Australia is vulnerable to sub attack

Armand2REP

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Defence skills shortage makes us an easy sub target


IAN McPHEDRAN

January 19, 2010 12:01am

AUSTRALIA is vulnerable to attack from submarines as concerns mount over dodgy military equipment and a lack of skilled undersea warfare operators.

The nation is dangerously exposed at a time when 100 new submarines are due in service with regional navies, including those of China, India, Pakistan, Russia, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, experts say.

China already has more than 60 submarines with others on the way, Russia's Pacific fleet is 22 strong and India is boosting its 16-boat fleet.

The erosion of anti-submarine warfare is due to:

SYSTEM failures on Collins class submarines.

POOR vessel-mounted sonars.

OBSOLETE torpedoes.

DELAYS to ship upgrades.

Australian Strategic Policy Institute defence expert Andrew Davies said the lack of equipment was symbolic of wider problems.

"Detecting a submarine at long range involves a lot of interpretation and is not a skill you can teach overnight," he said.

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Air force skills have also been hit because it cannot fly its AP3-C Orion anti-submarine warfare (ASW) planes against "live" targets.

"You can't just get these people off the street because sonar is a highly technical field," a former senior official said.

The navy also has a permanent shortfall of principal warfare officers, the feeder category for highly skilled undersea warfare officers.

Its ASW capability has been badly hit by equipment debacles, including the $1.2 billion Sea Sprite helicopter and delays to the guided missile frigates' upgrade program.

The navy's airborne anti-submarine capability will be further delayed by opening the Sea Sprite replacement program to competition. The navy wanted to quickly buy US-built Sikorsky Sea Hawks starting by late 2011, but the government has demanded a contest with the more modern and capable Eurocopter.

AdelaideNow... Defence skills shortage makes us an easy sub target
 

roma

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serves them right - have no respect for the indian students who could easily contribute to r&d there - is fast attaining a pariah status as a place not to go to !!
 

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