With $90 billion worth of naval shipbuilding programs, the Royal Australian Navy and naval shipbuilding industry would appear to be in an enviable position, however, the long-lead time on key programs and ramp up in delivery poses challenges for industry. Meanwhile, changing regional dynamics present increased tactical and strategic challenges – does an increased buy of the Hobart Class provide an answer?
As a maritime nation, Australia is dependent on unlimited access to the ocean – as the regional paradigm changes, there is greater strain on the Navy to protect the national interests and naval assets like the Canberra Class amphibious warfare ships, combined with concerns about the continuity of Australia's sovereign naval shipbuilding industry in between major programs.
Now, for the first time in the nation's history, Australia's prosperity, security and way of life is intrinsically linked to the ambition, stability and direction of its Indo-Pacific neighbours. Guaranteeing this requires the nation to find a balance between the expeditionary and interventionist focused 'Forward Defence' and the continental defence focused 'Defence of Australia' doctrines to counter the high and low intensity threats to the nation's security and interests.