Australia: Submarine folly

The Australian government is poised to commit to building 12 new diesel submarines at a cost of $40 billion without even considering the option of more efficient, more powerful, nuclear-powered alternatives.

Simon Cowan, author of Future Submarine Project Should Raise Periscope for Another Look, released today by The Centre for Independent Studies, says the government risks repeating the mistakes of the current Collins Class submarines, with high running costs and reliability issues.

“Australia needs world-class submarines and the US Virginia Class looks like the best option.”

“Nuclear-powered submarines are superior in almost every way to diesel-powered submarines – they can travel further, faster and stay deployed for longer, and they have more powerful weapons, systems and sensors.”

“However, the government has refused to consider nuclear-powered submarines for reasons that don’t stack up.”

“Safety considerations are important when talking about nuclear power,” Cowan notes, “but the safety record of the US Virginia Class is flawless. These subs don’t carry nuclear weapons and never need refuelling – and if Australia leases them from the United States, the US could dispose of spent nuclear material.”

“Australia could also save more than $10 billion by leasing eight Virginia Class submarines and up to $750 million a year on operational and maintenance costs as well.”

via Axe dud subs and look to nuclear option, says new CIS report.