The Submarine Institute of Australia (SIA) has noted the release of the report ‘Australia’s Future Submarine – Do we need a plan B?’.
The SIA’s core position is that during the transition from the Collins class submarines to the Attack class submarines, there must be no gap in Australia’s submarine capability and this will require a life-of-type extension to most, if not all, Collins class submarines which needs to commence soon.
Any major change or disruption to the Attack class submarines program heightens the risk of a gap in Australia’s sovereign submarine capability and could delay the program for many years.
Only a few weeks ago, the Australian National Audit Office released an independent assessment of the program and it found that, by and large, it is progressing.
The SIA continues to strongly support the construction of 12 new Attack class submarines based on the rigorous design process which is currently underway and an effective construction program in Australia.
Depending on all of the information it has in front of it – and much of this information is not in the public arena – an option for government could be to expedite the review based on strategic circumstances and developments in submarine technology, as flagged in the 2016 Defence White Paper, but this is, primarily, a decision for government.