FEATURE | Is this the near future of Australian naval shipbuilding?

This is an exciting time for Australian naval shipbuilding. Two patrol vessel programs are underway, the Anzac-class frigate midlife capability assurance program (AMCAP) is completing the first of eight ships, and Hunter-class future frigates are to start construction in 2020, running into the 2030s for nine frigates. The air warfare destroyers are joining the fleet, while in the submarine world both the Collins-class life extension and the Shortfin Barracuda projects are generating a lot of commentary but no construction contracts yet.

FEATURE | Don’t miss the forest for the trees – value for money from continuous shipbuilding in Australia (Part 1)

In the midst of the discussion about the Royal Australian Navy’s future frigate and submarine programs, it’s important to acknowledge the significance of their continuous nature and to remember that they have design and building elements. While the qualities of the Hunter-class frigates and Attack-class submarines are significant in and of themselves, they must be understood as part of an overall national endeavour.

FEATURE | Renewed Mediterranean migration crisis threatens

Since 2014, more than 1.5 million irregular migrants (IM) have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe from North Africa, by means of small boats, thereby earning migration racketeers a great deal of money. Around 18,000 IMs have probably died making the trip, mainly due to the foundering of the fragile and overcrowded vessels used.

FEATURE | Taiwan submarine project breaks surface

Taiwan’s Republic of China Navy (ROCN) is, for the most part, a balanced and well-equipped force, but the service currently operates just four submarines, namely two Netherlands-built 1980s-vintage Swordfish-class boats, and a pair of 70 year-old ex-US Navy Guppy types. The Guppys are used solely for training purposes.

FEATURE | UK-US naval exercises in the disputed South China Sea

Mid-January saw the latest manifestation of the Washington-driven policy of internationalising the dispute over the sovereignty of the South China Sea (SCS), much of which is claimed by the People’s Republic of China, when the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyer McCampbell, and the Type 23 frigate Argyll of the UK Royal Navy (RN) carried out joint exercises there.

FEATURE | Improving maritime security in the Asia–Pacific

Over recent years, the Asia–Pacific maritime security environment has become increasingly complex. Transnational serious and organised crime in the maritime domain (including illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; piracy; and trafficking of weapons, drugs and people), terrorism and an increasingly assertive Chinese maritime strategy are generating further complexity.

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