Like submarines, have the Tiger and NH90 helicopters been the subject of an unjustified smear campaign in Australia?

Ahead of the spectacular announcement of the cancellation of the Attack-class Shortfin Barracuda submarine program designed by Naval Group for the Royal Australian Navy, in order to replace them with American-British nuclear-powered attack submarines as part of the creation of the new AUKUS alliance, the program like Naval Group had been the subject of an intense denigration campaign in the press, in the armed forces and in the Australian Parliament.

As we echoed then, the criticisms then repeated over and over again by the tabloids and even in the traditional press, also widely taken up without contradiction by Australian parliamentarians, were based on irrational and often false information, or completely taken out of context.

Thus, when the unilateral cancellation of the program was made public in favor of a very risky, very poorly calibrated nuclear solution, the vast majority of Australian public opinion supported the measure, as they were then convinced of the difficulties involved. most often fantasized encountered by this program.

However, one question remained unanswered until the cancellation of the contract by the Australian Prime Minister at the time, Scott Morrison: Why did Naval Group not defend itself in the face of this campaign visibly orchestrated against it and its program. The answer came once the end-of-contract negotiations were completed.

Indeed, contractually, the French industrialist simply did not have the possibility of communicating to the media about the program, this prerogative falling to the government and, to a lesser extent, to the Royal Australian Navy.

Since then, it has emerged that most of the accusations surrounding the program, particularly in terms of failure to meet deadlines or budget, were completely false, and sometimes even completely fanciful.

Unfortunately for Naval Group, the damage was done, even if the new prime minister Anthony Albanese did everything to normalize relations with Paris, in particular by agreeing to pay all contractual compensation for early termination of contract to Naval Group and its partners.

Naval Group's 12 shortfin barruda for the Australian Navy will change the balance of power in the Pacific Defense Contracts and Calls for Tenders | Defense Analysis | Australia
Naval Group was to build 12 conventionally-powered ocean-going Shortfin barracuda submarines for the Royal Australian Navy, before the program was canceled by PL Scott Morrison in September 2021 to turn to US-UK SSNs.

However, it seems that the case of French submarines in Australia was not isolated. Indeed, in a vitriolic article published by Australian journalist Kym Bergmann, it appears that the Tiger and NH90 Taipan helicopters in service with the Australian Army have also been the subject of a denigration campaign in the media, but also in the Australian political class, so as to allow Canberra to announce its early withdrawal for 2025, and to instead order 29 American Boeing AH-64E Guardian attack helicopters and 40 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk maneuvering helicopters.

And as was the case for Naval Group's Shortfin Barracudas, these helicopters have been the subject of often false declarations, such as with regard to availability when it reaches 70%, more than most aerial platforms. Australians, or in terms of costs, with published values ​​of costs per flight hour ($40 Australian) unrelated to reality, without any denial being published by the General Staff or the Ministry of Defense. Australian Defense.


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