Saturday, July 24, 2010

Well-Oiled Machines...or Dead Dogs?

There's no doubt we need a military arm, despite the protestations of the peace-love-and-mugbean do-gooders who rip satellite dish covers "for the greater good".
Whatever we ask of the military, its ability to actually perform that role must never be compromised. But, as has been the case for a number of years, Those Who Know Best have done a pretty good job of screwing the Green Machine (and wasting a lot of public money at the same time).
Cool! Let's have a mass armoured cavalry charge with 105 LAVs!The Skyhawk mothballing is a good starting point (for want of anywhere better). Then there was the purchase of LAVs - the army’s light armoured vehicles that arrived five years late, cost $37 million more than planned and had a string of difficulties. Why was it thought we'd ever need 105? And how would we transport them anywhere in a hurry...? Ahhh, the roll-on roll-off (nearly roll-over in rough seas) Charles Upham (such a humiliation to the late great warrior's name). It was sold within three years and now ships freight around the Pacific! Let's not forget the purchase of $590,000 of bullets unfit for use in the army's weapons - resold last March at a quarter million dollar loss.
HMNZS Otago, limping into home port for the first time...on only ONE engine!And now, eeee-by-gooom troooble-at-mill with the navy's new Project Protector fleet. Both the HMNZS Otago and Wellington have been two years late in arriving, delayed by faults (in wiring, control systems, gearbox oil seals), and then sustaining more en route to NZ. Otago limped home this week on one engine! While the ships are still under warranty and thus aren't our cost to repair, the damage to their credibility cannot be underestimated. A scathing independent review last year said the offshore patrol vessels' poor performance in high seas would now "just have to be accepted".
So has NZ once again bought 'dogs', or are these simply "teething problems" as dismissed by Defence Minister Wayne Mapp? If so, when will our navy have two ships it can utilise to their full potential? When will our army get equipment it actually needs, not what someone in government thinks would be cute to have? When will our air force (a) get transport planes that can actually carry the LAVs without too much dismantling, and (b) get a strike capability?
When will NZ support its military?
PS: 08 Nov.2010 - Chug-splutter-gasp...12 HOURS into its first overseas deployment, HMNZS Otago has had to turn back!!!
PS: 08 Dec.2010 - Oh no, not again!

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