Exail.comJust back from the Singapore air show, we have a few thoughts about the structure of defence industries – but the main topic is the government’s response to the review of the RAN surface fleet. There are some worthwhile developments, but how long will all of this take?

What we are witnessing is 20 years of very poor planning because the Hobart class should have been in continuous production in 3-ship batches with new technology insertion. Luerssen have been shafted because they simply produced the Arafura class in a configuration specified by the RAN.

The cover-up regarding the disposal of Taipan helicopters is continuing, but at least we have a public inquiry into the fatal Talisman Sabre crash.

It might be that Ministers are finally waking up to the fact that the situation is by no means as simple as they might have been led to believe.

Finally: the Taipan Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters – either donate them to Ukraine or start converting them for uncrewed operations working in conjunction with the future Apache attack helicopter fleet.

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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.


  1. Apache mounted ‘Spike Non Line Of Sight’ (NLOS) missiles are delivering precision strikes (including maritime) from safe stand-off distances as far as 32km. Potential game changer in Ukraine, imagine what they could do with a squadron of these flying missile trucks…



  2. Looking forward to the report on The Apache, I’m not a fan of this purchase or the Helicopter in general. Replacing the Tiger is as unwarranted as the Taipans fiasco and smacks of the “U.S. needs to get rid of old equipment, let’s sell it to the mugs down under”. So if a reasonable justification can be explained I’m willing to listen. As for the Fleet Review, more of the same , “ In next decade (or two or three) something will get done” and was any consideration given to how we intend to man these big ships and better still support them at sea . Meanwhile , piece by piece China expands into our backyard and steals the Neighbor’s goodwill simply by doing something now and not promising to do something in ten years. Instead of reviewing the ADF review the DoD and the Minister responsible, fat to long is taken to make relatively obvious choices. Due diligence must be done when assessing Equipment but if the need is urgent , you don’t consider a Buying a Cow if you need Horse.


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