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Australian Defence Force Chief Criticizes Own Submarine Fleet, Describing It as “Worst Submarine on the Planet”

Australian Defence Force Chief General Angus Campbell, who is set to retire soon, delivered a fiery speech to counter all criticisms from within the country against Australia's decision to acquire three second-hand Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines from the United States under the security agreement AUKUS (Australia, United Kingdom, United States).

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) –In an effort to defend the nuclear-powered submarine acquisition program under AUKUS, Australian Defence Force Chief General Angus Campbell has described the country’s Collins-class submarines operated by its navy as “the worst submarines on the planet.”

Campbell, who is set to retire soon, delivered a fiery speech to counter all criticisms from within the country against Australia’s decision to acquire three second-hand Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines from the United States.

In addition to acquiring second-hand nuclear-powered submarines from the United States, Australia will also build nuclear-powered submarines using British technology.

“Step into the ring, start, because we will provide nuclear-powered submarine capability to this country (Australia) and it will be an incredibly amazing program,” he said.

The Australian Defence Force Chief stated that many times the Australian people had been told major projects in the country would fail, but the opposite had happened.

Aukus
Collins-class submarines

 

“I ask you all to reconsider where Australians have disappointed themselves and said the Sydney Harbour Bridge will fall into the sea, the Sydney Opera House will not become the greatest opera house in the world, and the Snowy Mountains hydro Scheme will fail. The Collins-class submarines – are the worst submarines on the planet,” Angus said.

Analysts of the country’s defense criticized the “fiery” speech by the Chief of the Defence Force, saying it undermined the country’s own defense system, in an attempt to sell a new defense project, in this case – nuclear-powered submarines.

Critics of Australia’s decision to acquire nuclear-powered submarines under AUKUS argue that the program is too expensive, costing a total of US$243 billion (RM1.1 trillion), and the country will have to wait until 2032 before receiving three second-hand nuclear-powered submarines from the United States.

Since 1996, the Royal Australian Navy has operated six diesel-electric Collins-class submarines based at Fleet Base West in Western Australia.

The Collins-class submarines, weighing 3,100 tons (surfaced) and 3,400 tons (dived), are capable of operating up to 11,500 nautical miles (surfaced), 9,000 nautical miles (snorkeling), and diving to depths of 400 meters below the surface of the water.

Kapal Selam
KD Tun Razak (closest) to the Royal Australian Navy’s Collins-class submarine, HMAS Collins. (RMN Subs)

 

With a speed of 20 knots, the Collins-class submarines are equipped with “Harpoon Block 1B” guided missiles and torpedoes.

Last year, after signing a security agreement with the United States and the United Kingdom (AUKUS), Australia announced it would acquire five nuclear-powered submarines from the United States around the 2030s. AUKUS stands for Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Three of the five American nuclear-powered submarines to be sold to Australia around the 2030s are from the Virginia class, while the class of the other two nuclear-powered submarines has not yet been determined.

Under the security and defense cooperation among the three countries, Australia will also receive nuclear-powered submarines known as “SSN-AUKUS” in the 2040s based on the latest United Kingdom nuclear-powered submarine design using United States nuclear propulsion technology.

The submarines to be operated by Australia will be powered only by nuclear reactors but will not be equipped with nuclear weapons.

Virginia
A US Virginia-class nuclear submarine

 

Previously, Australia also cancelled a contract for the construction of 12 diesel-electric submarines with France after expressing “concerns” about the capability of French-made submarines to handle the increasing threats from China in the Indo-Pacific and South China Sea.

Australia signed an agreement with France in 2016 to supply 12 conventional submarines worth US$40 billion. The cancellation was to enable Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines from the United States and the United Kingdom. — DSA

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