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".
January 15, 2017
Missile Threat to Japan Perilous - Talks
Japan's three tiered anti-missile defense program. The main threat is nuclear tipped ballistic missiles from North Korea and to a lesser extent China. Japan hasn't decided whether it will, or can, deploy the third tier (known as THAAD). (Diagram courtesy Asahi Shimbun)
COMMENTS We in Australia have no idea how serious the conventional and especially nuclear threats are to Japan. Threats to Japan are a major reason why yesterday's Japan-Australia talks featured regional security so highly.
The nuclear missiles (without their warheads) that North
Korea has tested for years near Japan are causing greater Japanese anxiety.
reason is that North Korea has been steadily shrinking formerly too large
nuclear warheads to a
small enough size to fit on missiles.
- another reason is North Korea is developing submarines that could fire nuclear missiles.
China has a much more mature and powerful nuclear arsenal than North Korea. China has had missile warhead sized nuclear weapons since the 1960s and submarine fired nuclear missiles since the 1980s.
A North Korean or Chinese nuclear missile could reach Japan in under 5 minutes - hence Japan is worried.
To meet these threats
Japan is developing increasingly comprehensive anti-missile missile defenses to
shoot down North Korean and also Chinese missiles.
“...Japan currently relies on
a two-pronged approach for missile defense, but is considering adding a third
element because of the rapid advances in missile technology by North Korea.
...Japan's current missile
defense involves a two-tiered system.
Outside of the atmosphere, SM-3 interceptor rockets
launched by Aegis vessels would target ballistic missiles, while surface-to-air [Patriot] PAC-3 missiles
would be aimed at the ballistic missiles once they re-enter the atmosphere.
Based on the Medium-term [Japanese] Defense Program for the period
from fiscal 2014 until fiscal 2018, the number of Aegis destroyers capable of
carrying SM-3 rockets will double from the current four. Improvements will also
be made on the SM-3 and PAC-3 missiles to expand the range over which they can
shoot down ballistic missiles.
...A major hurdle for deploying the THAAD is cost.
Putting the system into play would require hundreds of billions of yen [many US$
Billions], which may be beyond what the [Japanese] Finance Ministry would
sanction given the nation's tight fiscal crunch.