Submarine Matters provides an expanding database on submarines worldwide. Australia should contract in 2016 to only buy a batch of 6 Shortfins - then, in the 2030s, decide whether to buy: 6 more Shortfins or 6 Barracuda SSNs or 4 Virginia SSNs. With increasing numbers of Chinese, Russian and Indian SSNs in Australia's region Australia's Shortfins cannot attain any 2016 Defence White Paper goal of being "regionally superior". Australia would need to buy SSNs to be "superior".
May 30, 2016
Part 2 - Undersea Webs - US-Japan-SE Asia-Indian Ocean SOSUS - 2005 on
The US-Japan "Fish Hook" SOSUS network. Map featured in the Ball and Tanter book The Tools of Owatatsumi (ANU Press, January 2015) Map 4, Page 54.
Part 1 - Undersea Webs ended with the initial phase of the
US-Japan SOSUS network which concentrated on tracking Soviet/Russian submarines
entering and leaving Vladivostock-Sea of Japan. This limited network was
permitted to rundown as the perceived threat from its initial Soviet/Russian
target diminished in the 1990s.
Part 2 – Undersea Webs describes how in the early 2000s this
limited SOSUS (+ with additional sensors eg. magnetic anomally) network was modernised
and extended South (down through East
China Sea, South China Sea/Philippine and Indonesian archipelagos through to
the Indian Ocean) against the new Chinese Navy (PLAN) submarine threat. There were also key nodes at US naval bases at Okinawa, Guam and in Taiwan. The
renewed threat from Russian subs and new threat from North Korean subs would
also have driven the SOSUS+ expansion.
Part 2 – Undersea Webs
"However, in the early 2000s, facing an increasing PLAN
submarine force and more aggressive PLAN submarine patrols, the USN decided
that it needed a new chain of fixed arrays designed primarily to monitor the
movement of PLAN submarines between the East China Sea and South China Sea on
the one hand, and between the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean on the other.
Thus was born the US-Japan ‘Fish Hook Undersea Defense Line’ in early 2005 [see map above],
stretching from Japan southwards to Southeast Asia, with key nodes at Okinawa,
Guam and Taiwan.
Beginning from near Kagoshima in the southwest part of
Kyushu, it runs down the Osumi archipelago to Okinawa, then to Miyako-jima and
Yonaguni in the southern part of the Ryukyu Islands, past Taiwan to the Balabac
Islands in The Philippines, to Lombok in the eastern part of the Indonesian
archipelago, across the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra, and from
northern Sumatra to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Three major gaps—between
Yonaguni and Suao in north-east Taiwan (120km), between Kaohsiung in
south-western Taiwan and the Dongsha (Pratas) Islands (450km) where the East
China Sea meets the South China Sea, and across the Bashi Channel (220km)
between Hengchun at Taiwan’s southernmost tip and Luzon Island in The
In addition, the USN installed a new SOSUS network,
stretching from Sasebo down to Okinawa, in 2006, when the US cable-laying ship
USNS Zeus [T-ARC-7] operated together with oceanographic survey vessels and nuclear
submarines in this area. In July 2013, Beijing claimed that the US and Japan had
jointly established ‘very large underwater monitoring systems’ at the northern
and southern ends of Taiwan. One of these stretched from Yonaguni to the
Senkaku Islands (about 150km), while the other covered the Bashi Channel down
to The Philippines.
Thus, this US-Japan undersea trip-wire around the PLAN
presently extends across the Tsushima Strait between Japan and the Korean
Peninsula, and from Japan’s southern main island of Kyushu down past Taiwan to
The Philippines. The curve of the hook stretches across the Java Sea from
Kalimantan to Java, across the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra, and from
the northern tip of Sumatra along the eastern side of India’s Andaman and
Nicobar island chain. Real-time information-sharing between the US and Japan
joins the undersea defence line-up, effectively drawing a tight arc around
Southeast Asia, from the Andaman Sea to Japan."
Part 3 - On China’s New Undersea Trip-Wire (SOSUS) appears on Thursday 2 June 2016.