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Forward-based enablers for Australia’s submarines: what about leveraging our Indian Ocean territories?

Luke Gosling’s recent Strategist post, mooting Darwin as a forward operating location for Australia’s submarines, sparked a few thoughts.

First and foremost, it is refreshing to see Australian MPs sticking their necks out, thinking strategically and openly engaging in the defence debate, beyond the narrow confines of basing politics and ‘nimbyism’. Gosling’s proposal to make more of Darwin as a regional defence training and engagement hub is also worth considering.

Second, it serves as a reminder that Australia’s future submarine program is not simply behind schedule, with dim prospects for expanding the force beyond six boats until the late 2030s. It also suffers from a curious lack of attention to logistic enablers, such as submarine tenders and designated forward operating locations.

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