Aussie gov't hits back at report claiming nation facing 20 years without submarines

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/9/29 10:17:58

Australia's government has hit back at claims that the country should buy "off-the-shelf" submarines, saying doing so would be "dangerous."

Australia's Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne staunchly defended the government's 39 billion US dollar Future Submarine (FSM) Program after an independent report called for the purchase of six off-the-shelf vessels to bridge the gap between the current Collins-class fleet and the new ships.

The report, which was released by Insight Economics on Wednesday, largely criticized the FSM project, saying delays in building the complex new submarines could leave Australia without submarines for up to 20 years.

It recommended purchasing six submarines from France which could be constructed in short order to bridge the gap.

Pyne on Friday responded to the report, saying there were no off-the-shelf submarine options that suited Australia's needs.

"This is an erroneous and dangerous argument which flies in the face of official advice given to the government by experts in this field," Pyne wrote in a regular newspaper column on Friday.

He said that the report contained "some spectacular errors and oversights, most importantly when it comes to our submarine capability in the transition from the Collins-class submarines to the future submarines."

"The most pressing error is the claim that there will be a capability gap in our submarine fleet between the end of the Collins-class and the delivery of the future submarines.

"It's remarkable the report's authors failed to realize this issue was addressed more than 1.5 years ago when the government announced through the defence white paper in March 2016 that it would invest in an upgrade of the Collins-class submarines."

Posted in: ASIA-PACIFIC

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