OPINION: Advantages of nuclear submarines


DEAR News Of The Area,

AS an ex-Royal Navy nuclear submariner I would like to comment on Mr Newcombe’s letter (‘Submarines unnecessary for Australia’, p29, NOTA 22 October Edition).

Yes, there is a radiation hazard.

Between 1963 and 2003 eight nuclear submarines have accidentally sunk, with varying levels of leakage.

There is, however, no leakage during normal operations from the Western submarines.

I can’t talk for Russia, India and China.

I’m not sure what point is being made about aircraft. There is no aircraft in existence that can come anywhere close to a nuclear submarine’s capabilities.

And aircraft can easily be detected and shot down. Submarines can not easily be detected or destroyed.

A nuclear submarine can operate anywhere in the world in water that is contiguous to the world’s oceans and is about 150 metres deep.

They can cruise at 35 knots (perhaps slow compared to a Super V8 car but not to other ships) and their endurance is only limited by the amount of food carried and how long the crew can take being closed up.

Does Australia need them?

That’s ultimately a question for the Government and developing the infrastructure in Australia to support nuclear powered vessels will be an enormous task. However, don’t forget that Australia is an island.

If you want to protect our coastline and sea lanes there is no better option.

In my experience in all scenarios a nuclear submarine always has the advantage.


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