To Protect Itself From U.S.
Hostility Australia Decides To Buy U.S.
By Moon Of Alabama
September 17, 2021 -- "Information
Clearing House -
of Alabama" -
Yesterday the U.S., the UK and Australia
announced that the later one will
buy nuclear powered submarines to do the U.S.'
bidding against China:
Australia's next submarine fleet will be
nuclear-powered under an audacious plan that
will see a controversial $90 billion program to
build up to 12 French-designed submarines
The ABC understands Australia will use
American and British technology to configure its
next submarine fleet in a bid to replace its
existing Collins class subs with a boat more
suitable to the deteriorating strategic
This is a huge but short term win for the U.S.
with an also-ran booby price for Britain and a
strategic loss of sovereignty and budget control for
It is another U.S. slap into the face of France
and the European Union. The deal will piss off New
Zealand, Indonesia and of course China. It will
upset the international nuclear non proliferation
regime and may lead to the further military
nuclearization of South Korea and Japan.
Australia currently has 6
Collins class submarines. These are diesel
driven boats based on Swedish designs but partially
build in Australia. These boats are relatively slow
and have a medium range and endurance. They were
built between 1990 and 2003 and are mostly for
defensive use. There were lots of trouble during the
building of the boats as Australia lacks the
technical capabilities and industrial depth to make
such complicate products. The operational history of
boats is also rather mixed with several scandals
following each other. The boats are supposed to be
upgraded to be in use for another decade.
In the 2010s Australia began to look for a new
generation of submarines. After
a long discussion it decided to stick to
conventionally powered boats. The new subs were
again to be build in Australia after a foreign
Germany, Japan and France were asked for
proposals. The French state owned ship builder Naval
Group (DCNS) won the race for 12 new boats and the
€50 billion contract. Ironically the French
conventionally driven Shortfin Barracuda design
France offered is based on its own nuclear driven
Barracuda class design. For Australia France had
therefore to design a conventional power plant for a
submarine that was originally designed, as
all French subs are, to run on a nuclear reactor
with low enriched uranium (LEU). It was quite
obvious that this unusual conversion would run into
difficulties and time delays.
Back in June Peter Lee, aka Chinahand,
wrote about the delayed program:
The program is officially “troubled” and
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison held a
confab with French president Macron to try to
get the project back on track.
Although the contract was signed in 2016,
construction hasn’t begun yet, and the first
submarine under the program won’t be launched
for another decade. At least.
This does not fit well with the Australian
navy’s declared ambition to fling its armed
might against a PRC invasion of Taiwan that
might happen in the next few years, so there’s
all sorts of flailing go on, including talk of
spending a few billion dollars to upgrade the
current Collins class fleet of submarines as a
stopgap, or even rush-procuring some German
There’s also some talk of canceling,
threatening to cancel, and/or modifying the
attack submarine contract to do better. And
maybe steer the project toward Germany or back
to America’s choice, Japan.
Well - it turns out that 'America's choice'
builder for Australia's submarines was not Japan but
the U.S. itself.
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We now learn that talks about ditching the
contract with French in favor of U.S. build nuclear
driven boats already started in April 2020 and were
finalized during a U.S., Australian, British summit
in early June 2021. This was
before Prime Minister Scott Morrison met with
the French President Macron to get the
French-Australian project back on track!
What the PM didn't tell Macron over that long
dinner in Paris — and perhaps why the French
President might be particularly miffed — is that
Morrison had, just a day or so before, already
reached an informal agreement with United States
President Joe Biden and British PM Boris Johnson
for an extension of a nuclear technology sharing
This revelation brings a new complexion to
the tripartite meeting in Carbis Bay in Cornwall
on June 12 between the two PMs and the US
The ABC understands the federal government began
exploring the nuclear-powered submarine option
about 18 months ago when Linda Reynolds was
still defence minister.
Moreover on August 30 the French and Australian
Foreign and Defense Ministers had met and issued a
common declaration on bilateral cooperation in a
number of policy fields. This included defense
Both sides committed to deepen defence industry
cooperation and enhance their capability edge in
the region. Ministers underlined the importance
of the Future Submarine program. They agreed to
strengthen military scientific research
cooperation through a strategic partnership
between the Defence Science and Technology Group
and the Directorate General for Armaments.
Just sixteen days later France learned that it
lost a huge defense contract due a 180 degree turn
around by its Australian 'partner'. It is no wonder
than that the French
The French government has hit out Australia's
decision to tear up a submarine deal with France
worth more than €50 billion to instead acquire
American-made nuclear-powered submarines.
"It's a stab in the back. We
had established a trusting relationship with
Australia, and this trust was betrayed," French
Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said
in a Franceinfo interview Thursday morning. Le
Drian added he was "angry and very bitter about
this break up," adding that he had
spoken to his Australian counterpart days ago
and received no serious indication of the move.
Under a deal announced Wednesday by U.S.
President Joe Biden, Australia, the U.K. and the
U.S. will form a new alliance to be known as
AUKUS, which will see the three countries share
advanced technologies with one another. As part
of the new pact, Canberra will abandon its
submarine deal with France.
The French, correctly, blame the U.S. for this
In a statement released before the interview, Le
Drian and Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly
said: “This decision is contrary to the letter
and spirit of the cooperation that prevailed
between France and Australia."
The statement continued: "The
American choice to push aside an ally
and European partner like France from a
structuring partnership with Australia, at a
time when we are facing unprecedented challenges
in the Indo-Pacific region ... shows a lack of
consistency France can only note and regret."
The French ambassador to the U.S. was a bit more
subtle with this zinger:
Philippe Etienne @Ph_Etienne -
2:43 UTC · Sep 16, 2021
Interestingly, exactly 240 years ago the
French Navy defeated the British Navy in
Chesapeake Bay, paving the way for the victory
at Yorktown and the independence of the United
There are some military reasons to prefer nuclear
submarines over diesel driven ones if one
plans to lay siege on a foreign coast far away from
ones own one. Nuclear submarines (SSN) are
faster and can stay on station much longer than
diesel driven boats (SSK).
But there are also many negative issues with
nuclear boats. They are larger and more expensive
than conventional ones. The cost nearly 50% more.
They also require dedicated infrastructure and very
specialized nuclear training for the crews.
Australia has neither nor can it supply the
necessary fuel for the nuclear reactors.
The price for the new submarines Australia will
have to pay will be much higher that for the French
ones. Some $3 billion have already been sunk into
the French contract. France will rightfully demand
additional compensation for cancelling it. The new
contract with the U.S. or UK will cost more than the
French one but will only include 8 instead of 12
boats. As three boats are needed to keep one at sea
(while the other two are training or in refit), the
actual patrolling capacity for Australia's navy will
sink from 4 to 2-3 concurrent submarines at sea.
The much higher price of the fewer more
complicate boats will upset Australia's defense
budget for decades to come.
If going to nuclear propulsion were Australia's
sole reason for changing the horse it could have
stuck to the original French Barracuda design. This
has the advantage of using low enriched uranium
which is commercially available. There would be no
Australian dependency on France for new fuel
supplies. The British and U.S. boats use nuclear
reactors with highly enriched uranium (HEU 60%). As
Australia now decided to buy those boats it will
forever be dependent on those suppliers.
non-proliferation crowd and the IAEA will be
up in arms over the deal. How much supervision
will there be over the HEU? Who will have access to
Nuclear driven submarines are also perceived as
offensive weapons, not as reasonable defensive ones.
There are more countries on this map than just
That Australia, with just 25 million inhabitants,
is buying nuclear driven attack subs will not be
welcome by its ten times larger northern neighbor
Indonesia. Other neighboring countries, like New
Zealand, reject any use of nuclear fuel and will not
allow ships or boats using it into their harbors.
The new contract will also upset the Australian
plans for manufacturing the boats on its own soil.
While the French design was ready to start the
actual building phase at the beginning of next year
the whole submarine project will now go into a new
18 month long definition phase after which actual
contracts will have to be negotiated and signed.
Meanwhile the hundreds of Australian engineers who
moved to France to help with the design and
specialists who were hired by Naval Group in
Australia will have to be cared for. Australia does
not have many people with such knowledge. What are
they going to do until the new project actually
The UK will offer Australia to buy British made
Astute class submarines while the U.S. is likely
to offer the smaller version of its
Virginia class submarines. As both countries
have active production lines for these it will not
make any economic sense to build more than some
small parts for these in Australia itself. The U.S.
will use all pressure that is necessary to make sure
that its offer will win the race. A hint of that is
that Australia also announced that it will acquire
long-range US Tomahawk missiles to be used with the
The first of the French boats for Australia was
expected to be ready in the early 2030s. There will
now be a long delay of perhaps a decade for
Australia to get new boats.
Its current Collins class will require more than
an ordinary refit to be sustained that long. That is
going to be expensive. The Germans may want to jump
into that gap by offering their
Type 214 submarines with hydrogen driven
propulsion. While these boats are much smaller they
offer a long endurance, can be supplied reasonably
fast and come for a much cheaper price than the
nuclear driven ones.
Altogether I do not see any advantage for
Australia in this move.
What then is the reason to take that step?
It is called blackmail.
China is by far Australia's largest trading
partner. U.S. and Australian 'strategist' claim that
the submarines are need to protect Australia's
maritime trade routes with its largest trading
partner ... from China. That makes, as
this sketch provides, zero sense.
The only reason Australia has turned politically
and militarily against China is U.S. blackmail. Two
years ago the U.S. 'realist' political scientist
John Mearsheimer came to Australia to
explained to Australians (vid see at 33min) how
As Caitlin Johnstone
“Now some people say there’s an alternative:
you can go with China,” said Mearsheimer. “Right
you have a choice here: you can go with China
rather the United States. There’s two things
I’ll say about that. Number one, if you
go with China you want to understand you are our
enemy. You are then deciding to become
an enemy of the United States. Because again,
we’re talking about an intense security
“You’re either with us or against us,” he
continued. “And if you’re trading extensively
with China, and you’re friendly with China,
you’re undermining the United States in this
security competition. You’re feeding the beast,
from our perspective. And that is not going to
make us happy. And when we are not happy
you do not want to underestimate how nasty we
can be. Just ask Fidel Castro.”
Nervous laughter from the Australian think
tank audience punctuated Mearsheimer’s more
incendiary observations. The CIA is known to
numerous attempts to assassinate Castro.
So there you have it. Australia is
not aligned with the US to protect itself from
China. Australia is aligned with the US to
protect itself from the US.
may have forgotten the name of the Australian
Prime Minister. But Scott Morrison knows who he is
expected to work for. In 1975 the U.S. and the UK
launched a coup against the Australian Prime
Minister Gough Whitlam who was moving his country
towards independence. Few in the U.S. will remember
that but Australian politicians do. Their country
has since always done as it was told to do.
And that is what all the above is about.
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