It can be seen that pre World War II and during World War II. construction times at the yard were comparable with British yards lor ships of similar class The effects of lay-offs or non loading can be readily seen with the last 5 war ships buill by Vickers culminating in HMAS Torrens which was completed in 1971. The lead time for any new construction contemplated now would obviously be extremely long.
As Admiral Synnot quite rightly said, it is impracticable for Australia to possess the technology base which is necessary today for a modern military equipment inventory Implicit in such a statement is the recognition that Australia will continue to source advanced technology and/or advanced military equipments from overseas suppliers.
As a base-line reference, one could hardly do better than refer to the transcripts and submissions of the Parliamentary Suo-Committee formed to enquire into Industrial Support for Defence Needs and Allied Matters 1975-77 (Hamer Committee) From the copious volume of evidence examined by this Committee some fairly stark conclusions were drawn viz:
The Committee takes the view however, that whatever the level of (threat) probability, there should be national awareness of the substantial gaps that exist in our Defence Industrial capacity and the problems we could face if suddenly forced by world events to become at least largely self-reliant or. in the extreme, self-sufficient. Such awareness is an important step towards the exercise of balanced judgement and the initiation of reasoned action while there is still time to do so in an orderly manner.' The Committee went on to record problem areas in Defence — Industry relationships in communication particularly in forward planning and equipment procurement practices In discussing the role of industry in Defence R&D. the Committee considered it extremely important that industry be involved to the maximum extent feasible in design and development programmes because only in this way does it appear possible to sustain a fully effective defence support capability This point must be arguable, as it appears to ignore some fundamental Australian, Australian Defence and Industry problems By opting for a balanced force structure concept, (once again I