It’s all very well to try to design anti-Chicom ententes but, further to this post,
how to keep strategic desires in line with industrial and naval realities? At SubWeek:
Opinion: Aggressive Politicking Threatens Australia’s Submarine Program
Australia’s submarine project does not need added risk
Next to combat aircraft, submarines are often the most expensive weapon programs in any nation’s budget. They are also regional-strategic weapons in any conflict that has a maritime dimension, even if that is confined to a belligerent’s need to import energy. The submarine’s combination of stealth and persistence gives it a unique capability: It’s a threat, even if it isn’t there…
Australia’s Sea 1000 project is one of the largest defense programs outside the nuclear powers, aiming to replace six Collins-class boats with 12 larger craft, which will be among the largest diesel-electric submarines (SSK) ever built. Unsurprisingly, it is also rapidly becoming politicized, with many observers concerned that Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government has already settled on a favored solution—to team up with two Japanese zaibatsu, Mitsubishi and Kawasaki, on a development of the Soryu-class submarine (see photo).
In a widely quoted statement in February, Abbott called the Soryu “the best conventional submarine in the world.” The same description was used by Vice Adm. Robert Thomas, commander of the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet, who was quoted last October as having told Australia’s then-minister of defense: “You want to find the finest diesel-electric submarine made on the planet—it’s made at Kobe works in Japan.” Reuters reported in July that Britain’s Babcock and BAE Systems were interested in joining the Soryu team.
A Japanese-Australian marriage with the U.S. Navy as matchmaker is politically attractive. All three parties are focused on the Pacific and China. The U.S. likes to see Japan more outward-looking as an alliance partner, and may be happier to see the General Dynamics BGY-1 combat control system and U.S. weapons—both Australian desires—on a Japanese-Australian SSK than on an alternative.
This trend is nevertheless unwelcome to Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) and France’s DCNS, the world’s leading exporters of SSKs and the alternative suppliers for Sea 1000. Also, it is not a low-risk solution to a risky project, following the major delays and overruns in the Collins-class program…
At any rate Canada won’t be in the market for new subs–if ever–for a long time to come: