CANBERRA, July 13 (Xinhua) – Australia's new attack-class submarines could be "obsolete" before they hit the water, defense experts have warned.
A report written by Derek Woolner and David Glynne Jones has found that the government’s 50 billion Australian dollar (35.1 billion U.S. dollar) bid to produce a “regionally superior” submarine through the Future Submarines Program is unlikely to achieve its goal.
"By the time HMAS Attack (the first of the new submarines) hits the water in the early 2030s, it's going to be obsolete," Woolner, a former public servant who did early work on the program, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Saturday.
He said that the Department of Defense must work on cutting-edge lithium-ion battery technology to future-proof the new fleet.
"A number of countries in the region are already proceeding to build boats around lithium-ion batteries that promise something like five to six times the submerged stealthy performance and a great deal more high-speed performance than you can get from a lead-acid battery submarine,” Woolner said.
"I would like to see the Defense Force invest in this at a very early stage, to overcome the obsolescence problem that's going to face the Future Submarine before it even gets into naval service."
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in 2016 announced that French company DCNS, now known as Naval Group, had been awarded the contract to build 12 new submarines for Australia.
DCNS beat out rival bids from German company TKMS and the Japanese government.
Tony Abbott, Turnbull’s predecessor, said at an event earlier in July that failing to secure a deal with Japan for the submarines was the biggest regret from his office time.
Responding to the report, a spokesperson for the defense told the ABC that lithium-ion batteries have not yet been fully proven at sea.