The estimated cost of Royal Australian Navy’s future submarine programme hit nearly $90 billion– a rise of nearly $10 billion in just five months.
With the construction of the future submarine fleet lasting into the 2050s, the difference between constant and outturned estimates will be substantial, even if they are different ways of looking at the same thing.
The requirement for 12 large conventional submarines first appeared in the 2009 defence white paper. They were intended to have ‘greater range, longer endurance on patrol, and expanded capabilities compared to the current Collins class submarine’. In addition to the Collins’ anti-submarine, anti-surface and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance roles, the new submarines were to have a strategic strike capability.
All of that implied greater size and complexity. Increasing size and complexity are the two main reasons why military equipment suffers significantly greater rates of inflation than the broader economy. Therefore, the new submarines were necessarily going to be much more expensive than the Collins, which cost about $5.1 billion for six 3,300-tonne boats.
These programs will be funded through a series of progressive Government approvals — all which are provisioned within the Defence Integrated Investment Program.
Former Defence Department official Marcus Hellyer, now with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, says despite the clarification it appears the submarine program could soon prove to be more expensive than originally anticipated.
© 2020, GDC. © GDC and www.globaldefensecorp.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to www.globaldefensecorp.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.