December 31, 2014

[Superseded] "Future submarine selection December update expected"

New Japanese Defence Minister Gen [his first name is NOT an abbreviation for "General"] Nakatani. Nakatani intends to introduce a range of conservative (or internationally normal) defence policies to replace Japan's traditional "peace" constitutional defence policies.

[Note the December 15, 2014 article below was superseded on December 21, 2014 by the appointment of new Australian Defence Minister Kevin Andrews. 
 Superseded because a new Defence Minister Andrews (and his new Ministerial office staff) will have insufficient knowledge for perhaps two months to answer media and industry questions about a submarine selection process. 

Also Japan has experienced political processes recently (the December 14, 2014 Japanese Elections, delaying Japan's Diet sitting schedules and mid December 24, 2014 appointment of new Japanese Defence Minister Nakatani) that will delay Japan's ability to formulate new new defence policies that would inturn backup a Japanese Soryu announcement.

- Also the Australian Government will be on firmer negotiating ground as Australia's Defence White Paper 2015 will be closer to publication - a paper that will partly justify the new submarine aquisition.

Brendan Nicholson in The Australian December 15, 2014 expects Prime Minister Abbott to make the future submarine selection update-announcement before Christmas. Full string of the now outdated commentary is

Title "Tony Abbott to surface with plan for submarines"

TONY Abbott is expected to announce within days the start of the process for selecting the navy’s new submarines from a range of international options and for building and maintaining them.
The Australian has been told the Prime Minister’s announcement is likely to include the creation of a new defence industry entity to work with an experienced international submarine designer and builder.
The expected re-election of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government with a substantial ­majority will remove a significant hurdle to Japan providing new submarines for Australia.
Japan, Germany, France and Sweden are all keen to provide the submarines. The Japanese are ahead of the others because they have the most experience building conventional submarines large enough to meet Australia’s needs.
The government is developing a three-stage strategy to save the shipbuilding industry, involving buying submarines overseas but maintaining them in Adelaide, completing the navy’s three Air Warfare Destroyers and building eight new frigates in Australia.
While a Japanese submarine has for months been the most likely option, Japanese domestic politics remained an issue.
Defence officials are in discussions with their Japanese counterparts to see whether the submarine technology they have on offer would suit Australia’s ­requirements.
If that deal does go through, Australia is likely to share in the design and building of a new class of submarine that will be an evolution of Japan’s Soryu.
If Australia does buy a Japanese submarine, it will be modified to extend its range and fitted with the same potent combat system and torpedoes as US nuclear-powered attack submarines.
The new submarine is likely to be powered by advanced lithium batteries, which take up less space than lead-acid batteries. More batteries can be carried, which significantly increases the submarine’s range and reduces the time it needs to run on or near the surface while running its diesel engines to recharge the batteries. Modern conventional sub­marines using such systems can stay submerged, without snorkelling, for three weeks." ENDS.
Connect with my own commentary of December 10, 2014 Australian Future Submarine Choices - Need for a Plan B at :



Anonymous said...

"3 weeks submerged" with lithium batteries? Maybe possible by using just the reading lamps and laying dead on the ground.


Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub

Very true what you say.

Unless there has been some amazing Lithium-ion battery breakthrougth we don't know about?

It seems odd that the Soryu Mark 2s can simply do away with Stirling AIP but still achieve all the mission goals of the Mark 1s.

Could there be two Li-ion battery set-up?
- one battery for regular diesel-electric running but
- another ultra high performance Li-ion battery for once only AIP like use?

Alternattively have the Japanese developed there own AIP system for use in the Mark 2s?



Alexander Judzewitsch said...

Collins subs cost us more than $605m per year to maintain. An early replacement can save us billions which could be spent on new subs with lower maintenance costs. Replace 10 years early saves more than $6Bn and that is possible.
Nuclear powered subs are the only ones that give us the capability we need in a production submarine. Both these have been stated as essential for our new subs. So why not arrange with the USA to crew and possibly lease two Virginia class subs starting in say 5 years? It would save huge sums in maintenance and two operational SSNs have far greater capability than all of our Collins. The Americans would be happy to have us pay for two boats to work in our region as it would save them the cost of doing it. That leaves open the options of having all SSNs or a mix of diesel-electric plus SSNs as we could add SSKs or SSNs to our capability depending on what is available and our perceived needs in the future. The above suggestion meets all of the requirements stated so far and saves heaps of money.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Alexander Judzewitsch

Now that I'm back from Christmas hols I'm providing a response to your timely comments as a new blog post later today.