Fortress Australia

The left are at it again. Now that Labor is in government they want to strip the Australian Defense Force and leave us without an effective military. Have a read of Labor hack Michael Costello’s recent article, its a return to the disastrous fortress Australia defense policy of the previous Labor government. Which means you concentrate on protecting Australia from a mythical invasion with subs and advanced jet fighters and cut everything else. We saw what the result of that was in Timor. Our army had been so run down that even a modest peace keeping exercise like that was a complete stretch. We needed to borrow US equipment and hire Russian transport planes to do it. Had the Indonesians decided to shoot back we would have been gone. The reality is we need to defend our continent and our national interest. We can not isolate ourselves from the rest of the world, we have an import/export economy, major events on the other side of the planet effects on our lives. Not only that but if we were threaten by an aggressive enemy they would be a threat to other nations in the region too. Thats why we fight our battles away from our shores not at our borders, thats not going to change.

The Howard government learn t this the hard way in Timor and Iraq and was building upthe ADF with tanks, helicopters, the AAW destroyers and importantly the LHDs. To the Left this is anathema because it gives the government the option of projecting major force away from our borders. They want to remove that option and retreat into isolationism.

The Left’s liking for the F-22 has to be seen in this context. The F-22 would be an ideal plane for the Australian left. Its deadly and modern but useless for our needs. The USA is the only country that has the F-22 , it would be expensive for us to maintain and be regarded as a strategic asset, similar to the F-111. Wannabe top guns would love to fly it but would be unlikely to see combat. Besides, its not for export! Thats why we are getting the F-35, the F-35 is a multi role aircraft that will be the workhorse of air forces around the world. Its a fighter we can easily slot in to what ever mission is required.

Which brings us to Mr Beazley and submarines. Mr Beazley wants the government to double the number of subs to 12. He wants more subs to defend our ships from enemy submarines. Emmmm. How does he propose to do that? Sure, the Americans with their nuke subs can hunt down enemy subs and escort their fleet but our submarines are conventional so are much slower submerged. They are not going to be escorting the navy. Mr Beazley is Mr Fortress Australia, 12 expensive submarines would soak up so much of the defense budget it could only be done by cutting back other acquisitions.

The big acquisition to watch is the LHDs. The Landing Helicopter Docks will replace the HMAS Manoora and HMAS Kanimbla , two former US ships now over thirty years old. In size and shape the LHDs are similar to small aircraft carriers like the old Melbourne. But although they could also support the VSTOL F-35B, they are not really carriers. They are amphibious transport ships that can take over a thousand men and their equipment to trouble spots. Thats why the left hate them. While in opposition Rudd’s team supported the LHD purchase, let hope they withstand leftest pressure and don’t change their minds.

3 Responses to “Fortress Australia”

  1. 2 Michael December 30, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    Labour will screw up their defence policy and undo the good work of the preceding government as sure as the Taliban hates freedom! The contradictions in the submarine debate are the harbinger of the quality we’re going to get out of this government. Of course, everyone knows submarines offer a lot of bang for your buck……if we’re talking about nuclear subs in serious warfare or conventional subs on some other minor tasks. Conventional subs aren’t going to provide the capability required to pursue something like sea-air gap policy. Labor knows this, but they’ll still try to hoodwink the Australian public into believing it’s the centrepiece of their defence policy.As for Michael Costello’s article, where do you start? The sea-air gap policy was never viable and it is ridiculous to continue to pursue it. Timor and Afghanistan proved that there is no substitute for boots on the ground (not to mention the failure of the Revolution in Military Affairs doctrine in Iraq by the US). The logic behind using air and maritime assets to defend the sea-air gap is ridiculous without certain elements of the land forces being at a similar level of technological sophistication (and even then it’s dodgy as your overarching defence policy).Ironically, I don’t completely disagree with all of Costello’s views on our future Air Force capability, apart from the retarded notion that we can keep the F-111 flying for the next 50 years. But having said that I’m still confident Labour can fuck it! What can I say? Let’s hope it’s only one term!Mick Sutcliffe.

  2. 3 Ralph Buttigieg December 31, 2007 at 8:01 am

    G’day Michael,Well, it looks like the Super Hornet buy will be reviewed. what the Age journo may think the most likely outcome is the purchase be continued. The F-111 are just about falling apart and the FA-18F is the logical replacement. This would also mean we can delay the F-36 purchase by a few years and get a model with the bugs worked out. Anyway, if theres any problem with the FA-18F Labor can blame Nelson.

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