Sunday 17 Oct 2021 | 22:51 | SYDNEY
Sunday 17 Oct 2021 | 22:51 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: Sons and daughters and missiles


Sam Roggeveen


27 February 2009 14:56

Anton Kuruc writes:

You asked the question re. the air warfare destroyers (AWD): 'How do you sell a capability like that to the electorate?' How about on the basis of the primary purpose for buying the AWD. The AWD Alliance website overview describes its capabilities thus: 'The HOBART Class AWDs will provide air defence for accompanying ships in addition to land forces and infrastructure in proximate coastal areas, and for self-protection against attacking missiles and aircraft. The Aegis Combat System incorporating the state-of-the-art phased array radar, AN/SPY 1D(V), in combination with the SM-2 missile, will provide an advanced air defence system capable of engaging enemy aircraft and missiles at ranges in excess of 150km.'

Maybe it should be ‘sold’ to the electorate on its primary function, which is to stop enemy aircraft and missiles from sinking ships crewed by the husbands, wives, sons and daughters of said electorate.

Agreed, the main purpose of any AWD-based missile defence system would be the protection of accompanying ships, such as troop transports. But that's not the only circumstance in which anti-ballistic missile capability will come in handy. My concern in the earlier post was with a scenario such as the one we might soon face with North Korea and its missile test launch. In that specific scenario, we would be in a position to help defend American territory, but we ourselves would remain completely vulnerable to attack. How would those wives, sons and daughter feel about that?

Also, if protecting accompanying ships is such an urgent priority, how come we have so little capability to protect them from submarine attack? That's surely a bigger threat than ballistic missiles.