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Australian procurement issues


Army.ca Myth
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Two articles. I've been following Aussie news for quite a while now, and I've noticed a marked change in willingness to publicly talk about issues like this since about 2016.

I remember the articles in NaPo, etc about why we should be like the Australians in our procurement - turns out they're not perfect either.

Significant problems are emerging on Australia's $4 billion offshore patrol vessel (OPVs) project as new government analysis reveals numerous other program delays that are placing surging cost pressures on the Defence budget.

Key points:​

  • "Seaworthiness" concerns have emerged on the first completed Arafura-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV)
  • The government is yet to comment publicly on the delays and problems on the OPV project
  • At least 28 major Defence projects are running a cumulative 97 years late

The ABC can reveal the Albanese government is increasingly concerned with progress on the German-designed OPVs, including doubts about whether they will be adequately armed for the increasingly contested region they will be operating in...

For the first time since the decision, the OPV project has been included on a list of at least 28 major defence projects considered to be running a cumulative 97 years late.

Other projects facing schedule delays are the Hunter Class Frigates, Battlefield Airlifters, Evolved Cape Class Patrol Boats, P-8A Poseidon aircraft, the Battlefield Command System and a series of Defence Satellite Communications projects...

"It's late, has next-to-no armament, a helicopter platform that is not strong enough for helicopters, it isn't seaworthy and there are safety standard issues," one figure familiar with defence department deliberations has told the ABC.

Second article. An interesting point is that since the USAF doesn't fly the C-27J anymore, the RAAF fleet is an orphan fleet. This is the same aircraft that competed (and lost) against the C-295 for FWSAR - if the C-27J won, it would have just been RAAF and RCAF flying them.

Labor has highlighted the Spartan’s inability to land on battlefields as an example of mismanagement of Defence projects by the previous Liberal Federal Government.

The Albanese Government said it found that at least 28 projects are behind schedule by a cumulative 97 years, while 18 were also over budget.

It claimed the blowout in costs reached $6.5 billion and pledged a raft of reforms to stop future complications.

Australia currently has 10 Spartans operated by No. 35 Squadron from RAAF Base Amberley, which now focuses on peacetime operations such as search and rescue and aeromedical operations.

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Aussies have some really interesting things they do around 'relational contracting' with big contracts that we're learning from. I also like who they have actual standard RFP templates that they can use for plug and play (vice random preferences from individual procurement teams).
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Interesting comment on Reddit about it:

Has anyone really figured out how to accurately assess "value for money" in the context of military capability? There was most likely extensive technical analysis of each bid, so no doubt there will be some interesting perspectives on this.

I would have thought that the RAN and RCN programs will both be waiting on the results of seas trials for the first Type 26 before finalising design work.
Word of the Millenium


Its not just Canada, or the Aussies, the Brits or the Yanks that are facing this. Its every country in Europe and arguably the Chinese and the Russians as well.

The biggest innovators on the planet are the sub-state actors.

Drug runners with semi-submersibles. Terrorists with home made missiles. Ukrainian volunteers Mad-Maxing everything.

Multi-Decade Mega Billion projects are not going to get the job done.

Small, simple, cheap, modular has to be the way of the future.


How much autonomous intelligence can you pack into that?

How about this?


How many Quadcon modules could be carried aboard?
How expensive does the hull have to be if there is no one aboard?
And how easy would it be to swap out modules to add new capabilities or updated software?

The USCG has also grounded their fleet of C-27Js for the same reason.

This was also the airframe that won, but then lost, to the CC-295 for FWSAR.
The RAAF’s C-27J are currently flying army support exercises, so their role is more expansive than humanitarian and regional assistance.

huge changes
3 Hobarts upgraded
6 Hunters
11 smaller GP frigates- offshored?
6 optionally crewed vessels
OPV halved to 6
25 evolved cape class
Japanese GP Frigate in the running

Austal Optionally Crewed Ships

Key element in Aussie procurement - local missile production