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Thread: Someone should be gaoled (preferably shot) over this incompetence

  1. #1
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    Default Someone should be gaoled (preferably shot) over this incompetence

    Rusty ships, boats that don't fit leave minister all at sea
    Dan Oakes
    February 2, 2011


    DEFENCE has spent $40 million on small boats that do not fit on to its amphibious ships - which are riddled with rust anyway and may never sail again, leaving a hole in operating capacity which may have to be plugged at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.

    The announcements came on a black day for Defence procurement. The Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, also revealed that a trouble-plagued naval helicopter project is under review.

    Mr Smith and the Defence Materiel Minister, Jason Clare, refused to condemn the hierarchy of the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO), which buys everything from salt shakers to submarines, but said there were serious ''institutional'' problems within Defence.

    Mr Smith said the LCM Watercraft project had been axed because the boats could not be launched from the amphibious transport ships HMAS Manoora and Kanimbla.

    ''That was not a project with which Defence covered itself with glory,'' he said. ''At a cost of some $40 million to the Australian taxpayer, this is precisely what we are seeking to avoid in the future.''

    He said the Manoora, which has been docked alongside the Kanimbla in Sydney for the past four months, will be decommissioned, despite the Chief of Navy, Vice-Admiral Russ Crane, saying last year that every effort would be made to get it back to sea as soon as possible.

    The two ships were riddled with rust when bought for a bargain price from the US Navy in the mid-1990s, and further problems have been discovered. Mr Smith would not guarantee the Kanimbla would take to sea again.

    He said their fate meant a bridging solution was needed between now and 2015, when two huge ships called landing helicopter docks will become operational.

    Andrew Davies, of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said the watercraft debacle was ''stretching credulity''.

    ''I'm just shaking my head at some of this. Where to begin?'' Dr Davies said. ''Watercraft that don't fit the ships they were supposed to fit, and the ships are being retired anyway? It's probably just as well that events have required a rethink of the amphibious capability, given the way it was going, but the process that has got us here is less than stellar.''

    Also in Mr Smith's sights is the troubled MRH90 helicopter, 46 of which were ordered to replace the Black Hawk and Sea King helicopters. The project has been dogged by engine problems, delays and a lack of spare parts. Mr Clare said yesterday it will be the subject of a review.

    Mr Smith said he had complete confidence in the chief executive of the DMO, Steve Gumley.

    We can't put more than two of our subs to sea at a time and we can't crew more than three of our current six subs, but our defence geniuses have decided that we're going to base our future navy on 12 subs.

    Yeah, that makes sense!


    Australia Doubles Submarine Force
    June 11, 2010: Australia's submarine fleet is no longer a one boat operation. The HMAS Dechaineux recently returned to service. So now Australia has two Collins class subs operational, and four undergoing maintenance or repairs. Normally, two of the six boats are out on patrol, two are conducting training (but available for operations) and two are undergoing maintenance. The reality is that, right now, only two of the Collins class subs is available for operations, while one is conducting limited training. The other three are undergoing a period of extended repairs. That means that the current situation may last for a year or more.

    All this comes at a bad time for the Australian Navy, because last year it was decided that submarines would become the key component of the fleet. Over the next decade, Australia will double the number of subs in service, from six to twelve. This will mean that more than half (12 out of 23) of their major warships will be subs. What is remarkable about this is the relative isolation of the submarine sailors within the Australian navy. Because of that, and the smaller crews of subs, few submarine officers achieved high rank in the navy. But the admirals have come to recognize, for all that, the submarine is the best warship for Australia's needs (defense against a superior surface fleet, or enemy subs seeking to blockade the nation).

    While the admirals are building more subs, the sailors who man those boats are jumping ship. The sailors who serve on these boats are not happy. This has been a problem for years. Last year, the navy surveyed the submarine sailors and were told that the submarine crewmen felt unappreciated and overworked. Half of them were getting out of the navy as soon as their current enlistments were up. Many found the work boring, and felt they spent too much time at sea. As a result, only enough qualified sailors are available to provide crews for three of the six Collins class subs. Each boat requires a crew of 45 highly trained sailors (eight of them officers.)

    The initial navy response to this was to offer large cash bonuses to get existing submarine sailors to stay in the navy, and to attract qualified recruits to serve on subs. This helped a bit, but at the expense of officer morale. The bonuses increased sailors annual pay by up to $38,000, which meant officers were now making less than many of the men they commanded. Worse yet, not enough new recruits were attracted. The submarine service has high standards, and many of those who were interested, were not qualified to undertake the long training courses.

    The situation was further complicated by a booming economy, and big demand for those with engineering degrees, and a few years of experience. This made it easy for engineering officers to leave the navy and get a higher paying, and more comfortable, civilian job. The navy responded with cash bonuses, better living and working conditions, and other fringe benefits. But the submarine force cannot have their working conditions improved much. While the subs are of modern design and recent construction, they are still subs. That means not much space or privacy in there.

    All Western navies have similar problems, and have applied similar solutions, with some degree of success. U.S. subs have the advantage of being larger (because of the nuclear propulsion) and with larger crews (nearly three times the size of the Collins class boats). This apparently helps. Other nations have small, modern, diesel-electric boats like the Collins class, but do not send them off on long voyages. Australia can't avoid the long voyages, because Australia is surrounded by vast oceans, that require a lot of time to traverse. It is boring to transit all of that, and that was exactly what the dispirited sailors reported when asked.

    The navy leadership has, in deciding to double the size of its sub fleet, agreed to either fix the morale and recruiting problems, or risk seeing most of those boats rarely going to sea, and manned by inexperienced crews when they did. The solution appears to be a combination of more pay, and using larger crews, so that everyone does not have to spend so much time at sea, or carry more people on cruises and reduce the workload for each. Another option is having two crews for each boat, a practice long used for American SSBNs (ballistic missile subs) and some surface ships. Another solution is the larger size of the next class of subs, that will provide, literally, more living room.

    The current Collins class boats were built in Australia and delivered between 1996 and 2003. They are based on a Swedish design (the Type 471.) At 3,000 tons displacement, the Collins are half the size of the American Los Angeles class nuclear attack subs, but are nearly twice the size of European non-nuclear subs. Australia needed larger boats because of the sheer size of the oceans in the area.

    There were a lot of technical problems with the Collins class boats, which the media jumped all over. Part of the problem was that Australia does not have a large shipbuilding industry, and thus has a small pool of experts to draw on for the extra difficult task of building submarines. The design of these subs was novel and ambitious, using a lot of automation. This reduced the crew size to 45, but resulted in a higher workload for the submarine sailors. This is a major reason for the morale problem. Another problem with the small crew was that every one of the sailors had to be pretty sharp to begin with, then required years of training to learn the job, and more responsibility for each sailor as well.

    The new class of subs are going to build on the Collins design, and will probably be a bit larger, and probably have an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system. This enables the sub to stay underwater for over a week at a time. Before the decision to expand the size of the sub fleet, the "Collins Replacement" boats were to enter service in 2024, just when the oldest Collins class sub was ready for retirement. That building plan will have to be sped up if the submarine fleet is to be doubled in a decade.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Someone should be gaoled (preferably shot) over this incompetence

    There is so much more to add to this, such as the crap choppers we bought off the Yanks to refurbish and couldn't get them adequately off the ground when we'd installed all the gear to bring them up to date, but the consistent theme is that some of the people making critical decisions about our defence future couldn't organise a **** in a brothel.

    If you want it at a simpler level, my son came back from army basic training last week with a big shiny plastic bag which should hold all his gear in transit. Looks cheap and nasty, but no doubt it's been field tested by the sort of experts who commission little boats which can't fit into bigger boats and who buy helos which won't fly when they've been modified to the experts' requirements. Anyway, I satisfied my curiosity by checking out where the big plastic bag was made. Yup! Exactly as I expected. China. Which our defence experts, most of whom I suspect would be struggling to find their ample arses with both hands behind them, have identified as our major defence threat.

    It should be handy having our defence equipment made by our prospective major enemy if we have to equip a few hundred thousand troops quickly to fight that enemy.

    Jesus ****ing wept!
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 02-19-2011 at 08:33 AM.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Someone should be gaoled (preferably shot) over this incompetence

    It hurt deeply having to read that, it seems we need a TV show for everything nowadays.

    How does a TV show to out the dumbest defence acquisition sound? In season two we could pit the private sector in and for a grand finale we could add politicians, they would always raise the bar when it comes to stupid decisions!
    It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do.
    ~Edmund Burke, Second Speech on Conciliation, 1775

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    Default Re: Someone should be gaoled (preferably shot) over this incompetence

    That's a show I would watch...

    Sorry to hear that RS...

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    Default Re: Someone should be gaoled (preferably shot) over this incompetence

    Just remember something else... in season four we could add Unions, the only guys dumber and more corrupt than politicians...

    In South Africa there was some slight embarrassment when Cosatu Union delegates realised that the T-Shirts they wore at a rally to keep jobs in South Africa were… you guessed it, “made in China!”

    Off course those T-shirts were made with workers’ money and ordered by the Union bosses!
    It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do.
    ~Edmund Burke, Second Speech on Conciliation, 1775

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Someone should be gaoled (preferably shot) over this incompetence

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    If you want it at a simpler level, my son came back from army basic training last week with a big shiny plastic bag which should hold all his gear in transit. Looks cheap and nasty, but no doubt it's been field tested by the sort of experts who commission little boats which can't fit into bigger boats and who buy helos which won't fly when they've been modified to the experts' requirements. Anyway, I satisfied my curiosity by checking out where the big plastic bag was made. Yup! Exactly as I expected. China. Which our defence experts, most of whom I suspect would be struggling to find their ample arses with both hands behind them, have identified as our major defence threat.
    My son's trunk arrived yesterday with all his gear.

    Very different to what I had, so he was taking me through it. I asked him where troops put their first field dressing now. In the webbing. He took out the dressing.

    It is, of course, made in China, which is our major defence threat.

    If we get into a serious shooting war with China with hundreds of thousands or even millions of our troops in the field, one of the things which is going to be expended fairly quickly is first field dressings (probably closely followed by hundreds of thousands or millions of our troops).

    As the accountants have decided that it's cheaper to have the dressings made in China, I expect that they also decided that it would be cheaper not to have money tied up in the huge stock of dressings needed to deal with a full-on war with China.

    As we've been strenuously exporting our manufacturing to China for the past couple of decades under the guidance of the genius accountants who know no policy but profit, I wouldn't be surprised if we don't have the capacity to manufacture our own dressings any more.

    I have the good fortune to live in a great country run by professional ****wits who couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery.

    (P.S. My son asked me if I wanted to give him some money to pay for better kit. No, said I, we spent most of our modest pay as reserves on doing that and it seems nothing has changed, so get used to paying for the privilege of defending your country. The only difference is that when I was in China was behind our enemies in Vietnam and now China is supplying your kit.)
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 03-02-2011 at 05:46 AM.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Someone should be gaoled (preferably shot) over this incompetence

    A few years back the US Army made the mistake of adopting a beret as standard head hear (a mistake for the Army for many reasons). Some reporter found that the berets were to be made in China!

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    Default Re: Someone should be gaoled (preferably shot) over this incompetence

    Quote Originally Posted by muscogeemike View Post
    A few years back the US Army made the mistake of adopting a beret as standard head hear (a mistake for the Army for many reasons).
    Same here, but in the opposite direction. http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/show...cer&highlight=
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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