Over half of the world’s submarines will be in Asia by 2030, as Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, India, China, Taiwan, Vietnam and Singapore, modernize their militaries and look to hedge against instability by building undersea fleets.
* Pakistan is buying eight submarines from China and is looking for surplus European submarines
* Vietnam has getting delivery of six Russian Kilo Submarines
* China has more attack submarines than the USA (US has 71) and is building about ten per year
* Japan is expanding its navy and submarine fleets
* Australia is getting 8-12 new submarines
* India is expanding its submarine fleet with new purchases
The 6th Soryu-class SSK, SS-506 Kokuryu, (meaning Black Dragon) was commissioned into service with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) at the Kawasaki Heavy Industries shipyard in Kobe on March 9th.
The Soryu Class diesel-electric submarines are being built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). Ten Soryu Class submarines are planned for the JMSDF. The class is an improved version of the Oyashio Class submarine.
Japan’s navy operates six Soryu attack subs and 11 older Oyashio-class vessels. It plans a total fleet of 22 submarines. The JMSDF has focused on its submarine buildup specifically because they are more out of sight and less expensive than large surface warships. Before considering the risk of accelerating China’s military buildup and possibly moving the region to a full-blown arms race, developing a carrier fleet would also require Japan to boost its defense spending beyond the psychological barrier of 1 percent of GDP.
Japan’s response to Chinese anti-access/area-denial threats rest on three planks: increasingly large helicopter carriers, next-generation 3,300-ton Soryu-class submarines and new Aegis destroyers.
This strategy is further enhanced by plans to deploy 20 Kawasaki P-1 maritime patrol aircraft as replacements for the P-3C, and upgraded SH-60K sub-hunting helicopters.
Analysts believe that since the National Security Committee has agreed to the deal in principle, it is likely to go ahead.
The officials also requested US $294 million to upgrade ATR-72 maritime patrol aircraft. Two un-upgraded aircraft are in service, and officials hope to acquire more.
Pakistan operates five French submarines.
Its two Agosta-70s were acquired in 1979 and 1980, respectively, and despite upgrades they are widely acknowledged by analysts to be well past their prime and in need of replacement. Three air-independent propulsion (AIP)-equipped Agosta-90Bs, which are a development of the Agosta-70s, were commissioned from 1999 onward.
The Pakistan Navy requires 12 submarines laid out in the Armed Forces Development Plan (AFDP) 2015 and a later revised plan.
The Chinese Yuan-class submarine is reportedly one of the types of subs possibly under consideration by Pakistan.
Taiwan has not been able to buy submarines because Australia, Germany and Netherlands do not want to damage relations with China. Taiwan is planning to produce their own submarines. The USA does not produce conventional diesel submarines but only nuclear submarines. Therefore, the USA was unable to fulfill a pledge by President George Bush to get 8 diesel submarines for Taiwan.
China is pursuing joint-design and production of four to six Russian advanced diesel-electric attack submarines containing Russia’s latest submarine sonar, propulsion, and quieting technology.
“The deal would improve the PLA Navy’s capabilities and assist China’s development of quiet submarines, thus complicating future US efforts to track and counter the PLA submarines.”
China is commissioning three nuclear-powered Type-093G attack submarines which have the capability to fire supersonic anti-ship missiles. The Type-093G is engineered to reduce noise, improve speed and mobility and fire the latest YJ-18 supersonic anti-ship missile, capable of causing significant damage to aircraft carriers.
China now operates a greater number of attack submarines than the US military and is rapidly expanding the scope of its undersea missions and patrols.
Australia’s government has signaled the military will be spared from cuts amid mounting budget pressure on spending, defending plans to spend 50 billion Australian dollars (US$39.39 billion) on powerful new submarines as a bulwark against instability in Asia.
A fleet of eight to 12 conventionally-powered submarines would need more range and armament than the country’s current aging fleet of six submarines when they came into service next decade.
Defense Minister Kevin Andrews said firms from Germany, Japan and France are competing on the contract. Mr. Andrews said the government remained committed to lifting the current A$29 billion defense budget to 2% of GDP by 2024, up from 1.8% currently. Australia is also boosting its air force with at least 72 new stealth fighter aircraft, missile warships, amphibious landing ships and armored vehicles.
The government last month announced a 10-month competitive evaluation process for diesel-powered submarines that will weigh Japan’s 4000 tonne Soryu class submarine against Germany’s Type 216 design and a conventionally powered version of France’s 5000 tonne Barracuda nuclear submarine, manufactured by DCNS.
India is in talks with Japan for six Japanese Soryu-class diesel-electric submarines. This would be about an $8 billion order. India currently has 15 submarines.
SOURCES – Navy Recognition, Defense News, Maritime Technology News, Independent UK, War is Boring, National Interest
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