Friday, February 01, 2008

Aussies building missile catamarans for China

This is very distressing news, from Yahoo Finance:

An Australian company is working directly with the Chinese navy to
develop catamarans capable of firing missiles, an international policy institute
The company, AMD Marine Consulting, is a naval architectural and
marine engineering consulting firm based in Sydney, which develops catamaran
designs for ferries, utility vessels and patrol boats.

China's admirals,
recognising that these hulls allow for speeds of up to 36 knots and a more
stable platform for firing weapons, came calling," The Interpreter said.
"They were not turned away and Type 022s are now being turned out regularly,
with possibly 30 of them built so far."
The Interpreter's editor Sam
Roggeveen, a former senior strategic analyst in the Office of National
Assessments - Australia's peak intelligence agency - says the Chinese vessels
could pose a threat to the Australian navy in the event of a conflict,
especially over Taiwan.
"Essentially these ships are designed to sink other
ships," Mr Roggeveen told ABC Radio.

America has increasingly fallen behind in this warship race, which is an off-the-shelf, next generation warship, fairly inexpensive at about $50 million each sans weapons and other equipment. The first such fast catamarans were used by the Australian Navy in the East Timor crisis, and later by the USN in 2003 during the invasion of Iraq. The success and economy of these fast warships have been quickly forgotten by the Navy as they attempt their own such vessels built from scratch, the controversial littoral combat ship program.

Buying such craft from the company "as is" the US Fleet could at least have a squadron already in service. Instead they are enamored with untried technology and extended building programs which fail to work properly when they finally are completed.