Inaccurate reporting of Navy capability

Published on Vice Admiral Ray Griggs Chief of Navy (author), LS Nina Fogliani (photographer)

HMAS Waller, HMAS Dechaineux and HMAS Sheean in formation.
 (photo: LSIS Nina Fogliani)
HMAS Waller, HMAS Dechaineux and HMAS Sheean in formation.

The article in the Sydney Morning Herald entitled ‘Submarine fleet a gold plated farce facing a reckoning’ which appeared on Monday 20th January contains a number of errors of fact.

There is no ingrained ‘culture of delusion and arrogance’ within the Australian Defence Force when it comes to the development of capability requirements. Defence works as a department in a contestable, considered and methodical manner when it comes to future capability requirements.

Contrary to claims in the article, that the military consistently produces gold-plated, high maintenance capabilities, it has for many years now utilised military off-the-shelf (MOTS) capabilities where practical and Defence has also been successfully reducing the cost of maintenance.

Recent successful examples of MOTS purchases include the multi-million dollar purchases of MH-60R helicopters and C-17 Globemaster aircraft.

The Royal Australian Navy’s replenishment ship HMAS Sirius has, and will continue to operate in all sea conditions within her designed limits. The ship is not being decommissioned this year, and will serve into the 2020s.

In response to comments on the submarine workforce my predecessor commissioned a review of the role of engineering in generating naval capability in May 2009.

He accepted 67 of the 76 Recommendations in the report in June 2010. Mr Rizzo’s review broadly identified the validity of the recommendations accepted from the Strategic Review of Naval Engineering and recommended that the remedial activity be completed in conjunction with any action consequent to his review. This review was always intended as an internal Navy review.

While we do not comment on the operations of the submarine fleet there have been numerous periods when up to four submarines have been in service. In fact for most of the last two years Navy has continuously had four submarines in service.

R J Griggs
Vice Admiral
Chief of Navy