Australia is a long way from anyone else, except New Zealand, who might be a potential enemy.

While New Zealand might be a potential enemy, they’ve thankfully restricted themselves to low intensity conflict in the form of rugby.

More seriously why don't Namibia (UNTAG) or Cambodia (UNTAC) count as insurance policy actions for Army; despite Accord Labor's continental objectives.
 
The suggestion above was that under Hawke/Beazley Australia decided to avoid paying the insurance premiums in blood, that Army got miffed, that F-111s were perfectly good Dam Photography Planes, etc. etc.. And that due to an abberant mode of Parliamentary engagement, somehow Australia wasn't paying the insurance premium to imperium to possibly get A**US activated if someone attacked A****.

In actuality Army was deployed to Namibia and Cambodia in the 1980s and 1990s before my Ban on Politics kicks in mid way through Howard. Army showed up. Cleared Mines. Made sure people weren't massacring their neighbours on TV. Now that might be boring compared to spurring the innovation of a generation of folk-rock songs, but if I remember correctly Poland *and* Canada paid insurance premiums to their principle insurers by observing a DMZ.

Army was fully participatory in Forward Defence even when the Government of the Day wanted to do weird things and the only premiums to pay were UN peacekeeping and some weird 1990s thing. As a child UNTAG and UNTAC were featured heavily on ABC's propaganda/education content for primary and secondary school children.

If I am completely obtuse at this point: the insurance policy analysis is a left or marxist version of "forward defence" which postulates the Australian states' somewhat pathetic adventurism in the context of the Australian state paying in soldiers blood to hope that their best mate doesn't abandon Singapore in the middle of a European war, or complete drop its guts in a small colonial war and limp home barely able to station Germany. That by providing forward defence our best mates might possibly not decline our phone call if everything goes to shit.

On the other hand the "insurance policy," framework sounds rational compared to Hawke/Beazley's policy developments.
 
Rickshaw has given more of the background to this thinking, but you're broadly right. The Defence of Australia philosophy promoted in the Dibb Report was politically driven, and we still see that now non-event in Hugh White advocating similar thoughts.

The policy was always going to fail because it's a reality of both historical and contemporary Australian politics that this country will engage in military expeditions well beyond our shores. Dibb and his fellow travellers wanted to constrain future governments from actions they would wish to take. That's the opposite of good planning.
Dibb recognised and made plain for the first time that Australia was not a great military power. All the bullshit about "punching above it's weight" is just that, bullshit. Australia is a middle military power. We need to recognise that and Dibb and the '87 White Paper made that clear, once you take away the bullshit which was to satisfy Washington. Australian Governments need to understand that or you have the situation of the PM (John Howard) announcing on radio that Australia was going to commit an "armoured brigade group" to the invasion of Iraq. Everybody's ears pricked up, "what armoured brigade group was that?" We all asked. We don't have such an organisation and never have had such an organisation. Howard was reaching into the never empty bag of empty promises.

I don't think it has "long swung" between those poles. For most of our history we've been firmly in the forward defence camp.
Only since WWII for about 30 years did we believe in "forward defence" as the role of the ADF. Before that, we believed in Imperial Defence and since then we have believed in "Continental Defence". We have swung back and forth over the 100 years of the ADF's existence.
I disagree everyone was happy. It hardly ushered in much greater capabilities for either of those services. Yes, there were the Collins, the subject of the thread, and I agree with everything you've said on that score. But the Anzacs were - as envisioned by Dibb - supposed to be much less capable. And what did the RAAF gain through this period? In truth, Dibb and the then Labor governments delivered very little other than the "block obsolescence" problem inherited by their successors.
The RAAF acquired P3c Orions, Blackhawk helicopters (which it then lost to the Army), Chinook helicopters, F/A-18 fighter bombers. The RAN acquired the ANZAC class of patrol frigates. They also acquired two Canberra class LHDs, a class of minehunters, two new patrol boat classes, a new class of DDGs the Hobart class, a new supply ship the Sirius, an amphibious warfare ship, the Choules and several new survey ships plus the COLLINS class. Not a bad haul in all.
As for the Army, I don't see any evidence to think they were "seeking a new chance to shine". I think the tail end of that is a bit offensive, painting them as glory-seeking warmongers. The Army had no influence on those conflicts erupting (not that you're quite suggesting that), and very little on the government of the day's decision-making in terms of getting involved. They did have influence on force structure and so forth, of course, and it is important to note that significant changes began under the Howard government before East Timor.
I am not painting them as "warmongers". I am however being realistic as to why people join the army. They want to travel, see the world, meet strange and exotic people and kill them and to win medals in doing so. They don't want to sit on their bums staring at an empty beach, hoping that someone wants to meet them and take their land off of them. I did that for 10 years in the 1980s. It is deadly boring. The Army's only influence over force structure was their ability to lie to treasury and government in Senate Estimates Committees about how cheap it was to operate their tanks.
 
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Dibb recognised and made plain for the first time that Australia was not a great military power. All the bullshit about "punching above it's weight" is just that, bullshit. Australia is a middle military power. We need to recognise that and Dibb and the '87 White Paper made that clear, once you take away the bullshit which was to satisfy Washington. Australian Governments need to understand that or you have the situation of the PM (John Howard) announcing on radio that Australia was going to commit an "armoured brigade group" to the invasion of Iraq. Everybody's ears pricked up, "what armoured brigade group was that?" We all asked. We don't have such an organisation and never have had such an organisation. Howard was reaching into the never empty bag of empty promises.

No one in their right mind ever thought Australia was a great military power, or could be. Dibb didn't need to disprove that furphy you just made up. And nor did anyone need to carry on about punching. Dibb didn't make any of that clear. Have you actually read his report? He and his ilk wanted Australia to become more isolationist, which just isn't realistic to the way we have seen or the way we do see our place in the world. Dibb, White and others focus on the geography rather than the fact that we are part of Western civilisation and will act as such.

The "armoured brigade" was an embarrassing utterance or two that comes from not being overly across the subject. Howard and Hill didn't know what one was, because if they did they wouldn't have used the term, they would have known that we didn't, and don't, have one. Howard just wasn't across the lingo. Can you show us where he announced we were committing such a brigade? My recollection is he was asked about what we might send, be asked to send, and that's where such words were thrown around. But he never committed as such or else then he would have had to retract said commitment, wouldn't he?

Only since WWII for about 30 years did we believe in "forward defence" as the role of the ADF. Before that, we believed in Imperial Defence and since then we have believed in "Continental Defence". We have swung back and forth over the 100 years of the ADF's existence.

Imperial defence is arguably forward defence. Anyway, neither here nor there. We agree the thinking has changed. I'm only disagreeing on how long it was on the "Defence of Australia" side of the pendulum.

The RAAF acquired P3c Orions, Blackhawk helicopters (which it then lost to the Army), Chinook helicopters, F/A-18 fighter bombers. The RAN acquired the ANZAC class of patrol frigates. They also acquired two Canberra class LHDs, a class of minehunters, two new patrol boat classes, a new class of DDGs the Hobart class, a new supply ship the Sirius, an amphibious warfare ship, the Choules and several new survey ships. Not a bad haul in all.

Um, hang on. The P-3 was acquired well before the Dibb Report or Labor coming to power. There was the upgrade, but that was just standard life / capability extension; trying to save money by not actually replacing the aircraft. Same as with the F-111. In hindsight, a bad idea. The Chinooks? No. Labor retired without replacement all of our Chinooks in 1989 as a cost saving measure, and only returned a small number to service a year or so before losing office. Hornets? Wrong again. They were ordered under the Fraser government, only delivered under Hawke. The Anzacs? Yep, they were, as I said, a consequence of the Dibb Report, except they became a lot more capable than Dibb had envisioned because blind Freddy could see we would want our "patrol frigates" to potentially sail in harm's way. And, as for the rest, are you kidding? Most of these - particularly the Canberras - started life under the Howard government. I'm hoping you just didn't read what I wrote properly?

I am not painting them as "warmongers". I am however being realistic as to why people join the army. They want to travel, see the world, meet strange and exotic people and kill them and to win medals in doing so. They don't want to sit on their bums staring at an empty beach, hoping that someone wants to meet them and take their land off of them. I did that for 10 years in the 1980s. It is deadly boring. The Army's only influence over force structure was their ability to lie to treasury and government in Senate Estimates Committees about how cheap it was to operate their tanks.

We've been here before. The attitude you're projecting is not one I've ever truly encountered from a serviceman or woman, and I do still question your claimed service. The Army obviously has had a lot of influence over its own force structure, and indeed that of the other services.
 
Not to derail too far.....

But for our Aussie friends, can you give your impressions of the real level of threat posed by CCP-loyalists within your borders? Although the CCP has proven willing to use all available assets to drive its rise to power, from the outside it's hard to tell what level of damage they could do, if given instructions to act.
 
Not to derail too far.....

But for our Aussie friends, can you give your impressions of the real level of threat posed by CCP-loyalists within your borders? Although the CCP has proven willing to use all available assets to drive its rise to power, from the outside it's hard to tell what level of damage they could do, if given instructions to act.

Interesting one. I guess I've not seen anything to suggest that there are some who might commit acts - in time of conflict - like Soviet sleeper agents might have done in a Cold War gone hot scenario. But you'd think there might be. We have seen political agitators (generally Chinese uni students counter protesting against those advocating for democracy in Hong Kong, for example), and a great deal of economic interest. That is, CCP-linked companies buying Australian infrastructure and businesses. I think in the main it's one of those topics that can generate lots of hype, but then also at the other extreme some complacency too.
 
if given instructions to act.
From 1989 to twenty years ago a significant new population in Australia was political reffos from 1989. Australia has promoted, other then in Australian white Maoism, the most retrograde Chinese nationalist tendencies other than Maoist or pre 2000s Han chauvinism nationalist tendencies

what sleeper agents. Chinese intelligence is far more erudite b
 
From 1989 to twenty years ago a significant new population in Australia was political reffos from 1989. Australia has promoted, other then in Australian white Maoism, the most retrograde Chinese nationalist tendencies other than Maoist or pre 2000s Han chauvinism nationalist tendencies

what sleeper agents. Chinese intelligence is far more erudite b

Your first sentence is accurate. The rest doesn’t make a lot of sense. The potential problem is what has occurred more recently. When you have young Chinese Australians - or at least Chinese citizens in Australia - publicly espousing CCP policy it is a little concerning.
 
1. Russia, China, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Israel, Taiwan, South Africa, maybe France, Beazil (If they can get their act together), Chile and any nation that expects to power project and sea deny with a D/E boat.
But do they really expect to do that at long range with SSKs?

R/C/F have a mix so can use SSNs at long range.
The rest are far more concerned about operations far closer to home?
 
Outside observations and a bit of Dutch realism,.

McPherson

Banned
Dutch realism.
Just for my knowledge, what do you mean; designed by fatalists?
Despite the double hull and its shark-fight characteristics, the Walrus class is designed to fight as an ambush boat. The boat is not expected to survive any successful counterfire so crew escape options are "limited". Many classes of Russian boats have escape modules or capsules, where a section of the crew can retreat and blow the escape module from the rest of the boat clear by explosive disconnects and it will ascend to the surface after the boat is hit with a torpedo. This is frankly ridiculous. In the days of the lightweight air dropped torpedo or ship or sub launched weapon, such as the Mark 46=>54 series or the NT 37 series and its derivatives and in the expecteed shallow depth ASW band combat, such a survival capsule might have made some sense. But since the evolution of the general purpose heavyweight sub-killing torpedo and the greater depths of engagement (below 100 meters) and the higher shark-fight speeds (above 10 m/s or 12 knots.), nobody, and I mean nobody, survives a hit from even a modern lightweight torpedo. So, why bother with such complex and useless combat escape systems? Hence "Fatalists" designed the Walrus. The Dutch are realistic.
I know the Dutch submarine division was relative large compared to the rest of the RNN, pre-ww2. During the interbellum this submarine division developed a very advanced submarine tactic, close cooperation with aircraft, focused on destroying a Japanese invasion fleets in the at that time Dutch East Indie. This was the transport ships carrier the invasion forces. Due to a change in Command at a crucial time, were the commanding officer had a very different view, this hunter pack tactic never materialized.
Alligator tactics. The Dutch taught the Americans these ambush tactics. (...Those Marvelous Tin Fish: The Great Torpedo Scandal Avoided. Current contributor. pp30-45, the ABDA section of SWPOA.)
Any how, the submarines of that time already were designed for long distances and the pre WW2 tactic was very aggressive with could risk the boat and crew.
This history still have an echo in Dutch submarine designs or submarine wishes of the RNN to have conventional submarines with long range capabilities.
The desire was to operate in the North Sea and into the North Atlantic as part of the Dutch NATO contribution. The result is a "global" boat with a sortie radius of 3,000 km. and a patrol endurance of 1,000 hours. This is about the characteristics of a Dutch WWII O' class or a Gato.
===================================================================
Now we tackle some of the technical drivers of Australian procurement policy. For what sort of mission is the defense policy designed, and how is procurement driven by it?
This was far from the first time the Aussies had a shot at unique locally produced vehicles, and at least it led to something.
There is a schizophrenia in policy from two opposing polity mind-sets that led/leads to two different procurement criteria.
The light destroyer of 1966-72 was originally meant to be on the low end of the RAN fleet as a COIN unit with a downgraded sensor/armament fit than conventional war ships, but was more or less killed when it turned into a destroyer replacement with helicopters and the Tartar SAM.
For the purposes of this schism in policy and how it drives technical choices, I am going to label the two Australian defense community factions, the "power-projection faction" (PPF) and the "homeland defense faction" (HDF). Without going too deeply into the history, I will suggest that this schism has its roots to the peculiar relations the Australian polity had as a member of the British Empire. The PPF has inherited the PPF mantle from the "Imperials" of the Australian colonial period, while the HDF has been the opposition to that heritage.

For the record, I hate imperialism in all of its forms and by all its practitioners especially the American version.

So, this is an added burden to the decision making process that befuddles Australian equipment procurement. It depends on which faction of the defense experts controls the procurement decision cycle and it leads to a political yo-yo. See next.
There was also the Waler AFV project meant to produce 500-1000 vehicles locally (bid given to the winning foreign designer-local contractor duo) with an emphasis on advanced armor (the French AZUR armor kit was made for it), hull layouts, powerpacks, started in 1981 with entry into service in 1995. New Zealand was interested in joining.
Project Waler. Somebody decided in the early 1980s that Australia needed an infantry fighting vehicle dragoon carrier which could accompany tanks. Guess who initiated that project? (PPF) Guess who cancelled that project? (HDF). This was a lot of Australian dollars flushed down the loo. Clockwise; no less.
This was based on an army plan "to build a mix of light and mechanised capability based amongst the population centres of Australia ready for deployment rather than isolated in the far north west. The 1st Brigade located in Sydney in the 1980s was to relocate to Victoria (Pucka) where it was to join with the reserve 4th Brigade as a new mechanized 3rd Division. The reserve brigade was to be boosted with higher numbers of regular personnel (as was later tested on this brigade) and brought up to a mechanised standard. The division HQ which had been reserve but was winding down was to be a reestablished as a regular HQ. The existing 1st Division with 3rd and 6th (regular) Brigades was to stay in Queensland and focus on the light role. The Waler AFV was to be the primary equipment of the new 3rd Division".
Just to make it clear... the PPF wanted an infantry fighting vehicle that would be suited for combat in an NBC environment that could be transported by a C-130. Further with half the crew dead and thoroughly compromised and contaminated, the vehicle was expected to operate for an additional hour after an NBC attack.

WTH? Even for PPF types that is a whacky requirement. Did the Australian Army expect to fight in the CENTAG or in Iran? Last time I looked at the areas of interest, the terrain was JUNGLE or Pacific desert islands. A de-salinizer and tropical and desert terrain light infantry kit made and make a whole lot more sense. The army has to make sense according to practical limits of mission and means available.
New Defence Minister Kim Beazley cancelled it in 1985 and in 1987 the Aussies purchased some 257 ASLAVs. Now there were claims that the project was too ambitious, too expensive and that it was very hard to make it producible by Australia. However allegedly Kim's policy was to essentially sit out foreign conflicts and thus he wanted to slash the Army to reinforce the Navy and Air Force to defend against an invasion of the mainland. In hindsight however, this policy failed as Australia would have to intervene in multiple conflicts in the 1990s.
See previous comments. ASLAV makes sense within "context". No comment about Beazley, but someone in the Australian Defense Forces must have described the C-130 "problem" and shown him a map.
Personally, I think the Aussies could have pulled it off if they had looked at how the South Africans did it. The Rooikat program which was a Thyssen-Henschel vehicle tailored to SADF needs is pretty remarkable in this regard.
That was South Africa. Home defense has higher priorities than tooling around the world in a Stryker-like AFV. Besides, the Roolkat in its primary configuration is a tank destroyer / recon vehicle, not an infantry carrier. It was designed to fight T-55s in southern Africa.
Australian defence thinking has long swung between two main poles - continental defence and expeditionary warfare ("forward defence"). In 1986, there was the Dibb Report, which was written by Paul Dibb a politics professor for Kim Beazley. He made the main points:
  1. Australia is a long way from anyone else, except New Zealand, who might be a potential enemy.
  2. Any encroaching enemy needed to first capture bases in the Indonesian archipelago in order to attack Australia.
  3. Australia was surrounded by a "sea-air gap" that a potential aggressor had to cross in order to attack the Australia continent.
  4. Australia's defence forces were based primarily in the SE Corner of the continent.
  5. Australia need to redeploy its forces to the "top end" in order to prevent a potential aggressor to gain a foothold there.
  6. Australia's primary defence forces were the RAN and the Air Force, followed third by the Army.
  7. Australia's defence budget needed to be directed to build up the RAN and the RAAF at the expense of the Army.
  8. The Army needed to re-equip to reflect this and needed to adopt light armoured vehicles and rapidly deployable forces.
  9. The RAAF needed to establish new bases in the "top end" (ie Tindal rather than Darwin, Learmonth, etc.).
  10. The RAN needed to establish a larger deterrent force - submarines for example.
This alarmed America coming at the height of the Cold War and not long after New Zealand had adopted it's anti-nuclear stance.

The 1987 Defence White Paper kept the core of Dibb's report.

Everybody was happy, until the Army realised that the RAAF and the RAN was getting all the glory and the medals when they were deployed overseas when the Army had previously been the main offensive arm. That resulted in the Army seeking a new chance to shine in overseas deployments and to gain once more a few medals and some glory. Along came East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq at just the right moment.

Submarines were intended to be a functional deterrent to any potential aggressor. The COLLINS class were purchased as a consequence. The COLLINS were built on a Knockum's design. Initial problems have been basically overcome. Afterall, they were the first submarines constructed in Australia. Everybody makes mistakes - the British once welded a complete hull section on, upside down on one of their SSNs, the Americans had to scrap an entire SSK on the stocks because the welds were done incorrectly. I feel that the COLLINS class has come under a lot intense scrutiny without anybody really understanding the problems.
1. It is spelled Kockums.
2. Initial problems with the Collins class, such as the sound shorts identified upthread, can never be fixed.
3. Ohio class. It is literally a matter of national life and death to get the fundamentals correct.
4. Feelings in procurement do not matter. Acceptable performance metrics do. See the Walrus class example above and note "fatalists".
Rickshaw has given more of the background to this thinking, but you're broadly right. The Defence of Australia philosophy promoted in the Dibb Report was politically driven, and we still see that now non-event in Hugh White advocating similar thoughts.
HDF paper. "1986 Review of Australia's Defence Capabilities"

Primary error in the paper is the failure to address the continuing infrastructure shortfall in Australia herself, the road and rail nets, air base and airport shortfalls and the need for amphibious and airborne lift. Someone should have shown Dibb a map.
The policy was always going to fail because it's a reality of both historical and contemporary Australian politics that this country will engage in military expeditions well beyond our shores. Dibb and his fellow travellers wanted to constrain future governments from actions they would wish to take. That's the opposite of good planning.
It is a strategic choice for the HDF. Whether the PPF agrees is a matter of policy. The PPF has to explain why fighting in the middle east is in Australia's interests. If they can make that case, then strategic airlift and an air mobile mechanized brigade get into the estimates. If they cannot, then MARINES become much more sensible.
I don't think it has "long swung" between those poles. For most of our history we've been firmly in the forward defence camp.
I would like to comment on this one, but I am an American and it is not my business. I will suggest from the American version of this same schism, that the United States does better when she keeps her nose out of things and only fights when her central interests are in issue. For reasons of history the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, and who controls those assets, IS a central issue and a matter of national survival as a free actor. Hence American choices are the navy and her air farce. Whether HDF or PPF, there is no schism in that choice between the American factions. Our squabble is among platform selections and inter-service politics. Right now for example, the American army, once again, is trying to kill off the Marine Corps. Idiots.
I disagree everyone was happy. It hardly ushered in much greater capabilities for either of those services. Yes, there were the Collins, the subject of the thread, and I agree with everything you've said on that score. But the Anzacs were - as envisioned by Dibb - supposed to be much less capable. And what did the RAAF gain through this period? In truth, Dibb and the then Labor governments delivered very little other than the "block obsolescence" problem inherited by their successors.
See previous comments on the Dibb report. Someone really should have instructed using maps and MAHAN.
As for the Army, I don't see any evidence to think they were "seeking a new chance to shine". I think the tail end of that is a bit offensive, painting them as glory-seeking warmongers. The Army had no influence on those conflicts erupting (not that you're quite suggesting that), and very little on the government of the day's decision-making in terms of getting involved. They did have influence on force structure and so forth, of course, and it is important to note that significant changes began under the Howard government before East Timor.
Were the East Timor Lessons Learned, learned?

Force from the Sea.pdf

Maybe. Where are the marines?
The suggestion above was that under Hawke/Beazley Australia decided to avoid paying the insurance premiums in blood, that Army got miffed, that F-111s were perfectly good Dam Photography Planes, etc. etc.. And that due to an abberant mode of Parliamentary engagement, somehow Australia wasn't paying the insurance premium to imperium to possibly get A**US activated if someone attacked A****.
"If we help the ally, the ally will help us."

Alfred Thayer Mahan had a sour observation about that one.
“The history of sea power is largely, though by no means solely, a narrative of contests between nations, of mutual rivalries, of violence frequently culminating in war. The profound influence of sea commerce upon the wealth and strength of countries was clearly seen long before the true principles which governed its growth and prosperity were detected. To secure to one's own people a disproportionate share of such benefits, every effort was made to exclude others, either by the peaceful legislative methods of monopoly or prohibitory regulations, or, when these failed, by direct violence. The clash of interests, the angry feelings roused by conflicting attempts thus to appropriate the larger share, if not the whole, of the advantages of commerce, and of distant unsettled commercial regions, led to wars. On the other hand, wars arising from other causes have been greatly modified in their conduct and issue by the control of the sea. Therefore the history of sea power, while embracing in its broad sweep all that tends to make a people great upon the sea or by the sea, is largely a military history...”
― Alfred Thayer Mahan, The Influence Of Sea Power Upon History, 1660 - 178
Translation: a sea (air) power will do what it must to secure its commercial interests by use of the sea / air and its denial to its competitors and that means it will use any means to hand. Obligations and a moral sense of shared responsibility is not in the compass of such calculations. Mutual national interests are.
In actuality Army was deployed to Namibia and Cambodia in the 1980s and 1990s before my Ban on Politics kicks in mid way through Howard. Army showed up. Cleared Mines. Made sure people weren't massacring their neighbours on TV. Now that might be boring compared to spurring the innovation of a generation of folk-rock songs, but if I remember correctly Poland *and* Canada paid insurance premiums to their principle insurers by observing a DMZ.
Colonial police. Ugh. If the moral compass were actually swinging true north, then peace-keeping would be a globalist universalist exercise, instead of a UN whack a mole selection process with some moles getting the peacekeeper whack and other moles being left to pop up in

"people massacring their neighbours on TV" events.

There seems to be an economic and geographical driver in that process. Refer to Mahan above.
Army was fully participatory in Forward Defence even when the Government of the Day wanted to do weird things and the only premiums to pay were UN peacekeeping and some weird 1990s thing. As a child UNTAG and UNTAC were featured heavily on ABC's propaganda/education content for primary and secondary school children.
See previous comments on the PPF selling their point of view and driving the procurement decision making process in buying military gear.
If I am completely obtuse at this point: the insurance policy analysis is a left or marxist version of "forward defence" which postulates the Australian states' somewhat pathetic adventurism in the context of the Australian state paying in soldiers blood to hope that their best mate doesn't abandon Singapore in the middle of a European war, or complete drop its guts in a small colonial war and limp home barely able to station Germany. That by providing forward defence our best mates might possibly not decline our phone call if everything goes to shit.
Price of admiralty insurance premiums? Make sure Australia is economically and politically important to the "right mate" in terms of economics and the Marines will show up. This national policy is firmly, or should be, grounded in Machiavelli and its military corollary is: "We will take care of SWPOA while you handle that other thing over there, because we both do not want it to spill over down under."
On the other hand the "insurance policy," framework sounds rational compared to Hawke/Beazley's policy developments.
Realistically, for Australia, it is necessary to decide what is in HER interests. So far, as an outside observer, "We will take care of SWPOA." sounds like a fair mutual interest investment within either the HDF or PPF definitions. That makes Australia important and is "realistic".
Dibb recognised and made plain for the first time that Australia was not a great military power. All the bullshit about "punching above it's weight" is just that, bullshit. Australia is a middle military power. We need to recognise that and Dibb and the '87 White Paper made that clear, once you take away the bullshit which was to satisfy Washington. Australian Governments need to understand that or you have the situation of the PM (John Howard) announcing on radio that Australia was going to commit an "armoured brigade group" to the invasion of Iraq. Everybody's ears pricked up, "what armoured brigade group was that?" We all asked. We don't have such an organisation and never have had such an organisation. Howard was reaching into the never empty bag of empty promises.
And this describes "The Margaret Thatcher school of Defense Policy".

If you have scrapped your Catobar capability and have no Marines and something unexpected comes up, and you make a policy choice without the proper means, then you are diddled. And the blood price will be STEEP. P^7IPEDAD^1 McGee.

Proper prior planning provides prompt performance parameters; improper planning equals disaster and debacle.
Only since WWII for about 30 years did we believe in "forward defence" as the role of the ADF. Before that, we believed in Imperial Defence and since then we have believed in "Continental Defence". We have swung back and forth over the 100 years of the ADF's existence.
See previous remarks.
The RAAF acquired P3c Orions, Blackhawk helicopters (which it then lost to the Army), Chinook helicopters, F/A-18 fighter bombers. The RAN acquired the ANZAC class of patrol frigates. They also acquired two Canberra class LHDs, a class of minehunters, two new patrol boat classes, a new class of DDGs the Hobart class, a new supply ship the Sirius, an amphibious warfare ship, the Choules and several new survey ships plus the COLLINS class. Not a bad haul in all.
See map.
R1c98c223b3ec5071717a9367468e9e2e

Lesson learned? Sea and air power are the coin of national survival.
I am not painting them as "warmongers". I am however being realistic as to why people join the army. They want to travel, see the world, meet strange and exotic people and kill them and to win medals in doing so. They don't want to sit on their bums staring at an empty beach, hoping that someone wants to meet them and take their land off of them. I did that for 10 years in the 1980s. It is deadly boring. The Army's only influence over force structure was their ability to lie to treasury and government in Senate Estimates Committees about how cheap it was to operate their tanks.
To be clear about this one...

e3e211b77d13656bbce47e5c2fd1f993.jpg

An Australian Army M1A1 Abrams tank from 1st Armoured ...

Based on what I have covered (^^^). WTH?
No one in their right mind ever thought Australia was a great military power, or could be. Dibb didn't need to disprove that furphy you just made up. And nor did anyone need to carry on about punching. Dibb didn't make any of that clear. Have you actually read his report? He and his ilk wanted Australia to become more isolationist, which just isn't realistic to the way we have seen or the way we do see our place in the world. Dibb, White and others focus on the geography rather than the fact that we are part of Western civilisation and will act as such.
PPF argument.
The "armoured brigade" was an embarrassing utterance or two that comes from not being overly across the subject. Howard and Hill didn't know what one was, because if they did they wouldn't have used the term, they would have known that we didn't, and don't, have one. Howard just wasn't across the lingo. Can you show us where he announced we were committing such a brigade? My recollection is he was asked about what we might send, be asked to send, and that's where such words were thrown around. But he never committed as such or else then he would have had to retract said commitment, wouldn't he?
Refer to the video. "But Madam Prime Minister, you scrapped it." IOW, the military professionals failed their duty to educate their political civilian masters as to what was in the cupboard and what decisions being made will do to the contents and what that means IN CAPABILITY in light of the selected political and military policy. Refer to the Australian M-1 tank and Howard and Hill. THEY ARE DIRECTLY RELATED.
Imperial defence is arguably forward defence. Anyway, neither here nor there. We agree the thinking has changed. I'm only disagreeing on how long it was on the "Defence of Australia" side of the pendulum.
Ibid.
Um, hang on. The P-3 was acquired well before the Dibb Report or Labor coming to power. There was the upgrade, but that was just standard life / capability extension; trying to save money by not actually replacing the aircraft. Same as with the F-111. In hindsight, a bad idea. The Chinooks? No. Labor retired without replacement all of our Chinooks in 1989 as a cost saving measure, and only returned a small number to service a year or so before losing office. Hornets? Wrong again. They were ordered under the Fraser government, only delivered under Hawke. The Anzacs? Yep, they were, as I said, a consequence of the Dibb Report, except they became a lot more capable than Dibb had envisioned because blind Freddy could see we would want our "patrol frigates" to potentially sail in harm's way. And, as for the rest, are you kidding? Most of these - particularly the Canberras - started life under the Howard government. I'm hoping you just didn't read what I wrote properly?
There were some good reasons for most of the choices. If I were ADF I would have hung onto the Chinooks. Too useful to either faction's point of view. Kind of like a national guard, territorial or Marine asset. Never know when vertical lift may be needed for a natural disaster or East Timor event.
We've been here before. The attitude you're projecting is not one I've ever truly encountered from a serviceman or woman, and I do still question your claimed service. The Army obviously has had a lot of influence over its own force structure, and indeed that of the other services.
No comment. Not in this topic.
Not to derail too far.....

But for our Aussie friends, can you give your impressions of the real level of threat posed by CCP-loyalists within your borders? Although the CCP has proven willing to use all available assets to drive its rise to power, from the outside it's hard to tell what level of damage they could do, if given instructions to act.
No comment, but in the US in the past (1960s), it was a SEVERE problem.
 
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Why do the Russians and Chinese use a mixed submarine force.

McPherson

Banned
But do they really expect to do that at long range with SSKs?

R/C/F have a mix so can use SSNs at long range.
The rest are far more concerned about operations far closer to home?
1. Those nations cannot afford all nuclear reactor steam-electric fleets of submarines and are interested in sea denial instead of control, so they hi-lo mix for numbers and surge operations in sea denial operations. How long they will last against the USN is a big question mark.
2. Dutch boats have peace-kept on the high seas, performed anti-piracy duty as part of UN and NATO peacekeeping in the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, and are global in sea control mission and role. They were built for sea control.
3. France is, of course, France. One presumes they would want an all nuclear reactor steam turbined submarine sea control force, but they cannot afford it. They split the baby.
 
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It appears the American has spoken, unfortunately. Australia is not America. Understand? Has that penetrated your carapace yet? Appears not, unfortunately. Australia is not a maritime nation. It has not had a maritime outlook during it's entire history. It is a land orientated nation. Navies fight on the seas, not the land. Australia has taken pride in it's military accomplishments on land, not the sea. We only awarded out first Naval Victoria Cross this year, for acts that occurred over sixty years ago. We simply do not have a maritime outlook. Mahan is well and fine if you have a maritime outlook. Australia doesn't. We have a land oriented outlook. I doubt you've understood that simple lesson but I have tried to drive it into your head at least.

Waler is an interesting episode in Australia's defend outlook - again I note a land project in a thread which is supposedly devoted to lessons about a Submarine programme. I suppose it could classified as a submarine, after all it sank without a trace. Waler was never really clear what it was proposing. Was it an M113+, was it the M2 Bradly-like, or was it something superior, like say a Marder-like vehicle. At the time I remember seeing proposals on all three at various points in it's development. I suppose it was who it was being sold by to whom. I've seen illustrations of all three. What did the Australian Army end up with? Well not a Waler as such. We ended up with something akin the M113+ - the M113as4 - a lengthened hull with an improved weapons station on top. It was superior to the standard M113 and even better than the T50 turreted M113s the Australian Army purchased in numbers during the Vietnam War. It went from a buy of approximately 600 down to a buy of approximately 400. It went from the M113as1 through to the adopted as4 version. The problem was growing increments in what was needed by the Army and what was offered by the contractor. I worked on the project. I designed and programmed the CNC machines which recreated the wheel stations. When I visited the production line I was left scratching my head as to why they were cutting up M113s to extend their hulls when FMC in the US was offering their own version of extended hulls new for cheaper. Oh, well, not to reason why.

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It was created of course in the early 1990s it entered production and service in the 2000s.

The lesson to be learnt is that you always have to watch out for what the contractor wants to build as against what they need to build.
 
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One of the chief arguments to invade what became Australia was "American Whalers and French Scientists are sniffing around there anyway." "The Navy can build ships using those Awesome Pines we Saw." "What would become Singapore is just around the corner."

While it belongs on the otherboard, given that there were two services, the senior Service getting New South Wales as its play thing is a possibility.
 
@Rickshaw we're not so much land oriented as resource limited tightarses. I think if we had a lot more industrial capacity available to us than we did IOTL a more powerful Navy would be far more attractive than it was, but having to buy so much from abroad puts the brakes on this outlook. The same applies to the Army, the expensive arms: Armour and medium artillery were never lavishly supplied with modern equipment apart of the big Vietnam era M113 buy, it was far easier and more within our national capabilities to call up thousands of men and kit them out as Infantry regardless of what might be best for our defence.
 
One of the chief arguments to invade what became Australia was "American Whalers and French Scientists are sniffing around there anyway." "The Navy can build ships using those Awesome Pines we Saw." "What would become Singapore is just around the corner."

While it belongs on the otherboard, given that there were two services, the senior Service getting New South Wales as its play thing is a possibility.

Can you explain what on Earth you're getting at and how this relates to the topic?
 
@Rickshaw we're not so much land oriented as resource limited tightarses. I think if we had a lot more industrial capacity available to us than we did IOTL a more powerful Navy would be far more attractive than it was, but having to buy so much from abroad puts the brakes on this outlook. The same applies to the Army, the expensive arms: Armour and medium artillery were never lavishly supplied with modern equipment apart of the big Vietnam era M113 buy, it was far easier and more within our national capabilities to call up thousands of men and kit them out as Infantry regardless of what might be best for our defence.

If we had a shipbuilding industry of note from post or pre WW2, then you could imagine we would have seen some very different developments. What the government is trying to do now with a continuous build program to create and support a naval shipbuilding industry is good, but yeah it would have been better if that had long existed. Instead previously all we've had is a boom and bust cycle, which is incredibly inefficient.
 
Australia has long been a land oriented power, ever since colonisation in fact. We have never been a maritime orientated nation. We have never had a maritime strategy until the last 10 years. We have built and maintained a land army, which is the envy of many other nations but we don't have a navy of similar proportions. We have kidded ourselves for decades that we "punch above our weight" but invariable it has only occurred when we have the backing of one or the other our imperial masters. We fight well, as part of coalitions but when it is us alone our deployments have invariably been a case of "make do with what we have" rather than plan for what we need.

East Timor was the largest deployment we have ever achieved on our own and it was only able to be undertake because we were able to rent sufficient airlift from the Ukraine. We usually have a handful of this or that, rather than squadrons of planes we need, such as the C-17. We had two inadequate landing ships we purchased second-hand off of the USN only to discover they were riddled with rust. Which we once started operating with them, we found that we couldn't move our M1 Abrams around (which is why we bought our handful of C-17s).

Overall, Australia has a long way to go in deciding what we want out defence forces to do and how we want to achieve it.
 
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If we had a shipbuilding industry of note from post or pre WW2, then you could imagine we would have seen some very different developments. What the government is trying to do now with a continuous build program to create and support a naval shipbuilding industry is good, but yeah it would have been better if that had long existed. Instead previously all we've had is a boom and bust cycle, which is incredibly inefficient.

Not that I'd want the tail to wag the dog by building ships to keep yards open, but surely the postwar RAN was or should have been big enough to avoid the boom and bust building cycle.
 
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