03/05/2015: The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force(JMSDF) submarine JS Hakuryu (SS 503) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Credit:Commander Submarine Forces Pacific:2/27/15
According to Wikipedia:
- The Sōryū-class submarines (16SS) are diesel-electric Attack submarines that entered service with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force in 2009.
- The design is an evolution of the Oyashio class submarine, from which it can most easily be distinguished by its X-shaped tail planes.
- The Sōryūs have the largest displacement of any submarine used by post war Japan.
- The class are fitted with air-independent propulsion based on Kockums stirling engines license-built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, allowing them to stay submerged for longer periods of time.
- The cost of the sixth submarine (“Kokuryu”) was estimated at 540 million USD.
- Japan may offer Sōryū-class submarines to Australia to replace the Royal Australian Navy’s Collins class submarines as part of the Collins-class submarine replacement project.
- On 9 April 2014 Australian Defence Minister David Johnston while discussing Australia’s future submarine options described the Sōryū-class as ‘extremely impressive’
With regard to the Australian option, this Bloomberg story from December 17, 2014 highlights the way ahead for Australia.
Australia is considering buying top-secret technology from Japan to build a fleet of new generation submarines, a move that would risk reigniting diplomatic tensions with China only recently smoothed over.
China and Japan are competing to build their domestic arms industries, and for China the export of Japanese military technology is particularly sensitive given their wartime history and territorial disputes. Choosing Japan to play a role in the multi-billion dollar submarine project could prompt a stern response from Australia’s biggest trading partner.
Australian Defense Minister David Johnston has confirmed “unsolicited proposals” to build the submarines had been received from Japan, Germany, Sweden and France, with a decision on the replacement of the country’s aging diesel-powered submarines expected by March. Alongside Australia, countries such as Vietnam and India are expanding their submarine fleets as China seeks greater military clout in the Pacific.
“The government’s preference seems to be the Japanese, but there are still lots of hurdles,” said Mark Thomson, a defense economics analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. “Japan hasn’t exported sensitive military technology before and while a deal would mean ties between two close U.S. allies would strengthen, it would be seen in China as a dark cloud.”