“We’re being conned”: Dick Smith questions submarine project 

A group of prominent businessmen, including Dick Smith and John Singleton, have taken out a full-page ad in The Australian newspaper, suggesting the public is being conned over the submarine project.
French company DCNS won the $50 billion contract to build Australia’s next fleet of 12 submarines in Adelaide, which will replace the current Collins Class fleet.

The company won the contract to build a modified version of its nuclear submarine, called the Shortfin Barracuda.
The Australian Government stipulated that the winning contract would need to use conventional power, ruling out larger, nuclear-powered submarines.

The lead up to the submarine contract has involved election promises, business and political campaigns and lots of speculation.

Mr Smith said the re-designed version of the submarine would have to be converted to a diesel engine.
But he told 891 ABC Adelaide that was a ludicrous plan and he believed it would never happen.
“So the plan is for us to buy a nuclear submarine design and then convert it to a piston submarine,” he said.
“Now no-one has ever done that in the world and in fact when I talk to submarine experts they say it is so ridiculous, so we’re being conned.”
Mr Smith said if the Government’s real agenda was to use nuclear technology, it should be up front about it.

PHOTO Dick Smith says Australia is being conned by the Government’s submarine decision.

More details on subs project needed: Xenophon
South Australia Senator Nick Xenophon agreed that more details about the submarines project were needed.
But he questioned the motives behind Mr Smith’s campaign.

Dick Smith advert – The advert that was placed in The Australian newspaper.
“I think the criticisms of the uncertainty are fair enough, but if the criticisms are about a campaign not to build the subs in Australia and to scuttle project then perhaps Dick Smith and I will be on the other side of the barricade,” Senator Xenophon said.
“If you speak to submarine experts, a diesel sub with electric motors, in other words, with battery power is actually quieter than a nuclear sub so it’s really a case of what you’re actually looking at and what you’re looking for.
“There needs to be more details of the program, we need to know when the program will be up and running in terms of contracts being signed.”
Senator Xenaphon said he was concerned about the lack of certainty surrounding the project.
“There are some quarters in defence spaces saying, ‘look, this is going to be complicated, we are going to have a capability gap’.
“I would have thought by now we would have had much more certainty after the April announcement.”
South Australia’s Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith said he trusted the decision.
“I think the Navy chose that rather than the Government and you have to trust their judgment,” Mr Hamilton-Smith said.
South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill hit out at Mr Smith on Twitter, calling the businessman a “sad old man”.
“Looked like it [the advert] was scribbled on the back of a serviette after a long lunch – #sadoldmen,” Mr Weatherill tweeted.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Mark says:

    Three points: 1. If no plan exists for the project concept for the ASC currently on the table, i.e. French nuclear subs converted to diesel, what is actually in the Indian-French proposed, 22,000 page plan that has been leaked by a spy/traitor to someone in Malaysia, Germany, etc.? And aren’t the French nuclear submarines already smaller than their counterparts in Britain, Russia and the US? 2. One of the stronger arguments against the diesel concept for the 12 subs built in Adelaide is that it relies too heavily on diesel, a fuel that Australia needs to import. The trade routes the subs are designed to protect would be the very conduits needed to keep them running. Too many eggs in the one basket and diesel would be needed for other shipping. However why has no-one considered converting all our shipping, including the RAN to LNG? IT is safer than diesel, cleaner than diesel, less poisonous than diesel, easier to store than diesel, more efficient than diesel, infinitely safer than nuclear, and Australia has abundant supplies of our own. In fact, were there a major conflict and the trade routes severed we would have unlimited reserves for domestic and military consumption, and you can run anything from heavy lorries to planes, trains and automobiles safely on LNG. The technology is now widely accepted and major US engineering companies advertise any size job on the internet. I have not yet heard one criticism of the concept. It is the energy security that Australia desperately needs! I have heard more than one pundit describe LNG as the fuel for the 21st century, just as oil was for the 20th, and coal was for the 19th. Remember that these two resources made Britannia the world’s only super power for more than a century! By-pass nuclear fission uranium reactors completely, until safer, cleaner fission is developed. China has to go down that fission path for energy/ military reasons, we don’t. 3. Which brings me to the last point. The most important assets which Australia needs to protect now become obvious. We need to base our entire defence strategic plan around the assumption that in the event of a major conflict, we need to protect our major LNG production on the west and east coast of Australia, as well as Bass strait; the supply routes and pipelines therefrom and of course the major population centres and cities that supply them with workers, technical expertise, heavy supplies, machinery, and foodstuffs etc. and the Royal Australian Army, Navy, Air Force bases without which resistance would be impossible. For this we will need a strong anti-submarine fleet of one sort or another, a strong ground force to deter and repel any land/ facility invasion, especially the more likely commando operations, and powerful air support for the other two arms, including the implicit option of first strike capabilities, if necessary to counter any enemy hostile actions before they can reduce our ability, and more importantly our will to fight!


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