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$200m blowout for too-heavy torpedoes.

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Senator Chris Evans Labor Senator for Western Australia Shadow Minister for Defence

27 November 2002


The Howard Government’s political interference in the tender contract for new torpedoes for the Collins Class Submarines is now set to cost taxpayers close to half a billion dollars, the Defence Department has revealed.

The cost of the new torpedoes that are too heavy for our submarines has blown out from $250 million to at least $450 million, and may compromise our submarine capability.

In July last year, the Howard Government abandoned the tender process, which specified a price of between $200 million and $250 million, instead choosing a US torpedo to replace our existing weapons.

Defence has confirmed that taxpayers will now being paying more than $450 million for the new torpedoes as a result.

Defence has revealed that the extra funding for the new torpedoes will be diverted from a project intended to provide upgrades to the systems in the Collins class submarine.

In the future, this could see our submarines with outdated systems that compromise the long-term capability of the fleet.

A study into how the new torpedoes will fit inside our submarines is still underway, 18 months after the Government decided to buy them.

As with the Seasprite helicopters, the Government has agreed to pay $450 million for torpedoes that are still under development and may be years away from delivery.

The $450 million price tag is the minimum we will pay for the torpedoes and assumes no escalation in price over the next five to six years before they enter service.

For comment: Chris Evans 0419 983 593 Tim Friedrich 0408 577 617