April 2, 2016

Japan's First Ship-Sub FONOP in South China Sea starts April 3 - 6, 2016

Japan's older class JS Oyashio (SS-511) training submarine has no AIP but relies on lead-acid batteries. The Oyashio class preceded the better known Soryu class. This will be the first Japanese submarine visit to the Philippines in 15 years. Behind Oyashio can be seen 
destroyer JS Ariake (DD-109). (Photo courtesy Agency France Press-JIJI via Japan Times).

This submarine and the two Japanese destroyers (below) will be at the Philippine naval and commercial port of Subic Bay for a three-day port visit, from Sunday April 3 to April 6. The two destroyers, but not submarine Oyashio, will then sail on to Cam Ranh Bay Naval Base, Vietnam. This can be considered a Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP). This is because the two destroyers will cross the large zone in the South China Sea defined by China's self-proclaimed Nine-dash-line (see maps below). 

Japan is providing increasing aid to the Philippines (including small observation aircraft and in future small patrol boats) and plans to give aid to Vietnam (if requested by Vietnam).

Japan probably sails naval ships across the South China Sea more frequently but this early April 2016 movement is quite widely publicised - so it may prompt a Chinese reaction, perhaps in several days.

 Visiting Subic Bay, Philippines, April 2016, then visiting Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, later in April 2016 is JS Setogiri (DD-156) (an Asagiri-class destroyer), Commissioned 1990, 5,000 tons full load of the Asagiri class. Upfront behind the gun is a Mk.16 (Type 74) ASROC anti-submarine rocket octuple launcher (this carries 8 rockets, each with a lightweight torpedo). Amidships are 2 x  quadruple Harpoon launchers. One MHI built SH-60J(K) anti-sub helicopter.

JS Ariake (DD-109) a Murasame-class destroyer, above is visiting Subic Bay, Philippines, April 2016 then visiting Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, later in April 2016.

Note Subic Bay is at Luzon, the large northern island of the Philippines.

China has, by itself, decided to claim most of the South China Sea within its artificial "Nine dash line" (Map above) (Map courtesy GeoGarage).


In answer to “It is reported that Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force plans to send a submarine to the Philippines along with two warships that will then sail on to Vietnam. What is China's comment on that?”  The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs March 7, 2016 Press Conference spokesmen answered

“It needs pointing out that cooperation among relevant countries should be conducive to regional peace and stability instead of targeting a third party, still less harming the sovereignty and security interests of other countries. Japan once illegally occupied China's islands in the South China Sea during WWII. We are on high alert against Japan's attempt to return to the South China Sea through military means.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry may again complain at Press Conferences on April 6, 7, 8, 2016. Watch this space.

Please connect with:

Submarine Matters reported previously on this FONOP at Japan's Navy and Aid Becomes More Active in the South China Sea, March 8, 2016.

As reported in Submarine Matters the article Subic Bay, Philippines, Still Important to US Navy, November 12, 2015 many US ships and submarines visit Subic and Manila Bays each year.



Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Last year, the Philippines defense secretory submitted wish list [1] of defense equipment to Japan comprised of P3-C Orion submarine hunter, Shirane-class destroyer [2],Oyashio-class submarine and Hayabusa-class patrol boat [3]. Japan behaves carefully, but, a certain country is suspicious.

Defense Minister, Gen Nakatani will visit the Philippines to obtain consensus for lending of trainer (TC-90) in this late April [4].

[4]http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20160403/k10010466091000.html (JPN)


Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Helicopter destroyer DDH-182 Ise will call at Subic Port in the Philippines in April or later [1, 2]. J MSDF also plans to conduct a joint drill with the Philippine Navy. Ise is second largest destroyer of JMSDF and has one of the strongest anti-submarine capabilities provided by latest combat system [3]. Details of plan is yet announced

In Apr/05/2016, Maritime Staff Office announced Ise will also visit Indonesia in the middle of April [4].

Ise equips ATECS (Advanced Technology Combat System) comprised of ACDS (Advanced Combat Direction System; OYQ-10), Fire control system (FCS-3), ASWCS (Anti-Submarine Warfare Control System; OQQ-21) and Electronic Warfare Control System for surface ship (EWCS), where each system is connected through SWAN (Ship Wide Area Network)

[4] http://www.mod.go.jp/msdf/formal/info/news/201604/20160405-02.pdf “On the participation in Multilateral Naval Exercise “Komodo 2016” host by Indonesian Navy and Indonesian Navy International Fleet Review”
(Aim) Improve the skill, strengthen mutual understanding and promote trust with participating countries and among through participation in the multilateral naval exercise on humanitarian support and disaster-relief host by Indonesian Navy for Komodo 2016. Promote friendship and goodwill with participating countries and acquire an international way of thinking for International Fleet Review.
(Period) Apr/12-Apr/16 for Komodo 2016, and Apr/12 for International Fleet Review
(Place) Padang surrounding sea and airspace
(Contingent and personnel) Destroyer Ise and about 360
(Details) Training of search & rescue, command post training, table top training for Komodo 2016, and participation in International Fleet Review