Thales Australia, the University of Tasmania, Australian Maritime College and AMOG Consulting today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to investigate the establishment of a new state-of-the-art trials and test facility for submarine and surface-ship sonar systems.
FILE PHOTO (2006): Leading Seaman Accoustic Warfare Analyst Underwater Controller 2nd in charge (LSAWA U/C2) Andrew Hume at a sonar console on HMAS Farncomb. Photo by Able Seaman Lincoln Commane.
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said potential locations being investigated for the facility were located in the federal seat of Braddon and would create jobs and develop world-leading expertise for the region.
It just so happens there’s a federal by-election in the seat of Braddon in just 10 days time – a seat that was won by Labor from the Liberals at the last election. The recent Labor member, Justine Keay, resigned earlier this year amidst the dual-citizenship debacle, and is re-contesting the seat against the former Liberal member Brett Whiteley.
“This initiative further demonstrates the Turnbull Government’s investment in shipbuilding capability and sustainment is a truly national enterprise,” Minister Pyne said.
“Sonar systems are the eyes and ears of our submarines and ships and are key to giving them the edge they need.
“The Collins-class sonar upgrade program is boosting defence industry confidence around Australia.
“Contributions to Australia’s military capability from our defence industry come from all around the country and are not confined to our big cities.
“Congratulations to everyone involved in delivering this great opportunity for the region.
“Initiatives like this help build Australia’s capability to deliver the Turnbull Government’s Naval Shipbuilding Plan.
“Thales Australia advises the use of Tasmania’s deep, cold and acoustically quiet lakes for the proposed acoustic testing capability could enable sonar systems, including those currently delivered by Thales to be tested to new levels of accuracy,” Minister Pyne said.
EDITOR’s NOTE: CONTACT has no knowledge or expertise on this topic and is in no way suggesting that Tasmania’s deep, cold and acoustically quiet lakes are not suitable for this project. However, we find this announcement to be in very poor form – but not at all shocking or surprising – that the Minister for Defence Industry would issue a press release on this topic deliberately and blatantly leading with a statement on jobs and development in a currently contested Federal electorate in which the government needs a swing in their favour to take back. Far too many defence-industry/defence-spending announcement are used first and foremost as party-political statements on governmental hubris, with talk or explanation of the specific defence capability taking a very secondary role.