January 17, 2016

Analysts indicate US hopes Australia buys the Soryu

An earlier meeting of Prime Minister Turnbull and President Obama, This was at the APEC Meeting in Manila in mid November 2015 where Obama unexpectedly invited Prime Minister Turnbull to Washington tomorrow (on January 18,  2016) (Photo courtesy AAP via SBS Australia).

In the influential US National Interest website American academic and policy analyst Micheal J. Green and Australian academic and policy analyst Andrew Shearer have written an excellent analysis of January 17, 2016. This is concerning Australian Prime Minister Turnbull’s visit to Washington on January 18, 2016. Washington DC is 16 hours behind Sydney time - so a 3pm meeting in Washington (Jan 18) might only be reported Sydney time around 8 or 9 am Tuesday (Jan 19)! Parts of their analysis, most relevant to Submarine Matters, include the following. I have bolded the submarine part:

"On Monday, Australia’s new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull makes his first official visit to Washington, D.C.

The two countries’ interests, values and perspectives are largely aligned, and support for the Australia-U.S. alliance is strong and bipartisan in each.

The Australian government supported the recent U.S. freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea, and recently a Royal Australian Air Force plane flew through contested maritime territory. Yet the administration was blindsided by news that a Chinese company would be given a long-term lease over strategically important commercial port facilities used by the U.S. military in Darwin; according to American officials, the matter was not raised by the Australian side at ministerial talks that took place immediately before the deal was announced.

Another area the leaders should discuss is how Australia and the United States can work more closely with Japan in light of Prime Minister Abe’s recently passed security reforms. The three countries have a track record of close cooperation—for example, in stabilization operations in East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq, in responding to natural disasters such as the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami and in shaping regional institutions. But the relaxation of constraints on the Japanese military’s right to exercise collective self-defense, and on the export of Japanese defense technology and equipment, opens up significant opportunities to strengthen trilateral security cooperation and the ability of the three militaries to operate together.

The most pressing of these [opportunities] is the replacement of Australia’s current fleet of aging diesel electric submarines. Appropriately, the administration has been careful not to take sides in the intense competition among France, Germany and Japan to partner with Australia in the development of the new submarine. But senior U.S. officials and military officers are in no doubt both as to the superior capability of the Japanese Soryu class and to the long-term strategic benefits to the United States and the region of an interoperable fleet of Australian and Japanese conventional submarines equipped with U.S. combat systems—particularly in an increasingly contested maritime environment in which undersea warfare will be critical”


Anonymous said...

Japan and Australia are key pieces in the US strategy Pivot to Asia. France and Germany are not in the US equation for Asia.

MHalblaub said...


Japan is the best chance for the US to enforce an US combat system. That's all.


Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub

It is unfortunately reality (on economic, political and military interoperability grounds) that the US wishes to sell its Combat System to Australia in conjunction with Japan. Japan is the US's and Australia's major Pacific ally.

In comparison France makes largely unconvincing claims it is a Pacific power on the strength of ownership of tiny Reunion Is (Indian Ocean) and New Caledonia, French Polynesia and nuclear test islands in the Pacific. Germany less.

It would be interesting if TKMS (or German think-tank analyst) could make public quotes (with cost breakdowns) of what Germany would sell 10 subs to Australia for.



MHalblaub said...

The last public quote was $20 billion. The offers are already made.

In my opinion this was a rough estimation made by TKMS representative Atzpodien with a lot of margin for a lower price.

The costs for the Japanese submarines are dubious to me because I am not aware what is not included. Due to the Australian specifications e.g. US systems the price will raise.

If Japan likes to pay the submarines for Australia I would say: "Why not"

My point is still I doubt the 4,000 t requirement. Requirements should be about capabilities and not about mass.