Will there be a new building cost diagram tomorrow. The diagram above is courtesy The Daily Telegraph August 20, 2015. Note this is based on Defence Teaming Australia advice in mid August 2015, under the Abbott Government. The Turnbull Government's plans appear to be little different.
The Australian Government has indicated that the 2016 Defence White Paper is to be released tomorrow, Thursday, February 25, 2016.
The Government has pre-briefed members of major Australian newspapers including the Australian and Sydney Morning Herald on the White Paper's broad contents.
Today Brendan Nicholson, Defence Editor of the The Australian indicated in part:
...the Royal Australian Navy’s submarine fleet will be increased from six to 12, laying to rest fears the long-standing pledge would not be fulfilled.
… It will take 10 years to commission the promised new warships, including nine [Future] frigates and a number of offshore patrol vessels that will be bigger than the existing patrols boats and have more crew members. The two [Canberra Class LHDs] already in operation are bigger than the navy’s past aircraft carriers.
… The decision on whether the new submarines will be based on a Japanese, French or German design is not expected until mid-year.
As revealed by The Australian yesterday, the centrepiece of the new defence blueprint will be a multi-billion-dollar plan to expand and modernise the navy and to save the shipbuilding industry...[much more on continuous shipbuilding]”
Late yesterday the Sydney Morning Herald reported in part:
The Turnbull Government’s “promises included new planes, an upgrade to the Army's Steyr rifle, new offshore combatant vessels, new frigates, a new grenade launcher, a replacement armoured vehicle fleet and initial work on the new fleet of 12 submarines.
"The [submarine] design work is going to cost a pretty penny," Dr Thomson said."You add to that the Joint Strike Fighter, the P-8 [surveillance aircraft], there's a very sizeable investment budget out there that is going to help them … ramp up towards the 2 per cent."
So the 2016 Government announcement is for 12 new submarines.
However previous announcements (for the Oberons and Collins) have led to reduced numbers of submarines over time. We’ll probably only know in 2035 – at the end of the submarine build program how many were built. Two decades is a long time in politics and a need for a batch of SSNs to face China may come along.
It is difficult to assess whether the 12 submarines intention will favour Japan, TKMS or DCNS?