I’ve been waiting to post this news item for a few days. With Australia’s own Tim Blair linking to us today, I guess now’s the time:
Austraila will build the world’s most lethal conventional submarine fleet, capable of carrying long-range cruise missiles and futuristic midget-subs, to combat an expected arms race in the region.
New Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon has ordered planning to begin on the next generation of submarines to replace the Royal Australian Navy’s Collins-class fleet with the aim of gaining “first pass” approval for the design phase from cabinet’s National Security Committee in 2011.
The 17-year project will be the largest, longest and most expensive defence acquisition since Federation, potentially costing up to $25 billion.
It comes at a time when regional navies such as Indonesia’s, China’s and India’s are seeking to drastically expand their submarine fleets, potentially altering the balance of naval power in the region.
As our long-time readers know, I served in the Silent Service back in the ’80s. (Remember when the Soviet Union collapsed? That was me. You’re welcome.)
Obviously, U.S. subs were liquor-free, but I heard that the Aussies had no such policy. Allegedly, their submariners would fill the torpedo tubes with cans of Foster’s lager, then flood the tubes with the cold ocean water. Not the best for military readiness, but wonderful for morale.
The day that an Australian battle group pulled into Pearl Harbor was especially memorable. They arrived at about 10 a.m. Three hours later, a red-faced, plastered Aussie submariner stumbled across an empty field to my barracks’ back window, yelling, “WHEH’S BEEMAN CENTA?!”
Utterly confused, I asked him to repeat his urgent request. “WHEH’S! BEEMAN! CENTA?!” he shouted, this time with lots of spittle. I finally determined he was asking where the enlisted club (Beeman’s Center) was located so he could procure additional adult beverages.
Not wanting to abet the already drunk, I tried to redirect him with small talk. “So, it looks like you’ve been drinking. How much have you had?”
After a few seconds seemingly counting pints in his mind, he spit out, “BBBB-BUCKETS!”
“WHEH’S BEEMAN CENTA?!!!”
At this point, he was livid, so I just pointed to the general direction of the club. Not coincidentally, it was the same direction as the base police station.
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December 30th, 2007 by admindude