agree with Mike re the furphy...forget nukes built / leased / imagined or otherwise, but my question is whether or not we will ever see what we signed up for?
Notwithstanding the mystery or logic underpinning these decisions, the DCN proposal makes the least amount of fiscal sense or any contemporary procurement - I say that from the sheer eye-watering cost involved. Yes, defence kit is expensive, really expensive, but some simple comparisons of unit cost to contemporary, previous, and emergent kit are something that makes this deal so bad.
I have read that the deal for DCN was decided on size and capability rather than price and the off the shelf options rejected competed on the latter rather than former. However, these boats won't be anywhere capable as for want of a benchmark as a Seawolf SSN. It might seem ridiculous to make that comparison but in terms of cost, it's fair. The Seawolf's are the most expensive submarines ever developed or built, extremely capable - yet too expensive for the US to justify continuing beyond 3 units, even with an amortisation of greater numbers units built. Yet our conventionally powered DCN SSK/G is going to cost more per unit in today's $ than the Seawolf. This is a very bad deal.
Interestingly the off the shelf options had more inclusion of Australian workers/supply chain offered than that which is being still negotiated with DCN now. So the DCN deal is hardly the boon for SA shipyards and Aussie suppliers that these projects inevitably have to try and guarantee. I'm all for a strong capable Australian shipbuilding industry, but ASC will never be Electric Boat, they don't have the capability, repetition of volume, economies of scale, and it would be a far better prospect to leave the industry to develop and upskill for surface vessels exclusively rather than submarines.
It's likely that the T26s will have to fill any gap between the phasing out of Collins and the next gen of Australian sub be that DCNs or something else, so - again - are there chances of this deal going the way of the Supersea Sprite, cancelled, and a cheaper less capable but more practical and reliable off the shelf alternative pursued?
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Probably not, too many politicians from both sides of the political spectrum in Canberra know that cancelling subs built in SA will cost them enough electorates to lose Government, no matter who is in Government.
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