Defence industry is crying #military #auspol

Elements of the Australian defence industry are crying a river because the current government is incompetent (just like the last one) yet they look toward the moronic Defence White Paper of 2009 as if it is the crown jewels. Interesting; they seem to avoid talking less about the  cancer that is the DMO and friends.

They want a 4th air warfare destroyer—which we do not need–and are deluded enough to think that Australia can make its own Collins-class sub replacement.

Since Australia refuses to pursue a true air domination mission, things like the air warfare destroyer will only see a watery grave if there is a big battle. So what about helping out U.S. aircraft carriers? Same thing here because the air wing that flies off of those will be obsolete unless hope-of-hopes UCAS-N becomes oh-so-incredible.

High-speed ship killers now proliferating in the region also don’t make for a happy thought. AEGIS meet your end with discovery on the horizon and the clock running. How ready is Defence to deal with this kind of technology launched from land, sea, air and underwater? It is very, very fast. Will Nulka save the day? Roll the dice. When you have real air domination assets you get into these bad situations less.  Even with that, what about this threat model? It is doubtful that an “air warfare destroyer”—which is not—has much capability here except as a range target.

Also without real air domination, ASW aircraft can’t fly in all the places you want them. This takes out part of our defence against submarines.

And what about our subs? Too few and too faulty. We need real Defence leadership to push Industry to produce a large number of low manpower (20 some crew) and very simple submarines.  Forget the gold-plated do everything unaffordables.  Defence/Industry impotence won’t deliver. What these people want is a path of doom.

Along with building simple subs, the pump should be primed by purchasing  something off the shelf. It is this or given current performance with the sub sorrow, risk having yet another ineffective and expensive sub fleet.

What do we need from these people? In order to make them effective we again must have real leadership from Defence. Without that, our industry is just going to be a mediocrity because it has poor requirements thrown at it; over and over along with poor oversight.  

We need to follow the only good thing about the Defence White Paper of 2009. That is to build more frigates; and not overly complex ones either. A similar size and capability to the ones we have will be fine. 

Yes industry seems to be in trouble. If they want to be activist about it, they need to criticise not political parties but the entrenched Defence bureaucracy which is leading them to ruin. Once there are capable people in the Defence bureaucracy, they in turn can lead the politicians down the proper path.

Unskilled politicians—they aren’t all stupid–see a poorly managed Defence bureaucracy for what it is and see the banner held high which is the project of concern list. DMO is incompetent; senior Defence is rudderless. Cry about that.


When a bidder loses, sometimes details of the bid come out into the public. In this case it is alleged that one of the winners to build components for Australia’s Air Warfare Destroyer contract doesn’t have what it takes.

THE Rudd Government’s plans to start construction of the navy’s next generation of destroyers is in jeopardy, with one of the shipbuilders struggling to secure backing finance for its stake in the $8 billion project.

Cairns-based AIMTEK, trading as NQEA, was named on the weekend as one of two preferred suppliers for a $450 million contract to build hull blocks for the three new ships, with production set to start within the next few months.

But the company, which has a long history in building defence vessels, is understood to have been unsuccessful in winning institutional backing to underwrite a $30 million performance bond on its $300 million share in the project.

The bond is required for the final contract, now being negotiated, in financially binding the shipbuilders to meet set targets in the construction process.

On Saturday, Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon announced NQEA and the Newcastle-based FORGACS group were the preferred suppliers to build 70per cent of the blocks for the three air warfare destroyers, with the first ship to be delivered in 2014.

NQEA chairman Don Fry said yesterday the company had not expected the announcement for several more weeks, but said he could not comment on the commercial aspects of the project.

“The announcement came suddenly for us and we are now equipping ourselves for the task,” he said.

“It will be great for the region and provide jobs.”

The snag comes just a week after it emerged that an unsuccessful consortium that bidded for the project, the Bianco group, had claimed preferential treatment was given to its rivals by the Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance.

The ships are being built by the Adelaide-based AWD alliance, made up of Australian submarine builder ASC, US defence giant Raytheon and government weapons buyer, the Defence Materiel Organisation.

US giant Lockheed Martin will build the combat systems.

In a letter to the AWD Alliance, Bianco director Peter Gregg alleged that rivals had been asked to revise their bids, tailoring them to AWD demands during the year-long tender process.

“We now find that some companies are being favoured by repeatedly asking them to reduce their prices and that another company which seems unable to actually build a facility capable of completing the work are being given favourable status,” he wrote.

The allegations were denied by the AWD Alliance.

Another thing that has to be considered for this project is coming up with enough skilled manpower to do the job.





The Newcastle area ( a ways north of Sydney for those educated in the public school system ) will get a share in a $400 million dollar project to build hull modules for Australia’s $8 billion dollar Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyer project.

The announcement will be made when Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon visits the region today. Forgacs Engineering will get the work along with AIM-TEK in Cairns.

When completed, the hull modules will be transported to the Techport shipbuilding yard in Southern Australia for final assembly.

Australia has committed to three Hobart Class destroyers.

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Er… you looking for a job?

Ever consider working in Australia?

What ever the next Defence White paper says, I hope it doesn’t include building more big things at home.

Defence Skills Warning

SOUTH Australia could miss out on $30 billion in defence contracts to overseas companies over the next 10 years owing to a skills shortage, in a warning from the Federal Government.

Secretary for Defence Procurement Greg Combet told a business lunch in Adelaide last week that SA’s potential to win lucrative contracts to build new submarines, armoured personnel carriers and fighter jets could be “inhibited” by a lack of workers.

He said the defence industry needed to recruit an extra 5300 engineers and 8400 tradespeople nationally over the next decade.

“Lifting the level of the skilled workforce will be central to getting the defence industry to deliver on time and on budget,” Mr Combet told the lunch.

“If the Australian defence industry does not make this investment in skills, then there will be a move by some for more acquisition work to be sourced overseas.”

Sorry, I forgot Austal

In a previous post, I forgot to mention Austal which will be involved in competing for new U.S. ships.

1 February 2008 Austal is pleased to announce the award of a Preliminary Design Contract for the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) programme for the US Navy and Army. The JHSV requirements and concept of operations are similar to those of the Austal built “WestPac Express”, which has been successfully serving the III Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa, Japan for more than 6 years.


Hat-tip to Information Dissemination (with more complete coverage of this whole deal)

Incat and Revolution get U.S. Military contract

HSV-2 Swift

Pretty useful ships for some thingsfull story here.

Two Tasmanian based companies Incat Tasmania Pty Ltd and Revolution Design Pty Ltd have announces they have been awarded a US multi-million dollar design contract by the US Department of Defense.

The companies are part of an international consortium responding to the United States Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition program for the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV). The JHSV program brings together United States Navy, Army, Marines, and SOCOM to pursue a multi-use platform.

Incat Chairman Robert Clifford explained that the consortium is led by Incat’s United States partner, Louisiana-based Bollinger Shipyards, Inc., and includes Australia’s Incat and Revolution Design,

The Australian Incat-built High Speed Vessels, HSV-X1 Joint Venture, TSV-1X Spearhead and HSV-2 Swift, have already been employed by the DoD for experimentation and demonstration of high speed vessel technologies as well as for logistics support.

BAE takes over Tenix Defence

Everything is for sale these days.
clipped from

UK firm to become ADF’s biggest supplier

Updated Fri Jan 18, 2008 4:47pm AEDT

BAE Systems takeover of Tenix Defence

Executives of BAE Systems and Tenix Defence sign an acquisition agreement, but the deal must meet competition and foreign investment approval. (supplied)

British company BAE Systems has struck a $775 million takeover deal with one of Australia’s biggest defence firms, Tenix Defence.

The deal, which would make BAE the largest supplier to the Australian Defence Force, is subject to foreign investment and competition approvals.

BAE Systems Australia chief executive Jim McDowell says the purchase would more than double the company’s presence in Australia and boost its naval business.

$11 billion depends on the fate of mergers

BAE looks to be the predicted winner in a takeover of Tenix, an important Australian defence firm. The deal if it goes through, may happen by Christmas.

Tenix has done a variety of things. It has some land related defence contracts but is well known for it’s naval shipbuilding. It even owned aerospace firm Hawker de Havilland for a few years before selling it to Boeing Australia, Ltd. Tenix assets include; “defence and shipbuilding businesses, infrastructure maintenance and engineering services, property interests and other major undertakings. Tenix is also an active partner in high technology ventures with US and European firms.” It employs more than 4500 people.

Funny, in June, Tenix won as the preferred tenderer to help make the Canberra class amphibious vessels for the Navy which is a $3 billion dollar contract. Now all of the sudden it is being bought out.

As a comparison to the build of the $3 billion dollar Canberra amphibs, take a look at the business plan for the $8 billion dollar Air Warfare Destroyer project for the Navy.

The method seems to be:
-Bid for contract
-Win, which increases value of the company
-Sell out company or invite new leadership from another company to manage the project the winning company couldn’t do in the first place.

BAE, while successful in many areas, brings it’s own kind of baggage to the table. That is a total of $11 billion dollars of taxpayer money depending on the fate of mergers.

Industry connections

Boeing is making it’s hard push to gain more control in Australian Defence industry.

-The Boeing Company, through its Integrated Defense Systems Industrial Participation organization, today opened a new office in Seattle, Wash., to help increase business opportunities for Australian companies. The Office of Australian Industry Capability (OAIC) at Boeing will work closely with the Australian Department of Defence and Australian industry to identify bid opportunities for Australian aerospace companies within Boeing’s major commercial and defence programs, as well as key supplier partners.-

Connected with the new government leadership hope of having more domestic work for Defence projects….

-The policy states: “A Rudd Labor government will ensure that as much of the defence budget as possible is spent in Australia. Labor will emphasise preference for Australian content and require tenderers to develop detailed strategies for involving Australian industry to the greatest extent possible.”-

Sounds nice, however real change from the way things were done in the past? Not if  a faulty DMO is still the focal point.

Outsource – Deskill

This should be interesting to watch over time. Letting more foreign service providers in to risk sovereignty. To “derisk” is really to “deskill”.

-The joint venture’s initial pursuits will be for Through-Life-Support (TLS) programs offered by the Defence Material Organization including Main Battle Tanks (M1A1 Abrams), Australian Light Armored Vehicles (ASLAV), transport vehicles, and self-propelled 155mm guns. The pursuit of maintenance and logistics-support programs for aircraft and other land vehicles will also be considered.

DynCorp International’s status as a service provider for the U.S. Armed Forces, the U.S. Department of State, and export markets provides the joint venture with expert skills in aviation and land maintenance.-

Here is a summary of some of the DynCorp ethics to consider. That is what your tax dollars will be helping to support.

These kinds of deals may be great for all kinds of global economy solutions… except Defence. Just as the U.S. is finding this kind of defence business model troublesome, Australia seems to want to follow along and try it. Maybe we can outsource DMO.