SUBMARINE FLEET SUNK
Many years ago when I was about to nominate my U.S. Navy duty preference there were essentially three choices: submarines; aircraft carriers; and surface combatants.
The surface navy, that is, destroyers, was the choice for those aspiring to be directly involved in sailing the seven seas.
Those desiring to enhance their promotional prospects had to choose between submarines and aircraft carriers. Naval aviation types presented submarines as "death tubes". Submariners countered with a very effective campaign showing an aircraft carrier with superimposed cross-hairs captioned, "Which end of the periscope would you rather be on?"
Over 25 years on the Royal Australian Navy has no such duty-selection dilemma: it has no naval aviation assets and its submarine force is diminished to the point of near irrelevance with only two of six vessels deployable:
Former senior defence official Alan Behm says the shortage puts the Australian Navy at a disadvantage should Australia go to war.If any nation more capable than New Zealand attacks, we're screwed.
"If it were serious ocean warfare though, we would be in a pretty poor position," he said.