THERE are many important messages that make up the rich, multilayered fabric of Super Awesome Mega Battle Tank, but if I was to pick the one I would like everyone to focus on, to think about, to ponder, and then act upon, it is to never EVER buy Australian military hardware. Ever ever ever ever. (OK, because I am a reasonable person, I will temper this rant by saying their Bushmaster armoured vehicle may be all right. I only write of that which I know.)
Anyway, here is why NZ should never again buy Australian bang bang shooty stuff, either from their own companies now, or from Australian Robotic Service Enterprises in the future.
It’s always too expensive.
It never works properly.
It breaks down.
It’s always late, and
It’s MADE BY AUSTRALIANS. (The only buggers I would be less inclined to buy high-tech military hardware from would be New Zealand.)
Evidence: Collins Class Submarines. Proof is below.
Evidence: Anzac Frigates. Proof is below.
Evidence: Steyr rifles. Proof. Cracks appeared within a year of being received by the NZ Defence Forces. Number of problems firing with safety on. Know how I know this? Because when I worked for NZ’s Army News, the engineers from Trenthan wanted an article about spotting the cracks and getting the rifles sent back for remedial work. I asked aguy from the Australian company about this, and within five minutes he was in damage control talks with a colonel about making sure the story didn’t look too damaging. They were designed by Austrians, which is acceptable. How the A and the L got into the final manufacturing deal is beyond me.
But don’t take my word about the submarines and frigates.
Here is something from the pages of The Dominion Post, June 1, 2010.
Defence spokesman Phil Bradshaw said a water seal in the port engine leaked, and the starboard engine’s control system developed an intermittent fault so the ship was diverted to Sydney. Technicians from engine manufacturer MAN were working with the ship’s engineers.
Defence Minister Wayne Mapp said the breakdown was “a bit unfortunate but it is in the realms of teething problems”. Repairs would be done under warranty.
The two 1500-tonne ice- strengthened offshore patrol ships, which cost $110m each, were to have been delivered two years ago but were held up in Melbourne pending the resolution of protracted contract wrangles with shipbuilding contractor BAE Systems. These were resolved when BAE agreed to pay $85m to settle all outstanding warranty claims on the seven-ship fleet.
(It carries on, but you get the gist.)
Now, the other thing is the Collins Class Submarines. They have been a nightmare. Over budget, as with all Aussie military projects, late, under-staffed, noisy, and their combat systems laughable.
Here is a graphic from Adelaide’s The Advertiser (May 24, 2010) showing the current state of play.
Your Honour, I rest my case.