The Politico story someone mentioned above states that one of the reasons why the French won the contract originally was the ability to switch the contract to nuclear submarines if that became politically palatable in Australia later. So apparently the option to switch the order to nuclear was part of the deal with France to begin with and so is not really a reason to cancel the contract.Its understandable that France is unamused by events, however certain individuals have blamed America, and rather petulantly suggested this means their can be no alliance or cooperation in the pacific.
If the Decision was to hoof out france and by Upholder Mk 2 or Astute SSK - then I would be in complete agreement that its a stab in the back and would support France suing the arse off someone, but thats not the case Australia has said - the situations changed - we need to go SSN - Theyve at no point cited programme issues or engaged in Frog bashing to justify the decision (others have but thats not Oz gov or Ran.
Canberra was reportedly particularly keen on the French bid because of the ability to switch the Barracudas from diesel to nuclear power — technology that was deemed political poison so recently after the Fukushima disaster in Japan, but that the government believed could become more palatable in time.
The US aren't just upset about Chinese competition in the Far East, they also don't like them being in Africa and South America as well. The issue is global, not just one of regional spheres of influence.Good points. The proximity to China of Western-backed states must be a concern to China, just as the presence of Cuba has been a concern to the US. Stating the obvious, when Cuba began to be an active part of the USSR's Cold War military, it nearly caused war; Chinese concern about the US presence in Asia/Far East is natural. And China itself has a (in historical terms) recent history of foreign occupation.
Opportunities for conflict will grow and, just as we're making a point about navigation in international waters close to China, China will respond:
Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) warships traveled within 46 miles of Alaska’s Aleutian Island coast last month and were photographed by U.S. Coast Guard images released on Sunday. The images, taken by U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf, spotted the Chinese ships on Aug. 30 inside the...americanmilitarynews.com
When the UK stopped being a major colonial power, it was after a ruinous war - as well as some other factors - and that helped us to accept that we couldn't retain an Empire. The French tried to hang onto their Empire and it caused two disastrous wars. Is the US pivot towards Asia in any way akin to the French trying to retain influence in Indochina, or Algeria, and not reading the writing on the wall? Put another way, the US and China need to work out how to coexist in Asia/Far East.
What we don't know is how Australia intend to actually use the submarines. If they intend to use them for defence rather than offence, then the fact that the Indonesian archipelago restricts the movement of submarines and surface ships works in Australia's favour. Their submarines would know there were only certain straits that an opposing navy could come through if they wanted to avoid a long detour around, which means they would know where to patrol in order to be in a good position to ambush them.Thank you for your comprehensive reply. I was aware that Indonesia played a vital role in establishing the principles of UNCLOS and Jakarta is very sensitive to incursions in its maritime territory, even if it has little capacity to do anything about it, as the Chinese coast guard and Vietnamese fishermen prove time and again in the waters of Natuna.
Sending a nuke boat surreptitiously through the narrow and extremely busy Sunda, Malacca or Lombok straits certainly strikes me as risky behaviour, but otherwise what's the point of having subs if you have to sail them on the surface with the flags flying?
The Chinese seem to be being quite canny and, in Africa, etc saying 'give us trade access, etc - we'll help without imposing our system, beliefs, etc on you'.The US aren't just upset about Chinese competition in the Far East, they also don't like them being in Africa and South America as well. The issue is global, not just one of regional spheres of influence.
As I understand it, after the remaining two Astutes, Barrow is meant to be cracking on with the SSBNs for quite a few years. the US is still building Virginias and I think their yard is busy for a while to come, so perhaps...do the common design for SSN(OZ) and make (R) and (X) the later batches in the production run?
Job 1 is going to be working out what safety and licensing procedures / regs etc are going to be needed for the designers and the site operators. Then you can start figuring out what you're going to put on site. You'll also have to sort out the supply chain qualification and verification procedures, which are also far from trivial - and if not gripped go wrong-diddley ong, ong in a similar stylee to the welding issues in HII and the issues with Astute boat 4 in Barrow.They are to be built down under so job 1 is outfitting a shipyard there for it.
The Chinese seem to be being quite canny and, in Africa, etc saying 'give us trade access, etc - we'll help without imposing our system, beliefs, etc on you'.
That's an attractive proposition. Logically, the answer is for the US/West to offer attractive competition to the Chinese offer. In parts of Africa, governments may associate the West with criticism rather than regarding us as a suitor.