maintain them. That is the only ship that can fill the gap if it exists, anything else is fantasy.
Building the two new supply / Amphibious vessels overseas is not necessarily a bad thing!
There is a point where you have to draw a line in the sand and look at what you get for what you pay.
I have on previous post suggested there maybe an opportunity to combine this project with New Zealand's need for similar sized vessels. But at best you would only build four ships and stop.
Have we learnt the lessons of the need for a continuous build? Realistically we simply don't have the domestic market to build ships in the 20000K range. Our two Canberra Class are relatively new, New Zealand has just received a new supply ship and we will receive two of our own shortly. Sadly I just don't see the market for enough large ships to warrant a continuous build vessels of this size and the cost premium we will pay to have them is just not worth it.
I think the largest ship ever built in Australia was HMAS Success and that was laid down 40 years ago.
Building large ships in OZ is just not our gig so why do it?
We need to balance our domestic skills sovereignty with value for money
Navy and our ship building sector compared to most maritime nations around the world are doing very very very well.
Content with building Destroyers and smaller craft locally
Maybe we could ask the RAAF how many of their planes are of local build.
Ask Army how many more SPG's, Land 400 Phase 2 and 3 vehicles they could of had if they'd sourced them form over seas.
Part of my proposal of getting three vessels form OS and having a more robust OPV was the concern I have regarding time.
The "fantasy" I see is our fleet as is satisfying our maritime defence needs at the end of this decade.
Time and value for money must play apart in defence acquisitions.
Defence is not just about creating domestic employment.