SingaporeIt’s been a busy week in Canberra for the media – first, we had a National Press Club address by Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy. This was followed by businessman Robert Nioa launching a report titled: “ Developing Australia’s Defence Industrial Base” which details eight recommendations to the Department of Defence and the Australian Government about how to grow sovereign capabilities. The chances of it being accepted are not good because the Government – and Defence – believe they are doing a wonderful job and aren’t interested in any views to the contrary.

Then we have another FMS purchase worth $3 billion for nuclear-powered submarine support services – but is the timing right? Finally the story of how a RAN officer tried to destroy the Collins submarine program – and rather than being shot was rewarded with promotions and medals.

To listen to the podcast, click here.

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Kym Bergmann is the editor for Asia Pacific Defence Reporter (APDR) and Defence Review Asia (DRA). He has more than 25 years of experience in journalism and the defence industry. After graduating with honours from the Australian National University, he joined Capital 7 television, holding several positions including foreign news editor and chief political correspondent. During that time he also wrote for Business Review Weekly, undertaking analysis of various defence matters.After two years on the staff of a federal minister, he moved to the defence industry and held senior positions in several companies, including Blohm+Voss, Thales, Celsius and Saab. In 1997 he was one of two Australians selected for the Thomson CSF 'Preparation for Senior Management' MBA course. He has also worked as a consultant for a number of companies including Raytheon, Tenix and others. He has served on the boards of Thomson Sintra Pacific and Saab Pacific.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for an interesting and eye opening Podcast. I remember the Collins fiasco quite well and though there were whispers about the leak, no source was ever mentioned but we were all aware it would have come from high up and the fact there was no punishment handed out it makes you wonder what else did the source have knowledge of.Their were a lot of things ( Questionable?) that caused a lot of problems but Kockums was not to blame for any of them, the biggest problem was, we had never built a Submarine before and the powers that be,refused to listen to anybody that questioned what they thought was the right way to go about it. Simple things like using nonspecified fittings or materials that they were assured would work by the manufacturer. I could go on but your probably more aware of them than I am. The information about why we’re buying SURTAS is indicative of the Government (Both Sides) caving into U.S. bullying. When will our Governments realise that the U.S. needs us as much as we need them. I’m not suggesting pulling the plug on ANZUS by any means but a little bit of “ Well,we’re sorry you feel that way but it’s not in our best interests to do it that way “ wouldn’t go astray. Thank you again for an interesting Podcast, ( and providing a forum for discussion)

    • Thanks Michael – as indicated, I have a bit more to say about the history of the Collins program. I see disturbing parallels between what happened then and some other more recent Defence howlers – the ridiculous early retirement of Tiger and Taipan helicopters spring to mind. We contract for a cutting edge non-US product and then completely mismanage the project with Defence, politicians and the media conditioned to blame the equipment and its manufacturer. This then leads to buyer’s regret and a reflexive “solution” to instead purchase (in the case of helicopters) an expensive yet under performing replacement from the Americans.

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