Exail.comIn this episode we have a bit more to say about the ridiculous levels of secrecy surrounding military projects in this country. In comparison, the US tries to be helpful, as evidenced by a couple of recent visits, including by Lieutenant General Steven Sklenka from the Marine Corps. Also a look at the recently passed Securing Australia’s Military Secrets (SAMS) legislation, which is obviously written by lawyers who don’t know what they are doing. No wonder so few people want to join the ADF.

And another Kingo Hotel Friday lunchtime rumour: the project to equip Australia’s armoured vehicles with active protection systems has been scrapped because of budget issues. The General Purpose Frigate goat rodeo continues – and maybe it’s time for some of the individuals involved in this farce to return their exorbitant consulting fees to the government.

To listen to the podcast, click here.


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Kym Bergmann
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. Not sure if you can comment on this one Kym but there was an article in the AFR this morning along the lines of: Shipbuilders have been given three weeks to outline their opening pitch for the navy’s new $10 billion frigate project, triggering criticism the government risks rushing a selection amid a shroud of secrecy.

    An “approach to market” requesting information for the general purpose frigate was sent to five foreign shipbuilders on Friday.

    Any thoughts as it seems like another disaster in the making.

    • The AFR is correct – I had recorded the podcast yesterday. For companies to be given a 3 week response time is beyond ridiculous. There’s no way anyone can compile a detailed response in that time and I don’t see how they can possible make a selection decision for an $11 billion contract based on that.

  2. It’s my opinion ( and the recent 3wk time line seems to validate it) that the decision has already been made to go with the Constellation Class and utilise the U.S. supply train. This ticks a lot of the boxes the Navy wants ( toys just like their best mates) the Government wants ( appease the U.S. at all costs) . This is not to say the Fincantieri is a bad design but is it best for Australia. I read an article by Michael Shoebridge that put up some interesting points ( I’m sure you know the one). Acquisitions are should be made with the What’s best for Australia in the overall scheme of things. A strong alliance with the U.S. is a good place to be ( a very good place to be ) but not to the expense of servitude ( I’ve always held the view that they need us as much as we need them )

    • That’s as good a theory as any. I have no idea what is going on and since Navy /Defence now make these decisions behind closed doors there’s never any opportunity for debate, input or even a basic sanity check.

    • From Breaking Defence.
      “Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro previously confirmed the new frigate program was on track for a three-year delay — the lead ship was initially scheduled to deliver in 2026, but auditors say that goal is now virtually unachievable. However, Del Toro’s shipbuilding review did not provide in-depth details on the cause for the program’s problems.”
      Looks like the US are looking at a 3 year delay in delivery of their first Constellation so where would that put us?

  3. Normally I would say that as the Constellation class is not short listed for consideration it would not be an option. Given the secrecy around all things defence at the moment the Government is just as likely to mandate their procurement out of left field without discussion.

    Given HHI’s capacity for building ships quickly and efficiently I still believe that the “Flight 3” is the best option under the circumstances. The capacity to incorporate RAN requirements in a timely manner seems to be something that they are more than capable of doing.

    Waiting eagerly to see the outcome of the 3 week exercise.

  4. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-05-31/unprecedented-corrosion-discovered-on-collins-class-submarine/103919164

    and just like that Australia’s geriatric Collins fleet is cut to 1 (based on the law of 3’s) by peacetime attrition.Yet the powers that be insist we believe $368bn for a mixed bag of just 8 SSN by the late 2050s, will help deter a high intensity regional conflict with the world’s largest navy, whose leader broadcasts his intent to be ready to unleash such conflict by 2027. Anyone else feel like they’re drowning in this taxpayer funded tsunami of absurdity/corruption, or is it just me ?


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