Weapons: A guest post by John Burnheim

Australia is doing its bit to ensure that there will be a third world war and that it will be a nuclear war. The claim that the U-boats are merely nuclear propelled, not nuclear armed, is a gross deception. One of the key features of nuclear subs is that they can launch and control rockets capable of carrying nuclear bombs. In a war nobody is going to believe that those rockets will not be used to do what they were built to do.

The United States has always refused to claim that it won’t be the first to use nuclear bombs. If the US believes it can shoot down China’s rockets, it will be strongly tempted to strike first to assure the freedom of Taiwan. Is it credible that Australia is not going to do the bidding of the US in a war situation?

It is inconceivable that China and the US could invade the other or bring the other down by conventional warfare. The only effective tactics in their war will be to destroy the other’s communications, probably by nuclear means.

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6 Responses to Weapons: A guest post by John Burnheim

  1. conrad says:

    Given the submarines are coming in 20 years, and given it seems reasonable to assume there are any number of nuclear weapons in space, hidden on land etc., I find it hard to see how the submarines contribute in any meaningful way to the likelihood of such a war. If we wanted to eliminate each other with such weapons, a few more floating around won’t much difference, especially in submarines that could be tracked and destroyed comparatively easily.

    I also find it hard to imagine the US would do much militarily if China took Taiwan in what presumably would be done very quickly — Indeed, I can’t see why China couldn’t take over them tomorrow if they really wanted to. Even in recent times, the US has lost in Afghanistan, to the Russians, in Syria after selling out and presumably making enemies of the Kurds, and may as well have lost in Iraq given the outcome. I assume part of this is because they don’t want to hang around too long and they are certainly not willing to take large numbers of casualties, unlike the PLA (just think of Korea here).

  2. Lt.Fred says:

    Hunter-killer submarines do not typically carry nuclear weapons (and ours will not). They may well take part in nuclear war in a different, no less direct role, though. SSBN submarines – missile subs, think the Typhoon class in Hunt for the Red October – sail very quietly around the ocean waiting for the balloons to go up to be told to blow up the world*. But to do that they need to be undetected because they can’t fire missiles instantly upon getting an order (they need to be close to the surface, the gear takes a minute to warm up, etc). SSN subs like the Virginia class we’re buying are primarily designed to keep them under detection constantly so that in case of nuclear war the SSBN subs could be torpedoed before they could get off the nukes. SSNs can also sink surface ships, fire cruise missiles at people’s houses and sneakily transport SAS into places and stuff as well. But the question is, will Australia’s Virginias spend their time the same way America’s Virginias and Britain’s Astutes do, mostly chasing around Chinese and Russian SSBNs all day long? If so, that’s essentially a tasking for nuclear war.

    *The other benefit of an undetected SSBN is that they can fire so close their nukes can’t be detected on radar. You can imagine the usefulness of that type of first strike weapon; you knock out all their silos and air bases and stuff before they even know you’ve fired a shot.

  3. Harry Clarke says:

    There isn’t much thinking in many blog posts but this hits a low. There are many international moves toward restoring some balance towards an increasingly aggressive China. It isn’t just the US-UK and Australia but NE Asian Countries as well, European countries and even the subcontinent who recognise and are fearful about what is happening in China. Moreover, it isn’t only Taiwan and the South China Sea.

    A few sweeping generalizations based on very little analysis of the global situation does not help. This is one of the most significant foreign policy moves by Australia in decades and deserves more than a few protest march exaggerations.

  4. derrida derider says:

    The premise of this post is wrong. Cruise missiles can be, and have been, launched through a standard torpedo tube whatever their warhead and whatever the sub’s propulsion method. Nuclear propulsion has nothing to do with it.

    But its not the optimal way to start throwing nukes. For that you need a quite differnt type of sub – a “boomer”. These are really big missile submarines, not a torpedo-firing hunter-killer. Los Angeles (US) or Astute (UK) class, not Virginia (US) or Dreadnought (UK) class. Australia aint buying any of them.

    The really dumb decision was to spend the bulk of our defence budget on big long range subs whose only possible purpose was to fight our major trading partner alongside the yanks in the SCS 5000+km away. Our trading partner is rightly unhappy about it.

    Smaller subs would be FAR more cost effective for points closer to home, and make us far less tied into our Great and Powerful Friend’s fate. The nuclear propulsion bit is actually less significant than it seems – the point is the size (hence range and endurance) of the subs.

    It is arguably in the US’ interest to screw up the tension, even at the risk of war, in order to put down a rival. But it is unarguably in our interest to defuse that tension; putting the rival down would be a disaster for us even without war. Instead we are egging the yanks on – it’s madness.

    • Nicholas Gruen says:

      Thanks DD

      I know bugger all about the technical point you make, but it sounds pretty plausible to me.

      We should, to coin a phrase “defend our island whatever the cost may be”, but maybe not other islands!

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