Defence manufacturing workers in Australia campaigned strongly for Australia's naval submarines to be built in Australia. The federal government awarded the principal contract to a French corporation whom we are told will build the submarines in Australia. We are told by the government and the successful tenderer that they will be suitable for Australia's needs which in reality means suitable also for the needs of a US build-up of military presence in the Asia Pacific region.
It is better for workers in Australia that the submarines are built here at a time when manufacturing generally is in decline in Australia. However it is possible the submarines will be obsolete before they are completed. The US Pentagon is spending up to $3 billion on robotic Unmanned Underwater Vessels (UUVs). The corporations to benefit from this expenditure are the usual suspects including Boeing, General Dynamics and Raytheon. Boeing has already developed UUVs that can cruise the ocean depths for weeks at a time. These corporations are designing UUVs that do not rely on an external signal for navigation so they can avoid detection from China and Russia in particular who are behind on this technological front. They are autonomous.
"The US Defence Advanced Research Project has a plan to plant 4.5 metre pods on the ocean floor that could stay there for years waiting to be awakened. When they received a signal they would float to the surface and release aerial drones, which could perform surveillance over shorelines" (AFR 26 November).
Raytheon is working on torpedoes that roam the seas detecting and collecting information.
With UUV technology well advanced and about to take a qualitative leap forward at American taxpayer's expense, the submarines expected to be built in Australia but not completed for quite a few years yet, may be useless.
Is Australia being taken for a ride by bigger powers yet again?
In an independent, socialist Australia, money would be spent on an Australian owned Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) to research and design defence systems for Australia's needs as an island continent in the 21st Century.
This would revive manufacturing jobs in producing what research and design projects show is in our best interests in maintaining an anti-imperialist peace-oriented Australia.