(Image: Private Media)

Is Australia about to make another disastrous decision around its submarine fleet?

In 2016, the Turnbull government made a poor decision to contract France's Naval Group to build a new generation of submarines here in Australia -- reflecting the fusing of industry policy with defence policy. Last year, the Morrison government made a radically worse decision, throwing the Naval Group contract out at a cost of at least $4 billion and starting over with a study of nuclear submarines that probably wouldn't be built here and not arrive until the 2040s and 2050s -- if then.

Peter Dutton now claims the Americans would simply sell us two new Virginia-class nuclear submarines, complete with submariners to crew them, before 2030 to address the massive gap between the end of the lifespan of the existing Collins-class fleet and the arrival of the new boats.