July 27, 2014

Tamil Refugees: High Court of Australia Challenge

Tamil refugees have a hard time, not only in Australia.

It would appear that the High Court of Australia shares concerns that the Government of Prime Minister Abbott has no right to make an inherently human rights issue (Tamil refugees) a matter of martial law. The Australia Government is fortunate that the Indian Government has agreed that India's representatives in Australia will process the Tamils regarding refugee status and possible repatriation to India.

Many of the 157 Tamil refugees concerned fled from Sri Lanka to refugee camps in India before boarding a boat with the hope of coming to Australia. The High Court of Australia had ordered the Abbott Government to pull its head in and allow the Tamils to be processed on the Australian mainland.

"The case in the High Court really boils down to two simple propositions: one is that the Australian Government cannot, could not intercept this boat and return them to a place where they wouldn't be safe [Sri Lanka], and secondly that there needed to be a fair decision-making process around that," http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-26/lawyer-questions-legality-of-returning-asylum-seekers-to-india/5625866 .

The High Court is concerned about Australia's military forces holding Tamil refugees in international waters under quasi marrtial law, at gunpoint and in secrecy under so-called Operation Sovereign Borders.

The more formal conditions for martial law http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_aid_to_the_civil_power#Australia are:

- Defence Assistance to the Civil Community (DACC) in matters of emergency, and

- Defence Force Aid to the Civil Power (DACP) usually to handle invasion and violence.

None of these conditions are present in Abbott's orchestrated refugee "crisis". Australia's refugee responsibilities are mild and routine by international standards.

Immigration Minister Morrison and Abbott can't hide behind the "righteousness" of khaki or naval uniforms in conditions of secrecy. They need to obey the precedent ruled by the High Court of processing refugees on land not on a Australian military run prison ships.

Background Links


July 24, 2014

India's Amazing (future) 21 Submarines

Hindustan Shipyard (Visakhapatnam) The boom-gate is open but the guards are asleep.

Hindustan Shipyard (Visakhapatnam) looking uncluttered and efficient. Note the submarine under construction below the tramp steamer.

Mazagon Dock (Mumbai). Not much rust in sight. Note the new sub behind the hulk. 

Photo of a typical  innovative and experienced submarine Project Manager. Specially selected from thousands of applicants by the Department of Defence Production and DRDOArtificial Intelligence-Based Geocomputational Systems Engineer L. A. Fanny, PhD, was seconded last week from the Nuclear Command Authority. Dr Fanny is already bedazzled with amazement at the oft-repeated criticality of INS Arihant.

Please excuse the following immoderate words, for I do like India, but suspect almost all military project managers of all countries.*

Rajat Pandit of the Times of India has reported a new day dawning in Indian submarine construction and purchasing. In Pandit's Brave New World there will be none of the chronic inertia, corruption and gross inefficiency that has bedeviled the military-industrial complex since India's Russian submarines began to rust prematurely.

Like Little Annie Fanny (mugshot above) one waits with baited breath (having prudently bought some scuba gear) for India's long awaited:

- 6 Scorpenes, 

- 6 Project-75India SSKs (as yet unselected) and 

- 6 (yes 6) SSNs** 

...to pour off the sub-continental production lines. Eat your heart out WWII Germany, and Cold War Russia and "Uncle", for India will launch subs at a pace unseen in mass production history.

* the Agni nuclear missile project is an exception, which is genuinely efficient, as it has been given top priority.

** this is not counting the promised 3 operational Arihant class SSBNs (including the present launched INS Arihant) that have been "around the corner" since 2009.

Be amazed.

The miraculous Times of India, July 14, 2014, article follows http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Move-to-fast-track-two-submarine-projects-gathers-steam/articleshow/38342676.cms :

"Move to fast-track two submarine projects gathers steam"

NEW DELHI: There is finally some urgency [surely you jest Rajat HAHAHAHA :-) ] being shown to rescue India's ageing and depleting underwater combat arm. The approval for two long-pending projects, one for construction of six advanced diesel-electric submarines and the other for six nuclear-powered ones, is well on the cards now.

Sources said the finance ministry has asked the defence ministry to "club" the separate projects to "draft a single note" for the requisite nod from Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). "The two projects have been languishing for long in the files being exchanged between the two ministries. The government seems serious about fast-track approvals this time," said a source.

The approvals, when they come, will not be a day too soon since India is down to just 13 old diesel-electric submarines, barely half of which are operational at any given time, and a single nuclear-propelled submarine INS Chakra on lease from Russia without any long-range missiles.

It takes at least seven to eight years for the first submarine to roll out once its construction project actually gets underway. The two projects will together entail a cost of well over Rs 1 lakh crore spread over 10-15 years.

'Project-75India' for the six conventional submarines, armed with both land-attack missiles and air-independent propulsion (AIP) for greater underwater endurance, was granted "acceptance of necessity'' in November 2007, as was reported earlier by TOI.

But the global tender to select the foreign collaborator for it is yet to be even issued. As per the existing plan, the first two submarines will be imported to save time, while three will be constructed at Mazagon Docks (Mumbai), and the sixth at Hindustan Shipyard (Visakhapatnam).

The project to build the six SSNs (nuclear-powered attack submarines, usually without nuclear-tipped missiles), in turn, is to be undertaken at the secretive ship-building centre (SBC) at Vizag. India's first three SSBNs (nuclear-powered submarines with nuclear ballistic missiles) are already being built at the SBC to complete the country's nuclear weapons triad - the capability to fire nukes from land, air and underwater. The expertise gained in the construction of the SSBNs will help the SSN project, said sources.

The first SSBN, the 6,000-tonne INS Arihant, is slated to go for extensive sea trials soon after its miniature 83 mw pressurized light-water reactor, which went "critical" in August last year, attains "full power" in another month or so. The second, INS Aridhaman, is also to be "launched into water" soon with its hull and basic structure ready.

China, incidentally, has five nuclear and 51 conventional submarines. It is poised to induct up to five JIN-class SSBNs, with their new 7,400-km range JL-2 missiles, over the next few years.

India, however, has miserably failed in this arena. It was in 1999 that the CCS had approved a 30-year submarine-building plan, which envisaged induction of 12 new submarines by 2012, followed by another dozen by 2030.

But 15 years later, not a single new submarine has been inducted because of politico-bureaucratic apathy. The first programme, Project-75, was finalized only in 2005 to build six French Scorpene submarines at MDL. It's already running over four years behind schedule, with the first Scorpene now slated for delivery by November 2016 and the other five rolling out thereafter every 8-10 months. Moreover, the Rs 1,800 crore contract to buy 98 heavy-weight torpedoes to arm the submarines is also yet to be inked."


July 23, 2014

"Do It For Denmark!" and Nena, "99 Luftballons"

I was going to write on submarines again today but got distracted. The lovely lass above in this clean youtube (sorry guys) is something that my Swedish and German commenters can agree on: 

Denmark is half-way between Sweden and Germany!! 


I have it on good authority that Eurosclerotic means "some Danish sex Goddess enjoying a vein".

To that end not all Danish women are like Birgitte Nyborg, the Prime Minister on Borgen. Although Birgitte (below on right) is very nice and admittedly more my age - and she looks a lot better than a real forgotten ex-Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.. 

Some very intelligent women are supporting actresses in Borgen, for example Katrine Fønsmark played by a real Birgitte, that is Birgitte Hjort Sørensen (below at left). 

Confusing? Doesn't matter. They are both good-looking and great actresses, with a lot of heart.

And what is the "Do It For Denmark!" campaign? 

"Denmark faces a crisis. Our birthrate is at a 27 year low. At Spies we’re concerned. Fewer Danes mean fewer to support the ageing population - and tragically, fewer holidaying with us. Research shows that Danes have 46% more sex [think of that!] on city holidays and since more sex equals the chance of more kids, we are prescribing a romantic city holiday to save Denmark’s future." see http://www.spies.dk/do-it-for-denmark .

Above are Katrine and Birgitte (Borgen) looking lovely for viewers on a cold, cold, Canberra or Adelaide Winter's day :p .

As they say at the Tour de France - "But dry your eyes with a kangaroo".


Gabriele Susanne Kerner was born in Germany on March 24, 1960. She is better known by her stage name Nena. She's not only a (German) singer but also an actress and comedian, who rose to international fame in 1983 with the New German Wave song "99 Luftballons". 

In 1984, she re-recorded this song in English as "99 Red Balloons." Nena was also the name of her backing  band for the song. With the re-recording and subsequent release of some of her old songs, her career re-emerged in 2002. In 2007, she co-founded the school Neue Schule Hamburg - a real school with students and everything. I wish I went to a school with Nena as head-mistress.

I remember the German and the subsequent English versions in 1983-84 well (see below).

Nena sings 99 Luftballons - much prettier in the German version!

Nena sings 99 Red Balloons.

You decide which is better :)


July 19, 2014

Russia's GRU (military intelligence) and MH17 Shootdown

Pictured is Lieutenant Colonel Igor Bezler of the Russian military intelligence directorate GRU, who commanded the separatists who shot down MH17. He has probably been recalled to Russia in the last few days - to a quiet desk job or shoveling snow, in Siberia?

Where MH17 was shot down. (Diagram credit). Also see http://www.flightradar24.com/data/airplanes/9m-mrd/#3d6095b .

The "Buk" SA-11 [other synonyms "Gadfly" 9K37] surface to air missile (SAM) system that was very likely used by the Russian military directed separatists. It shows the 25 km ceiling-altitude of the missile - which was more than enough to shoot down MH17 - hence murdering those aboard.
(Diagram credit )

Thanks MHalblaub for providing many of the links, some comments, in the hours immediately after the shootdown. 

Note that it is a Russian News Agency that reported the capture of a Buk missile system by pro-Russian separatists just less than 3 weeks before the shootdown. That short training period would have given the Russian rebel Buk missile operators sufficient time to learn how to fire the missiles - but, as it transpires, insufficient time to learn the procedures for identifying targets - like MH17.

http://en.itar-tass.com/world/738262 :

"Donetsk defence forces take control of army unit equipped with missile defence systems"

"World  June 29, [2014] 19:30 UTC+4"

"No details are available about the number and condition of the missile systems taken over by the self-defence forces."

"DONETSK, June 29, /ITAR-TASS/. Self-defence forces [pro-Russian separatists] of the Donetsk People’s Republic have taken control over a missile defence army unit equipped with Buk missile defence systems, the press service of the Donetsk People’s Republic told Itar-Tass on Sunday.

So far, no details are available about the number and condition of the missile systems taken over by the self-defence forces. The press service refused to comment.

The Buk missile defence system is a mobile medium-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system designed to defend field troops and logistics installations against air threats in conditions of heavy electronic countermeasures and intense enemy fire." ENDS


On July 15, 2014 I, using my pseudonym "plantagenet" on On Line Opinion wrote http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?article=16493&page=0#288071 :

" - Crimea and now eastern Ukraine . I hear the FSB will soon purge the GRU itself because the GRU is doing too well in terms of oppression. See "Crimea crisis brings Russian military spies back in the game" http://intelnews.org/2014/07/09/01-1510/ 

Posted by plantagenet, Tuesday, 15 July 2014 8:41:04 PM "

It was just an educated hunch. The GRU had risen too quickly in the Russian intelligence pecking order, due to its early-mid 2014 successes in collecting intelligence in Crimea-Ukraine and in deploying special forces troops in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Internally, Putin will blame the GRU for the shootdown mistake - a grievous public relations disaster for Russia. Putin will use his main enforcer and old workplace, FSB, to punish the GRU. 


"When You Mess With Civilian Airliners, You Mess With the World: MH17 shootdown takes the war beyond Ukraine

On July 17, someone shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, killing 298 people.
Ukraine blames Russia. Russia blames Ukraine. No one is sure yet exactlywhat happened. But the available facts point to pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine as being responsible.

It’s the latest tragedy in a conflict the international community can no longer contain with sanctions and rhetoric.

Minutes after the crash of MH17, a popular Russian social media page bearing the name of the seperatists’ military commander bragged about downing an aircraft near the village of Torez. The post was later deleted and the site now claims to have received the information from forums and notofficial channels.
“It does seem pretty conclusive that Strelkov did comment about shooting down a plane,” Mark Galeotti, a Russia expert at New York University, told War is Boring via email. “That fits with my working assumption, which is that this was an insurgent missile—provided by the Russians—launched at what they thought was a Ukrainian government aircraft.”

The rebels do have the weapons to take down an airliner like MH17. We know because they told us. On June 29, the press office of the separatists reported they had taken control of a 9K37 Buk anti-air missile system.

The Buk is a medium-range, surface-to-air missile system developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s. It’s a popular export—both Ukraine and the rebels are using the missiles.

This is the context of an escalating air war in eastern Ukraine. On June 17, Kiev claimed a Russian jet shot down a Ukrainian fighter plane. On Monday, a separatist missile downed a Ukrainian An-26 transport plane. Earlier in the month, separatists downed an An-30. On June 13, the rebels shot down an Il-76 transport.

The rebels are working hard to control the airspace above eastern Ukraine, but these were low-flying planes and the Buk missile can travel to as high as [25 km]. MH17 flew at [10 km], well within the Buk’s range.
YouTube videos go up and come down. Some claim to show the crash while others show the Buk missile system moving through areas near Torez."



"The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200[ER] flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was allegedly shot down [on July 17, 2014] by a group of Russian-backed Cossack militants near the village of Chornukhine, Luhansk Oblast, some 80 kilometers north-west of Donetsk, [in eastern Ukraine very near the border with Russia - see map above] according to recordings of intercepted phone calls between Russian military intelligence [GRU] officers and members of terrorist groups, released by the country’s security agency (SBU).
One phone call apparently was made at 4:40 p.m. Kyiv time, or 20 minutes after the plane crash, by Igor Bezler, who the [Security Service of Ukraine] SBU says is a Russian military intelligence officer and leading commander of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. He reports to a person identified by Ukraine’s SBU as a [Colonel in Russian GRU military intelligence] Vasili Geranin [on Geranin see last paragraph of text on the Bezler Wikipedia article] regarding the shot down plane, which is about to be examined by the militants.
The second intercepted conversation released by [SBU] was apparently between militants nicknamed “Major” and "Greek" immediately upon inspection of the crash site. 
“It’s 100 percent a passenger (civilian) aircraft,” Major is recorded as saying, as he admitted to seeing no weapons on site. “Absolutely nothing. Civilian items, medicinal stuff, towels, toilet paper.” 
In the third part of conversation Cossack commander Nikolay Kozitsin talking to an unidentified militant cynically suggests that the Malaysia Airlines airplane could've been carrying spies, as, otherwise, it would have no business flying in that area.
Read the full transcript of an intercepted phone call below: 
Igor Bezler: We have just shot down a plane. Group Minera. It fell down beyond Yenakievo (Donetsk Oblast).
Vasili Geranin on Geranin see last paragraph of text on the Bezler Wikipedia article]: Pilots. Where are the pilots?
Igor Bezler: Gone to search for and photograph the plane. Its smoking.
Vasili Geranin: How many minutes ago?
Igor Bezler: About 30 minutes ago.
SBU comment: After examining the site of the plane the terrorists come to the conclusion that they have shot down a civilian plane. The next part of the conversation took place about 40 minutes later
40 minutes later.
Major”: These are Chernukhin folks who shot down the plane. From the Chernukhin check point. Those cossacks who are based in Chernukhino.
"Greek": Yes, Major.
"Major": The plane fell apart in the air. In the area of Petropavlovskaya mine. The first “200” (code word for dead person). We have found the first “200”. A Civilian.
"Greek": Well, what do you have there?
“Major”: In short, it was 100 percent a passenger (civilian) aircraft.
"Greek": Are many people there?
“Major”: Holy sh__t! The debris fell right into the yards (of homes).
"Greek": What kind of aircraft?
“Major”: I haven’t ascertained this. I haven’t been to the main sight. I am only surveying the scene where the first bodies fell. There are the remains of internal brackets, seats and bodies.
"Greek": Is there anything left of the weapon?
“Major”: Absolutely nothing. Civilian items, medicinal stuff, towels, toilet paper.
"Greek": Are there documents?
“Major”: Yes, of one Indonesian student. From a university in Thompson. 
Militant: Regarding the plane shot down in the area of Snizhne-Torez. It’s a civilian one. Fell down near Grabove. There are lots of corpses of women and children. The Cossacks are out there looking at all this.
They say on TV it’s AN-26 transport plane, but they say it’s written Malaysia Airlines on the plane. What was it doing on Ukraine’s territory?
Nikolay Kozitsin: That means they were carrying spies. They shouldn’t be f…cking flying. There is a war going on" ENDS
I'm sure Putin's propaganda mill will persuade the chatterati (known as "useful idiots" in Russia) that it was the fault of Ukraine and the victim (MH17) for being "raped".

Unfortunately captured or bought small and medium SAMs may become more commonly used by insurgents-terrorists elsewhere - especially in the Middle East (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq) and Afghanistan-Pakistan, also several countries in Africa.

Israel has already developed an anti-missile laser system for fitting to airliners http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/02/27/israel-to-outfit-passenger-planes-with-laser-anti-missile-defense-system/ .

See also http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-23/mh17-how-can-airlines-defend-against-missile-attacks/5616674 which ends "Professor Theodore Postal, professor of science technology and security at [MIT indicated] that defending civilian airliners against such attacks "is extremely difficult to do". After all, "combat aircraft have pretty sophisticated electronic countermeasures," Professor Postal said. "And they get shot down all the time."

MHalblaub has indicated: The last position of the aircraft was just 10 km away from the Russian border. The US or some other NATO members probably did detect the search radar of the Buk missile system that shot down MH17. An E-3 AWACS and E-8 Joint STAR had eastern Ukrainian airspace under surveillance. Even some infrared tracks were recognized. Therefore it is likely the military and top politicians knew exactly where the missile was fired from.


http://intelnews.org/2014/07/24/01-1520/ "US spies say incriminating flight MA17 recordings are genuine"



http://intelnews.org/2014/07/18/01-1517/ Ukraine rebels ‘admit downing Malaysia plane’ in phone intercepts


July 16, 2014

Australia's Future Submarine - a $40 Billion Risk?

[The following is under copyright]

The selection process to build 6 to 12 Australian future submarines involves many hurdles and pitfalls. It would be hugely wasteful for politicians, admirals and officials to again make hasty choices that again steer this country into a Collins disaster. When the 2014-2015 Defence White Paper is published next year it will be too early to “pick winners” because Japanese options are only starting to be looked at. At current estimates the up-front cost for 12 submarines may amount to $40 Billion (funds Australia doesn’t currently have). It is appropriate that Australia not be locked into another ASC build in South Australia madness – whatever Labor promised to the maritime unions in 2009 http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BN/2011-2012/Submarines#_Toc325531486  .

It is also vital for Australia to avoid the major integration problems caused by the purchase of essential systems (including hull, propulsion and combat systems, others?) from too many equipment companies of too many nations http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collins-class_submarine#McIntosh-Prescott_Report_and_Fast_Track_program. Australia’s business model of locally built submarines and ships may well be over-ambitious and un-affordable. The poor current performance of Australian industry in naval construction should also be seen as a risk and uncertainty. The current Air War Destroyer project is increasingly seen as a project to build three destroyers for the price of four, with the usual suspects featured. “The problems had been compounded by the unwieldy set-up of the AWD Alliance, made up of the government military purchaser the Defence Materiel Organisation, the government-owned shipbuilder ASC and…” http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/navys-air-warfare-destroyer-project-blows-out-by-300m-20140306-34a8n.html With a timeline overlapping the future submarine project Australia also plans to build 8 future frigates http://www.defence.gov.au/dmo/id/dcp/html_dec10/sea/Sea5000.html - each expected to weigh 7,000 tons.

An additional layer of risk and uncertainty has been added over the last two weeks with reports that the Australian Government may see merit in selecting a Japanese submarine propulsion system and perhaps a complete Japanese submarine http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/05/28/uk-japan-australia-submarine-idUKKBN0E82FG20140528 . It is Japan’s current Soryu class submarine that has caught Australian attention. The Soryu has a propulsion system (including the diesel-electric engine and AIP) that may be suitable for the very large conventional submarine that Australia is seeking. Problems for Australia in utilising a complete Soryu design are that Soryus very likely do not carry all the features that Australia probably wants including: Lithium-ion batteries and a Vertical Multi-Purpose Lock (VMPL) that can carry divers, undersea drones or extra Tomahawk cruise missiles.

The willingness of the Japanese government of Prime Minister Abe to consider exporting submarine technology to Australia has only come about via recent and radical departure in Japan from the traditionally pacifist political and constitutional approach in Japan. These new ideas may not be deeply or broadly held in Japanese politics. Hence there is a risk that a new Japanese government after Abe (perhaps a centrist-pacifist Democratic Party government) might effectively renege on any Japanese understandings, promises and contracts concerning submarines.

The sensibilities of the Japanese public and Chinese government pressures must also be considered in any Australian-Japan submarine deal. Japan has a strong public peace movement which can be highly antagonistic towards Japan’s military alliances (particularly concerning US bases). Significant numbers of the Japanese public might also see a Japanese-Australian submarine export deal as a security relationship that should be opposed. China, fearing a remilitarised Japan, may also exert political and economic pressure on Australia and on Japan (including the Soryu’s principal builders Kawasaki and Mitsubishi) to break up a submarine based security relationship. It must be remembered that the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Australia, Japan, the US, India) proposed by Prime Minister Abe in 2007 collapsed in 2008 when Australia pulled out of it due to Chinese pressure http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadrilateral_Security_Dialogue#Rudd.E2.80.99s_departure .
If the Australian Government insists a future submarine be built locally it is prudent for Australia to move slowly in its decision making. Australia simply doesn’t have the money, won’t have it for years and there are too many uncertainties over the Japan card.

The most likely outcome for Australia’s future submarine may be ASC working with a German, French, Japanese, Spanish or Swedish prime contractor to integrate a hull from that contractor with a Japanese propulsion system and American combat system. The latter two systems might be selected on their merits but with a tacit understanding that Pacific security alliances with Japan and the US are important determinants.

A far cheaper, easier and less problematic approach might be to choose just one foreign company as the prime contractor and provider of the systems. The most experienced companies, with the most reputable sales record, and the most experience building submarines outside their home countries are Germany’s TKMS-HDW and France’s DCNS. Spain’s Navantia falls down on having never designed or exported a submarine without heavy French involvement and there have been major program problems with Navantia’s current go-it-alone project – the S-80. Sweden falls down on having not being associated with a new submarine build since HMAS Rankin (of the Collins Class) was built in Australia in 2003. The association of Sweden with the Collins is not a positive selling point in Australian minds.

Just because submarines are a defence item doesn’t mean Australia’s future submarine project has to be excessively complicated and overly expensive. Australia has choices to make the process more simple, less risky and less expensive. A post Collins submarine selection process of selecting and managing a mixture of competing companies, nations and technologies for a locally built submarine is unnecessary. Australia can choose a major company like TKMS or DCNS to use its corporate experience and connections to identify and manage more efficient choices rather than diverse major suppliers. Australia could also decide to have the submarines built overseas in Germany, France or perhaps Japan. Having submarines built at the shipyards of these foreign submarine companies should free up $Billions that would have been expended in a local build process. Those $Billions saved could be spent on other industrial development purposes in Australia. 

Australia is having its F-35 jet fighters built in the US – therefore why not have Australia’s submarines built overseas? Could it be that aviation industries are mobile while shipbuilding industries must be locked in the shipyard past?


July 11, 2014

Australia may select Japanese Submarine

The Maritime Executive (MAREX) reported, July 9, 2014 that http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/Australia-Inches-Closer-to-Japanese-Submarine-Deal-2014-07-09 : 

July 09, 2014

Australia Inches Closer to Japanese Submarine Deal

Australian Defence Minister David Johnston hailed the signing on Wednesday of an agreement with Japan as “an important milestone”. The agreement will deepen bilateral defense science and technology cooperation.

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed the agreement in Canberra during Abe’s visit to Australia. “This is an important milestone in the Australia-Japan defense relationship, and an integral part of the broader efforts to strengthen our strategic partnership,” said Johnston.

The agreement will facilitate deeper bilateral defense technology cooperation, and the first project will be the Marine Hydrodynamics Project, an important topic in relation to designing a submarine’s hull to ensure its low noise, stealth capabilities and to improve propulsive efficiency. 

The sharing may not be all one-sided. Scientists from Australia have invented sound-absorbing hull and mast tiles that absorb the radio-wave pings sent out by searching sonar sets. Japan is also said to be interested in radar technology developed in Australia that has proved to be effective at shooting down incoming supersonic missiles.

Currently the Japanese constitution prevents that country from taking military defensive action on behalf of allies, but Abe is looking to change that to allow for the concept of “collective self-defense”. Consequently, allies might be more inclined to assist Japan if needed. Australia and Japan have already agreed to work together on submarine design, and this change in policy is viewed as contributing to a growing alliance between the countries. 

Australia may ask Japan for help in designing a new class of submarine or may consider buying complete submarines from Japan. Australia’s previous government had promised to build 12 submarines in Adelaide for a total cost of around $40 billion, the country’s most expensive defense project. However, the Abbott government, elected in September last year, may downsize that and is said to be considering other options.

Of-the-shelf European submarines have been rejected in the past for being too small and lacking in range for Australian conditions, so Japan’s Soryu class are now an attractive prospect given the willingness of Japan to engage with Australia on the project.

“The language being used is unprecedented in terms of speaking of the special relationship, the depth and breadth of the friendship and their preparedness to share sensitive information with us,” Australia’s minister for foreign affairs, Julie Bishop told The Australian.

However, Australia still claims to be in discussions with other countries including Germany, France, the US and Britain. “This is not the only option available to us at this stage. It’s one of a number,” Johnston says.

The ability of any Japanese submarines bought by Australia to operate with the US fleet of nuclear submarines will be a significant factor. Any new Australian submarines are likely to include the same combat system and [US Mark 48] torpedoes as the US Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarines and near-silent propellers developed in the US.

If Australia bought foreign off-the-shelf submarines it would be a serious setback for the local shipbuilding industry. However, after delays and cost overruns in the Air Warfare Destroyer project, the government has already chosen to build a new series of naval supply ships in either Spain or South Korea." ENDS


Note that Japan in the next few years plans to develop a new generation submarine to start replacing the current Soryu's by the 2030s. What the Soryu's probably don't have (vertical multi-purpose locks (VMPLs)? Lithium-ion batteries?) - which Australia probably wants - might be incorporated into Japan's next generation submarine. 


July 6, 2014

Combat Systems for Australia's Future Submarine? Work in Progress

Components of the ATLAS ELEKTRONIK's 
 Integrated Sensor Underwater System - ISUS 90 (or the more advanced ISUS 2000) one likely contender for Australia's Future Submarine

A dramatised (eg. periscope raised) animation of an attack using DCNS SUBTICS Submarine Tactical Integrated Combat System.

Some of the components of the Collins US made AN/BYG-1 Combat System. The AN/BYG-1 may be carried over into Australia's Future Submarine.

Much information and many links have been kindly provided by MHalblaub. 

When Australia (sometime between 2016-2020?) chooses a combat system for the Future Submarine many considerations and possibilities are open. A combat system is a system of sensors (SONAR, electronic warfare, air-surface detection, navigation systems, communications) databases, for decision making, close-in steering and targeting. The combat system interacts with all of a submarine's weapons.

If there is a tender for the combat system many companies and combinations of companies may put forward bids-solutions. My guess is that after some bidders are eliminated the two final bidders will be:

- the ATLAS ELEKTRONIK ISUS 90 (or the more advanced ISUS 2000) with ATLAS is owned by ThyssenKrupp and Airbus DSThyssenKrupp owns Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft (HDW) the world's largest conventional submarine builder. The prospect of the one major company, ThyssenKrupp, through HDW and Atlas offering the submarine and combat system (respectively) to Australia makes sense. ISUS means Integrated Sensor Underwater System

ATLAS ELEKTRONIK's ISUS 90 sales statement http://www.atlas-elektronik.com/what-we-do/submarine-systems/isus90-combat-system/ includes:

"ATLAS ELEKTRONIK is the undisputed technology and world market leader in command and weapon control systems for non-nuclear submarines. Our “Integrated Sensor Underwater System” (ISUS) is based on many years of experience, is tried and tested, is always at the latest technological level and, thanks to its modular structure and open system architecture, can easily be adapted to suit individual customer requirements and diverse operational scenarios. It enables the submarine crew to fully perceive their surroundings and to analyse the situation in detail, permitting a rapid and reliable response...The quality, reliability and performance of this system is unparalleled worldwide. And this technology lead is highly valued by our clients: ISUS is well-established at more than ten navies around the globe; our sonar systems are in service with over two dozen navies."

The ISUS 90 is on many of HDW's all export Type 209 and 214 submarines

For more ISUS 90 details see  http://www.defencereviewasia.com/articles/43/ISUS-90-Powers-Ahead

- SUBTICS or Submarine Tactical Integrated Combat System, offered by DCNS. System developed by Thales Underwater Systems-naval submarine division (Thales owns 25% of DCNS) and UDS Internatonal (all very complex and mixed up French corporate and government share holding-ownership - beyond comprehension). SUBTICS varies according to performances and integration level, in utilising sensors and weapons. It is used on all French Navy SSNs and SSBNs and has been chosen to equip next SSN generation Barracuda. 

On export markets, it is selected to equip every new submarines of Agosta, Scorpene and Andrasta types and to modernize submarines such as the Type 209. 

  • Submarines are increasingly faced with various missions including littoral and blue-water operations, stand-alone missions or within a naval force. SUBTICS indicates it can offer:
  • Efficient acoustic sensors including low frequency arrays and scalable data processing offering outstanding detection abilities of distant targets at high speed; 
  • Efficient non acoustic sensors on the surface and at periscope depth offering a high level of discretion; 
  • Communication facilities (from VLF to SHF), noiseless and fully integrated allowing submarine to interact in real time within a force;
  • Data synthesis from every sensors (optical, optronic, R-ESM and C-ESM, radar);
  • Advanced, automatic and interactive target motion analysis Tracks identification and classification functionality;
  • Track fusion and association through an interactive track management tool; 
  • Tactical, command and engagement aids with regard to geographical and tactical environment 
  • Tactical Data Links operation; and
  • Fire and weapon control Torpedoes : F17, SUT 266, TP617, Black Shark, F21 Missiles : SM39 and land-attack capability
SUBTICS provides systems for more than "40" vessels from 9 different Navies (including France).
  • Brazil (4 Scorpene being built) 1 SSN (to be built)
  • Chile (2 Scorpene, 2 Type 209)
  • Ecuador (2 Type 209)
  • India, (in the 4 Type 209 “Shishumar” class?)
  • Malaysia (2 Scorpene)
  • Pakistan (Agosta 90B, Khalid Classes),
  • Singapore (4 Challenger, 2 Archer Class) Type 218SG will not be using the French SUBTICS - instead using an Atlas Elektronik and ST Electronics designed system.
  • Venezuela (2 unserviceable Type 209)
- the GENERAL DYNAMICS AN/BYG-1 Tactical Control System (TCS). As well as General Dynamics  Raytheon is a systems integrator for AN/BYG-1 - making the AN/BYG-1 even more of a multi-corporate responsibility proposition than SUBTICS.  

Australia is very accustomed to the AN/BYG-1 and TKMS has experience in integrating the AN/BYG-1 with Brazil's Type 209 submarines. Therefore HDW should have no problem integrating AN/BYG-1 into the 216-218 solution for Australia's future submarine. 

US and Australian military communications links are intense and complex. Many acronyms and levels might describe them. A  US maintained, immensely complex SeaWeb communications and sensor system might be one. Other "inhouse" acronyms might be used, like FORCEnet, which may mean the same thing. In the NATO context Link 22 (see large pdf document) may indicate the complexity of links for sea, land, and air communications-sensor network between the US and its North Atlantic allies - with Australia of course being geographically separated from it. Australia and the US would most probably have submarine communications-sensor links under the AUSCANNZUKUS naval Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4) interoperability structure.

The US and Australia are constantly refining the US designed submarine combat system known as the US General Dynamics AN/BYG-1The AN/BYG-1 is apparently used on all US SSNs (Seawolf Class with AN/BYG-2 upgrade) and SSGNs as well as SSKs from:

Spain (S-80)
Brazil (Tupi Class (Type 209))
Canada (Victoria Class)

The Collins weapons include the American made Mk 48 torpedoes and Harpoon missiles. The Collins is (US Tomahawk SLCM capable. The mines are UK made.


It is widely believed that (around 2000?) the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) and Submarine Capability Team recommended the RAN acquire the ISUS 90 system. However the Australian Cabinet favoured US systems.

See  http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/a-new-australian-submarine-with-aip.html In October 2009 Australia's then Minister of Defence Material Greg Combet, speaking still current RAN views, indicated  that the US would play a big part in developing Australia's future submarine. The Sydney Morning Herald recorded what Mr Combet said on October 6, 2009. http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/us-to-play-key-role-in-new-aussie-subs-20091006-gky2.html: "US 'to play key role' in new Aussie subs" October 6, 2009...
"Australia wants the assistance of the United States as it looks to replace the Collins class submarines, junior defence minister Greg Combet says.
"...I expect that Australia will look to learn from companies like General Dynamics Electric Boat and Lockheed Martin in designing and developing the Collins class replacement," he said in a statement.
"...US technology is likely to be an important facilitator of this capability," he said.

See http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/australias-future-submarine-selection-s.html of 20 January 2014 Prime Minister, Minister for Defence and Minister for Defence Materiel – Joint Media Release – 2013 Defence White Paper: The Future Submarine Program 3 May 2013 http://www.minister.defence.gov.au/2013/05/03/prime-minister-minister-for-defence-and-minister-for-defence-materiel-joint-media-release-2013-defence-white-paper-the-future-submarine-program-2/
"...The Government has also taken the important decision to use the United States AN/BYG-1 combat system as the reference system for future design work.  The early definition of a combat system is a feature of a successful submarine program.  It allows the submarine design to proceed utilising more accurate projections of space, weight and power requirements."

Also see  SEA 1439 PHASE 4A - COLLINS CLASS REPLACEMENT COMBAT SYSTEM http://www.defence.gov.au/dmo/msd/sea1439/index.cfm concerning an upgrade process of the AN/BYG-1 combat system conducted jointly by the US and Australia up to 2019 “in conjunction with the Replacement [amounting to upgrades of the US Mk 48] Heavyweight Torpedo (Project SEA 1429)” which points to future integration with US weapons.

- Some 2011 US RAND Corporation studies http://www.rand.org/topics/submarines.html concerning Australian submarine issues needs to be added.

An excellent source on Combat Systems generally and by system-maker is Norman Friedman The Naval Institute Guide to World Naval Weapon Systems 5th edn, 2006, pp. 133-156, text online


It is difficult to pick a winner. Australia should avoid solutions that: are divided, involve too many corporate-national vendors, as they lead to greater cost and program complexity. Therefore at least three options remain, including:

-  The prospect of the one major company, ThyssenKrupp, through HDW and Atlas offering the submarine (HDW 216 or 218) and combat system (ISUS 90 or ISUS 2000). This unity under TKMS is attractive.

-  If Australia chooses an enlarged Scorpene (with an eventual SSN a la Brazil possible) then SUBTICS would be a logical choice.

-  Australia is very accustomed to the US AN/BYG-1 (with an eventual purchase of US SSNs possible?) and several conventional submarine companies have  experience in integrating the AN/BYG-1 with conventional submarines. Also the US is Australia's most important ally.