01 March 2016
With Australia’s release of its defense white paper last week, the race to build the country’s next generation of submarines enters the home stretch — and some experts say the Japanese bid appears to hold an insurmountable lead.
The white paper says the country’s submarine force will be increased from six to 12 “regionally superior submarines with a high degree of interoperability with the United States.”
Requirements include the submarines having “a range and endurance similar” to the Collins class of vessels that the Royal Australian Navy currently operates, as well as “sensor performance and stealth characteristics superior” to its current subs.
Experts note that Japan’s diesel and electric-powered Soryu subs either meet or could be specially designed to meet most of these requirements. A decision is expected sometime this year.
Sam Bateman, a former Australian naval commodore and adviser at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said a deal with Japan “would not be well received in China.”
“It would be seen in Beijing as Australian participation in the U.S.-Japan effort to contain China,” Bateman said, adding that such “cooperation is actively promoted by both Tokyo and Washington as part of balancing an ascendent China.”
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 02/03/2016