Australia is looking hard at China to buy smart mines. This procurement is most likely driven by changing concepts of sea superiority, uncertain prospects for acquiring nuclear submarines under AUKUS, and a renewed interest in having a homegrown mine warfare capability. .
The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported this week. Australia will spend up to $698 million to purchase an unspecified number of smart mines from an unnamed European unmanned weapons supplier. Italy and Spain are the two leading mine producers in Europe.
According to the report, the Australian Department of Defense (DOD) has a high-altitude airship that can be triggered by acoustic, magnetic, and pressure signatures of passing warships and can be turned on and off to allow passage of friendly ships. I plan to purchase a multi-effect submarine mine.
Australia’s Department of Defense said in a statement, “Defense is accelerating its acquisition of smart mines to help secure maritime communications networks and protect Australia’s maritime approaches… , is an important deterrent to potential aggressors.”
Greg Mapson, a retired Australian naval officer and mine warfare expert, noted in an SMH report that mines sank more ships in World War II than all other means combined. and described it as “the most effective weapon system ever deployed in naval warfare.”
“Mine is an incredibly flexible weapons system that provides governments with both offensive and defensive options,” adds Mapson.
He also stressed the psychological effects of mines, stating that “mines can lie in wait on the seafloor for months, are incredibly difficult to locate once laid down, and can be difficult for potential victims to approach.” I’m always waiting for too much,” he said.
The SMH report did not specify how many smart mines Australia plans to purchase, but Mapson said 1,000 units would be the optimal number to deter an adversary. The same report notes that the use of mines is permitted under international law, but floating contact mines are prohibited.
As such, smart mines could be an effective means of enhancing selective sea superiority.Written by James Goldrick In a September 2021 article in The Interpreter Sea superiority is not about controlling the sea, but about using it to the extent necessary to accomplish the necessary movements, including securing the passage of a single ship.
Goldrick emphasizes the reality that Australia cannot defend its territory even in the short term without secure access to external resources, especially oil. Meanwhile, Australia will need to minimize imports of materials by sea.
Goldrick points out that if Australia’s F-35s were not filled with the large amounts of fuel needed to carry out long-range strikes, the country’s northern air bases would be essentially defenseless.
The same strategic logic applies to Australia’s surface fleet and conventional submarines, weakening Australia’s Northern Seaway Communication Line (SLOC).
However, he stresses that Australia can achieve a constant naval presence not only through land-based assets, but also through a complex combination of space, land, airborne and maritime systems.
At the same time, it is not yet clear whether Australia’s plans to acquire nuclear submarines under the AUKUS alliance will come to fruition. September 2022 article in The InterpreterSam Roggeveen, says it’s hard to believe Australia will get a nuclear submarine from the US or UK by the late 2030s.
The Asia Times previously reported On the political, operational and technical issues of trading. For example, if Australia chooses to lease a U.S. Virginia-class nuclear submarine, it will most likely require a U.S. crew to operate it.
That would put the submarines under US control, which may not be acceptable to Australian defense planners. There are no clear terms on the extent of Australia’s needs for nuclear infrastructure.
With Australia’s nuclear submarine program looking to Canberra join the ranks of the world’s leading naval powers by manipulating the apex predator of naval warfare, Roggeveen may be driven more by prestige than practical reasons. I wrote that there is
He said the purchase of U.S. nuclear submarines would deepen the already deep alliance between the two countries, but that Australia would chart an independent course in the future if it disagreed with Washington’s policy direction. He says it will make it difficult.
Roggeveen also stressed the paucity of publicly available information on Australia’s plans to acquire nuclear submarines under AUKUS, noting that the Australian public is clearly skeptical of possessing weapons aimed at China. He emphasizes that it is worth knowing the strategic implications.
The Asia Times previously reported Australia’s mine warfare capabilities reduce its security reliance on the United States and allow it to defend itself when the United States is unwilling or unable to provide assistance.
Mine warfare is currently a neglected capability in both countries’ navies, so acquiring more mines could also close a capability gap in the US-Australia alliance. Additionally, Australia could choose to manufacture its own mines in a move to boost the domestic defense industry.
Acquisition of Australian nuclear submarines under AUKUS may or may not materialize, but improving its mine warfare capabilities will provide a sustained deterrent presence that nuclear submarines provide at a fraction of the cost. will provide the
mapson, In an October 2021 article in The StrategistAustralia needs significant impact and highly encapsulated torpedo mines that can be launched from aircraft, ships and submarines for its deterrence.
Mapson says that apart from defensive mining, unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) can carry out offensive mining operations in enemy ports and waterways.