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Richard Marles and Jonathan Mead babble on about nuclear submarines, (adding to the confusion)

Australia will have ‘unequivocal’ control over nuclear-powered submarines, insists chief adviser

‘When we take command of our first boat, we will have sovereign capability’, says Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead,

Daniel Hurst Guardian, 14 Feb 23,

The head of Australia’s nuclear-powered submarine taskforce insists Australia will retain full operational control over the submarines, while potentially having US or British engineers on board to provide technical advice.

The comments follow renewed debate in recent weeks over whether the flagship project of the Aukus pact – which relies on support from the US and the UK – will lead to an erosion of Australian sovereignty.

The former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has been calling on the government to answer whether the submarines could be “operated, sustained and maintained by Australia without the support or supervision of the US navy”, and whether that effectively meant “sovereignty would be shared with the US”.

But the head of the taskforce advising the Australian government on the acquisition of at least eight submarines, Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead, used an interview with ABC TV on Monday evening to assert Australian control.

“When we take command of our first boat, we will have sovereign capability,” he told the 7.30 program.

“We will be commanding and controlling, under the Australian government direction, that nuclear-powered submarine.”…………………………….

Like the defence minister, Richard Marles, Mead expressed confidence that the plan to be announced soon would ensure there was no capability gap between the retirement of Australia’s existing Collins class diesel-electric submarines and the entry into service of nuclear-powered boats. But he did not provide specifics.

Mead also described the purpose of nuclear-powered submarines as being to “put the greatest question of doubt in the enemy’s mind” and “if necessary, respond with massive firepower”.

Marles used a speech to parliament last week to declare that acquiring nuclear-powered submarines would “dramatically enhance” Australia’s sovereignty, rather than undermine it………

Marles said Australia would “always make sovereign, independent decisions on how our capabilities are employed”.

In the wake of that speech, Turnbull tweeted that it was “quite a different thing to have a major platform that cannot be operated without the supervision/support of another country”

Turnbull said on Monday evening: “I think the question which has not been answered is: could the submarines be operated if US technical advice/support were withdrawn? The entire resources of the Australian news media have been unable to pin the government or the navy down on that.”

Paul Keating, the former Labor prime minister has previously raised concerns about increased reliance on US support and suggested Australia’s sovereignty was being “wilfully suborned”. 


February 13, 2023 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war

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