The need for a range of vessels

Desmond Woods, ANI Councillor, responds to Andrew Davies’ article.

While not disagreeing with Hugh and Andrew that we need distributed lethality at sea, the phasing out of RAN major surface combatants they propose would mean that our maritime force was ready only for high-end, peer-to-peer,  warfare but not for the multitude of constabulary and other allied tasks which our current Anzacs  do very well.

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Counting the cost of nuclear deterrent

By Robert Forsyth

As a former Royal Navy submarine commander, I read with interest Hugh White’s suggestion that Australia may, in the decades to come, need to confront the issue of whether it should have its own nuclear weapons. In his new book, How to defend Australia, White argues that Australia can no longer rely in the long term on the US’s ‘nuclear umbrella’.

I’ve spent some time post-service researching the justification for the UK’s decision to acquire, and sustain, a submarine-launched nuclear-armed ballistic-missile system, and the negative effect that decision has had on our armed services and the navy in particular. The UK experience provides some lessons for any state that’s thinking of acquiring a ‘nuclear deterrent’ for the first time.

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Tanker for tanker

By Roger Shanahan

HMS Montrose

The most perplexing question following Iran’s capture of the MV Stena Impero on Friday is why the British were unable to foresee this action as a natural response to Britain’s earlier seizure of the Iranian-flagged tanker Grace 1 in Gibraltar and make appropriate preparations. The Grace 1 was impounded earlier this month as part of a crackdown on Syrian sanctions-busting and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had even publicly flagged a response would be coming.

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China’s head-spinning white paper

By Dennis J Blasko

Railway police officers take part in a drill in the snow on March 5, 2018 in Beitun, China. It was 15 below zero degrees Celsius.

Readers of the white paper China’s National Defence in the New Era can be forgiven for their headaches as they move from one conflicting statement to another in Beijing’s latest effort to help “the international community better understand China’s national defence”. This best of times/worst of times approach illustrates the difference between China’s own perspective of its environment and actions and how much of the world interprets the same conditions and events.

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UNCLOS and Vietnam’s right to sovereign jurisdiction

By Carlyle A. Thayer

Vietnam has officially confirmed the fact that a Chinese survey ship entered Vietnam’s Vanguard Bank on its southern continental shelf. The Vietnamese media has been given permission to publish this information since last night.

The incident at Vanguard Bank appears to be shaping up into the largest conflict between China and Vietnam since the Hai Yang Shi You 981 crisis in 2014.

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Bob the Bluebottle & maritime defence

Bob the Bluebottle

It’s small, bright blue and named after an unwelcome visitor to our beaches but the experts say the Bluebottle will take the dull, dirty and dangerous work out of defending Australia. 

The high-tech unmanned aquatic drone – dubbed Bob in honour of the late Australian larrikin prime minister Bob Hawke – can remain at sea for months monitoring anything from submarines and surface vessels to whales.

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The AFR case for naval engagement

Many Australians will be nervous at the prospect of the Royal Australian Navy’s warships sailing into the tension-ridden waters in the Straits of Hormuz, the entrance to the Arabian Gulf. Foreign affairs and defence officials have been in talks about joining Operation Sentinel, a US-led effort to patrol the Straits and escort international shipping now at risk there, the Australian Financial Review says in an editorial. 

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Shipbuilding college’s key conference role

The Naval Shipbuilding College has been confirmed as the Premium Partner for the upcoming Indo-Pacific Defence Conference, Western Australia’s flagship defence industry event. 

Hosted by the Perth USAsia Centre, the Conference will bring together experts across the military, industry, academic and government sectors from across the Indo-Pacific region. 

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