The elements are all there for the submarine replacement program to become the procurement scandal of the century. Our Shortfin Barracudas will probably be the most expensive submarines ever built anywhere in the world.
For a lot less money, we could achieve a far more potent submarine capability. For example, off-the-shelf Japanese Soryu submarines cost only US$540 million. Modified to meet additional Navy requirements, they were quoted as costing A$750 million. If we simply bought twelve of those, the total cost to the taxpayer would be less than A$10 billion.
Equally, the existing nuclear Barracudas only cost $2 billion each, so we could get twelve of those for $24 billion.
For such an important defence capability, the government’s failure to guarantee Australia is protected by submarines is nothing less than gross negligence.
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