April 7, 2015

More evidence Australia's Soryu Choice based on US-Australia-Japan Alliance Considerations

General Martin Dempsey (on right) Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin (at left), Australian Chief of the Defence Force, meet at RAN base HMAS Watson in Sydney, February, 23, 2015
The following Reuters article confirms that non-tender factors such as the US preferences and what are assumed to be “common values” between Australia and Japan will heavily influence Australia's future submarine choice. Retired Vice Admiral Yoji Koda’s advocacy of most Soryus being built in Australia may amount to little compared to the views of Prime Ministers Abe and Abbott, MHI and KHI.

The article is a good summary of the key issues in Australia’s “competitive” evaluation process. I’ve included and bolded important sections. The article is by Matt Siegel, Reuters, April 1, 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/02/australia-submarines-usa-idUSL3N0WX17A20150402:

“Washington's regional ambitions centre stage in Australian submarine tender

“…The qualitative difference between the [Japanese, German and French] submarines on offer was negligible, Rex Patrick, a former advisor to the previous defence minister and a submarine expert, told Reuters.

"All these guys build a good submarine. It will be factors other than capability which determines who wins," he said, partly referring to Washington's geo-strategic goals in Asia.

“…Japan had been the frontrunner to replace Australia's ageing Collins-class submarines with an off-the-shelf version of its 4,000-tonne Soryu-class vessel after Prime Minister Tony Abbott agreed to cooperate on military technology with Abe [in June 2014].

“…U.S. officials insist they are not pressing Australia to buy any particular submarine but say they see benefits from the interoperability of the Japanese option.

During a visit to Australia in February, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the decision was one Australia would have to make on its own "for any number of domestic and international reasons".

But Dempsey also cited "interoperability" among allies as a key factor, although experts at the conference noted that submarines built by Germany and France, both NATO members, can communicate with U.S. vessels.

Still, Washington's view is that the Japanese submarine is technically superior to any European-made vessel, and will allow for the integration of more U.S. technology, a senior U.S. military source told Reuters.

"If they want to do it right, it is a Japanese hull and propulsion plant, with a U.S. combat system and ISR package," he said, using an acronym for the various types of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensors like sonar and radar used on U.S. submarines.

‘…One notable Japanese participant at the [Sub Summit], retired Vice Admiral Yoji Koda, told Reuters that Japanese-Australian cooperation on the submarine deal would ensure countries in the Asia-Pacific with common values such as democracy also shared a common defence capability.

"The key point is not exporting our equipment on an industrial basis, but to be more strategic," added Koda, who also said Tokyo should be flexible and build most of the vessels in Australia, which would make the deal politically more palatable for Abbott.

Until now, sources had said Japan was reluctant to engage in a tender partly to avoid getting embroiled in a bidding war.

Japanese industry is also seen as wary of undertaking significant construction in Australia because of concerns about its sensitive submarine technology, including its stealthy propulsion system and advanced welding techniques. (Additional reporting by David Alexander in WASHINGTON and Tim Kelly in TOKYO; Editing by Dean Yates).” See WHOLE Reuters article.


The article confirms the alliance and US preference points I made when reporting on the "Sub Summit" Adelaide, late March 2014 and much earlier in Australia - the future junior ally of Japan, February 2, 2015.



Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Please review and reconstruct warship building management as soon as possible for alliance. Even if you develop new excellent technology, if you don’t establish and maintain proper information security system, the initial superiority in technology will soon become meaningless, because your enemy copies the technology and saves R&D costs and time. Recent example is the theft case of F-35 key design information by China. As Japan has perfect information security system about submarine technology at present, she could maintain this finest technology. I don’t believe bad management of military technology development to show good performance of information security management, because the latter is an indispensable part of the former.


Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

Patents expire after about 10 years. Then a company should offer something better. The same for military technology. Your enemy might copy something but he will be behind you. The next thing is quality and crew training.


Dear Pete,
the "interoperability" is a red herring. Interoperability is reached by training and not by the use of the same equipment. German Type 212 submarines can communicate via LINK 11/16. The latest U35 even submerged (in case the buoy finally works...)

For sure the Soryu is better for some Washington Generals to get a high paid job afterwards.

Type 212 second batch
I found something about the divers hatch and some "official" data for Type 212 second batch.

Range is over 8,000 nm at 8 kn. Fuel capacity was enhanced. The hatch is for 4 divers and it is possible to add some pressure tight cargo containers. Also one torpedo tube will be enlarged for special equipment or divers.


Anonymous said...

Hi MHalblaub

I am awfully sorry, but I can not understand well what you want to say. If you do not mind, would you like to explain it a little bit more easily.

Anonymous (April 7, 2015 at 10:23 PM)

Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub

Your point about constant improvements in weapon system technology and the importance of crew training are very true. For example software upgrades are likely to be constant, not set in stone.

Japan's inexperience in large scale arms trading seems to have resulted in unusual reverence for Japanese technology rather than a constantly improving and competing weapons system.

I hereby dub this reverence "Samurai Sword Under the Sea Syndrome (SSUSS)" as though the Soryu is a mystical secret.

Interoperability also applies to the sub's weapons. It is likely that the future Australian sub being able to operate MK 48 torpedos, Harpoon and Tomahawk missiles is non-negotiable.

The transit stage from Fremantle may demand a range-speed more like 9,000 nm at 12+ knots (snorkel) to be better than the Collins http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collins-class_submarine

Possibly the Dolphin 2 may be a technology path better than the 212 U35?