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Le Japon examine des options pour améliorer ses capacités hélicoptère en lutte anti sous-marine face à la menace chinoise

Le Japon examine des options pour améliorer ses capacités hélicoptère en lutte anti sous-marine face à la menace chinoise | Newsletter navale |

TOKYO — Japan's growing need to improve its anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities to counter quieter Chinese submarines in littoral waters could set off a three-way race between an upgraded indigenous platform against longer-term solutions, analysts said.

Last August, the Defense Ministry decided to start replacing its aging fleet of 46 SH-60J and 39 SH-60K Seahawk helicopters, providing an initial ¥7 billion (US $57.6 million) as part of a ¥48.1 billion development project. The procurement will lead to the deployment of about 80 new helicopters after 2022, MoD spokesman Tsuyoshi Hirata said.

The procurement mentions indigenous development, so it would seem to favor an easy upgrade of the SH-60K produced by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) with more advanced electronics, unless the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) is looking for a longer-term, more advanced solution, said Matthew Caris, an associate at Avascent Group, a Washington-based defense and aerospace consulting group.

"It seems like an odd time and a small amount of money to develop something truly new; perhaps it's the development of a new MHI H-60 variant with entirely indigenous electronics, which would make a lot more sense," he said.

A US-based source agreed the SH-60K provided a ready-made upgrade and was a logical move.

"The airframe itself is capable and already integrated into JMSDF operations, so a focus on improvements to mission system sensor and processing capability would likely be sufficient to most economically meet future helicopter ASW requirements," the source said.

But pressures are building that suggest the MoD may expand its search, analysts said.

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La Marine japonaise met en service son 6ème sous-marin conventionnel AIP classe Soryu (SS-506 Kokuryu)

La Marine japonaise met en service son 6ème sous-marin conventionnel AIP classe Soryu (SS-506 Kokuryu) | Newsletter navale |

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.

The keel for the first submarine in the class, Soryu (SS-501), was laid down in March 2005. It was launched in December 2007 and commissioned in March 2009. Unryu (SS-502) was laid down in March 2006, launched in October 2008 and commissioned in March 2010. Hakuryu (SS-503) was laid down in February 2007 and launched in October 2009 for commissioning in March 2011. The fourth and fifth submarines under construction are scheduled to be commissioned in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

SS-506 Kokuryu was laid down 21 January 201, launched 31 October 2013 and commissioned 9 March 2015

Main characteristics (as provided by Kawasaki Heavy Industries):
Length 84.0m
Width 9.1m
Depth 10.3m
Draft 8.4m
Displacement 2,950 Tons
- Kawasaki 12V 25 / 25SB type diesel engine 2 groups
- Kawasaki Kokkamusu V4-275R Stirling engine four
Propulsion motor: 1 groups
Number of axes: 1 axis
Speed 20 knots

Patrick H. 's insight:

Les sous-marins Soryu sont équipés d'une usine AIP de type moteur Stirling que Kawazaki produit sous licence suédoise Saab

Pour en savoir plus sur les différents procédés AIP utilisés dans la propulsion des sous-marins, dont le moteur Stirling, on pourra consulter cette page de synthèse très complète :

Les japonais seraient en passe d'abandonner l'AIP Stirling du moins pour leurs propres sous-marins (en ce qui concerne l'offre vers l'Australie, rien n'est clair...). Ainsi, le prochain Soryu devrait être un Batch-2 dont l'étude de conception avait démarré en 2007, mais qui a été un peu retardé. Defense News avait publié un article en octobre 2014 sur ce nouveau type. D'après ce qui était rapporté, ils semblent tout miser sur la technologie de batteries Li-ion sans l'associer à un système AIP de quelque sorte, ce qui serait une évolution technologique majeure. A suivre attentivement en tout cas. Pour mémoire, consulter l'article d'octobre :

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La France, l'Allemagne et le Japon invités à répondre à l'appel d'offres pour les futurs sous-marins australiens, mais pas la Suède

La France, l'Allemagne et le Japon invités à répondre à l'appel d'offres pour les futurs sous-marins australiens, mais pas la Suède | Newsletter navale |

The Australian Submarine Corporation can take part in the tender process to build Australia’s new submarines, provided it works with an international partner.

France, Germany and Japan will be invited to formally enter the contest to build Australia’s new submarines in a process which does not rule out construction in Adelaide.

But culled from the shortlist is Sweden - which designed Australia’s Collins class submarines - because it has been almost two decades since the last Swedish sub rolled off a production line.

Prime minister Tony Abbott said designing and building subs was about the most complex sophisticated process imaginable - akin to building the space shuttle - and just a few countries could do it.

The US and UK now only build nuclear submarines, while Australia usually does not buy such equipment from Russia or China.

“There’s Germany and France that are involved in a wider range of submarines and Japan which builds the best large conventional submarine in the world,” he told reporters in Adelaide.

Under the process announced on Friday, France, Germany and Japan will be asked to supply designs able to meet Australia’s requirements, options for construction in Australia, overseas or both, rough costings, and their positions on issues such as intellectual property.

The desired submarine will feature long range and endurance comparable to Collins but superior sensor performance and stealth.

It would be equipped with the US combat system and the US Mark-48 heavyweight torpedo, as now used on the Collins.

Abbott said this was a clear and defensible process to come up with some good options from which a choice could be made by year’s end.

He said under any possible scenario, there would be more submarine work in Adelaide.

The navy’s six Collins subs would remain in service for another two decades and they would continue to be maintained by shipbuilder ASC.
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La Marine japonaise pourrait assurer la protection des destroyers Aegis BMD sud-coréens qui contribuent à la défense ABM du Japon

La Marine japonaise pourrait assurer la protection des destroyers Aegis BMD sud-coréens qui contribuent à la défense ABM du Japon | Newsletter navale |

Tokyo is planning to revise a law to include any vessels contributing to Japanese defense

The Japanese government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) are currently discussing the idea of including a provision about protecting South Korean Aegis destroyers in a revised version of the Self-Defense Forces Law, which will be submitted to the regular session of the Japanese Diet, newspaper reports indicate. South Korea uses the Aegis destroyers to monitor ballistic missile launches by North Korea. “The Japanese government notified the ruling party of its plan to include a clause that would allow the Japan Self-Defense Forces to defend the warships of countries other than the US in a revision to legislation pertaining to national security, including the Self-Defense Forces Act, which it plans to submit to the Diet during the current session,” the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper said in a Jan. 27 report. “There is a growing sense inside the Japanese government that the militaries of other countries, including Australia, are likely to participate in a missile defense system. As a result, it began reviewing the idea of revising the law to enable the Japan Self-Defense Forces to defend the military units of other countries - not just the US - to ensure Japan’s security,” the newspaper said, explaining why the Japanese government had decided on this course of action. When the Japanese cabinet announced in June 2014 that it was altering its interpretation of the constitution to allow the exercise of the right of collective self-defense, it stated that it would revise the law to enable the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) to take the minimum necessary military action to defend US warships or other military units that are acting in concert with the JSDF to protect Japan. As a specific example of what such a revision might mean, the Japanese government explained that Japan could defend American Aegis destroyers off the coast of Japan that can detect ballistic missiles launches in North Korea. If the Japanese government’s plan takes effect, the JSDF would be responsible for protecting not only US vessels, but any vessels that are contributing to the defense of Japan. While the Mainichi Shimbun mentioned Australia as a country to which the plan could apply, realistically speaking, South Korea‘s Aegis destroyers - which are capable of tracking North Korea’s ballistic missiles - are expected to be the primary beneficiaries of protection by the JDFS. On Dec. 29, 2014, South Korea, the US, and Japan signed an agreement about sharing intelligence related to threats posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles. Concerns are growing that this information-sharing agreement will ultimately bring South Korea one step closer to joining the US-led missile defense program, while accelerating military integration between the three countries. “The cabinet decision only provides overall guidance. There is no problem with passing laws that include points that were not mentioned in the original decision,” a Japanese government official said in regard to the fact that the cabinet decision in July 2014 did not discuss an expansion of the JSDF’s defensive responsibilities.

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Le Japon propose à l'Australie de travailler "conjointement" sur la construction de ses futurs sous-marins

Le Japon propose à l'Australie de travailler "conjointement" sur la construction de ses futurs sous-marins | Newsletter navale |

TOKYO – Japan is proposing jointly building Australia's new submarines, instead of exporting a new fleet, a report said Monday, after concerns in Canberra over the effect on the domestic ship-building industry.

Under the proposal, Japan's defense ministry is to cooperate with Australia in developing special steel and other materials for its new submarines, while Tokyo will be in charge of assembling them, the Mainichi Shimbun said.

The Australian side has taken "a positive stance" on the proposal, the daily said, adding that the two countries may strike a deal by the end of 2015.

Australia needs to replace its fleet of diesel and electric-powered subs, which date from the 1990s, and Japan's high-tech ship-building industry is thought to be well-placed to win the contract.

But opposition politicians and industry groups in Australia protest that losing the contract could deal a potentially fatal blow to naval shipbuilding at home, with a knock-on effect for associated industries.

However, critics point out that Japan may be able to supply the fleet for as little as half of the cost of making it at home.

Japan is on a drive to promote its manufacturing industries abroad, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe touring the world as salesman-in-chief.

Abe has argued that Japan must play a bigger role on the global stage and has pushed to loosen post-World War II restrictions on when its well-equipped armed forces can act.

He has also relaxed a self-imposed ban on weapons exports, paving the way for the possible deal with Australia.

Immediate confirmation of the report was not available.

Patrick H. 's insight:

L'acier australien dont on parle serait en fait une propriété intellectuelle suédoise ; il aurait déjà équipé les Collins...:

Nouvel épisode de ce dossier qui aura fait couler beaucoup d'encre au cours de l'année écoulée :

Aucune décision cependant pour le en faveur d'une option japonaise ou des autres offres alternatives:

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Australie : pas d'appel d'offres ouvert pour le programme de remplacement des sous-marins Collins - le Japon favori

Australie : pas d'appel d'offres ouvert pour le programme de remplacement des sous-marins Collins - le Japon favori | Newsletter navale |

Australia will not hold an open tender to replace its ageing Collins-class submarines, government officials said on Tuesday, a decision that bolsters Japan's position as the likely builder of the new multibillion-dollar fleet.

Reuters reported in September that Australia was leaning towards buying as many as 12 off-the-shelf stealth submarines from Japan despite domestic pressure to build them at home.

Since then, several European defence contractors have said they would be price-competitive with Japan and do the work in Australia in a bid to win a piece of the overall A$40 billion (RM115.8 billion) submarine programme.

But the Australian government did not have time for an open bidding process, said Treasurer Joe Hockey.

"We need to make decisions now and we don't have time to go through a speculation process," Hockey told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

A spokesman for Defence Minister David Johnston said no manufacturer had been chosen.

Sources have said Australia is considering a replacement for the Collins based on the 4,000-tonne Soryu-class ships built by Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

They have said Canberra wanted a new lithium-ion battery propulsion system, which experts say would give the submarines better underwater range and speed compared with other diesel-electric vessels that use air independent propulsion under the sea, a system which requires fuel to operate.

Tokyo's next generation of Soryu submarines will be the world's first to be powered by the new technology.

"Japan is the only option for Australia because neither Germany, France nor Sweden has built 4,000-tonne class diesel submarines," a former senior Japanese navy commander told Reuters.

Swedish defence firm Saab, France's state-controlled naval contractor DCNS and Germany's ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems have all expressed interest in the Australian project.

Saab spokesman Sebastian Carlsson said the company still wanted to do business.

"We have flagged our interest and told them what we have to offer, and we want to hold discussions regarding that," he said.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, under fire after a bruising first year in office, had previously pledged the vessels would be built at the government-owned ASC shipyard in the state of South Australia.

But his cabinet began back-pedalling in July, signalling cost and schedule were paramount. Since then, pressure has mounted for a competitive tender.

Last week Johnston apologised after saying he would not trust ASC "to build a canoe".

Australia has said it would make a final decision in a defence review expected early next year. It needs to begin replacing its Collins submarines by the mid-2030s at the latest.

Such a deal for Japan would mark its re-entry into the global arms market, just months after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ended a ban on weapons exports as part of his efforts to steer the country away from decades of pacifism.

The opposition Labor Party on Monday sought to force the government to hold an open tender using a procedural motion in the upper house senate.

Influential independent South Australian senator Nick Xenophon criticised the lack of a tender, saying local jobs were at stake.

"This is no way to run Australia's biggest defence procurement this century," he told Reuters. – Reuters, December 2, 2014.

Patrick H. 's insight:

Un extrait de la dépèche REUTERS en français :

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Les nouveaux porte-aéronefs classe Izumo (ASA du 1er en 2015) vont considérablement augmenter la projection de force du Japon

Les nouveaux porte-aéronefs classe Izumo (ASA du 1er en 2015) vont considérablement augmenter la projection de force du Japon | Newsletter navale |

Japan's new Izumo-class helicopter carrier currently undergoing sea trials is expected to be commissioned in 2015. The new carrier will dramatically increase Japan's force projection in the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, raising concern in China.

The new Izumo-class helicopter carrier is undergoing extensive sea trials since late September, in preparation of the acceptance of the new carrier by Japan’s Self Defense Forces Navy.

JDS Izumo helicopter carrier is the first of two 30,000 ton (full load) Izumo-class ‘helicopter carrier destroyer’ (DDH) class vessels to be commissioned next year. Unveiled last month at the Yokohama port, south of Tokyo, JS-183 Izumo, is the biggest warship in Japan’s fleet since World War II, has been described by the Chinese media as an “aircraft-carrier in disguise”. Although the is configured with a large flight deck and hangars, designed to accommodate up to 28 helicopters, Izumo does not have catapults or arresting cables nor a ‘ski jump’ curved deck, assisting short take off of conventional aircraft. The Japanese Navy is highlighting the vessels’ ability to quickly respond to emergency or natural disasters.

The construction of the first ship of the class began in 2011 at an IHI Marine United shipyard in Yokohama, at a cost of $1.5 billion (113.9 billion yen). Commissioning of the first of class is currently scheduled for 2015 with the second ship of the class, yet unnamed, to follow in 2017.

Once commissioned, these Izumo-class vessels will more than double the current anti-submarine, anti-ship, and amphibious assault capabilities of the Chinese Navy, over the current force consisting of two helicopter carriers, operating the Shirane-class helicopter carrying destroyers, accommodating 9-10 helicopters. Those vessels are planned for decommissioning soon.

The Japanese navy also operates two 20,000 ton Hyūga-class helicopter destroyers – Hyūga and Ise, commissioned in 2009 and 2011. Each is configured to carry up to 18 helicopters. These vessels typically operate three SH-60K and one MCH-101 mine sweeping helicopters. Hyūga class carriers are also equipped with Mk 41 VLS common launcher, armed with ESSM anti-air and ASROC anti-submarine weapons. Izumo class has more sensors and electronic warfare assets, designed for anti-submarine warfare and border-area surveillance missions, its self-defense capabilities are limited to close-in weapon systems (CIWS) such as the PHALANX and SEARAM.

In addition to the larger capacity, the flight of JDS Izumo deck has 5 helicopter landing spots enabling simultaneous landings or take-offs. On deployments JS Izumo will carry a typical complement of 14 helicopters, seven ASW helicopters and two SAR helicopters. In addition, the ship will be able to transport 400 marines, 50 trucks and supplies.

Some analysts have speculated the Izumo could be adapted to carry F-35B (STOVL) and V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, but sofar official Japanese authorities have not addressed these speculations. A similar platform designed to operate those aircraft is twice as large as the Izumo – American LHA-6 – USS America – has recently been commissioned with the US Navy.

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Changement majeur sur les futurs sous-marins japonais classe Soryu : des batteries Lithium-ion et pas d'AIP

Changement majeur sur les futurs sous-marins japonais classe Soryu : des batteries Lithium-ion et pas d'AIP | Newsletter navale |

TOKYO — Japan has decided to power its new batch of Soryu-class submarines with Lithium-ion batteries instead of air-independent propulsion (AIP) technology — a move that could raise eyebrows after similar types batteries were faulted for fires aboard the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

However, experts brush aside those concerns and instead say this type of technological leap increases power and performance, while reducing maintenance. It also could make Japanese subs more marketable overseas.

Yasushi Kojima, a spokesman for the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF), said the change would affect the next four remaining Soryu-class submarines in Japan’s 10-boat class.

Senior officials from Australia, which struck a landmark technology agreement with Japan in June, told Defense News that they are aware of the switch to the Li-ion batteries and that they are still interested in pursuing Japanese sub-building technology, perhaps even purchasing Soryu-class subs outright.

The existing Soryu-class diesel-electric submarines (16SS) use AIP technology based on Kockums Stirling engines license-built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, allowing them to stay submerged for long periods. The engines power Sweden’s smaller Gotland-class submarines for up to two weeks at 5 knots.

The current Soryu-class submarines are propelled by a large electric motor that has three power sources: diesel engines, the AIP engines and main storage batteries. Diesel engines, which require oxygen for combustion, power the boats on the surface or while snorkeling. The boats can snorkel for extended periods to limit their detectability while transiting submerged (only the snorkel mast is above the water) or for short periods to quickly recharge their batteries after operating underwater. The AIP engines — which burn small quantities of diesel fuel and liquid oxygen — are used for long-range underwater cruising at low speed, and to keep the batteries topped off. The batteries are used for ultra-quiet operation as well as high-speed underwater operations, which quickly depletes them.

By shifting to Lithium-ion batteries, the new Soryus would retain their main propulsion diesels, but be equipped with more powerful and far lower maintenance batteries than lead-acid types widely in use.

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Vidéo : premiers essais à la mer du nouveau porte-hélicoptères japonais JS Izumo DDH-183

The Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) has begun sea trials of its helicopter carrier JS Izumo (DDH 183), a JMSDF official confirmed to IHS Jane's on 29 September.

The 248 m-long vessel, which displaces 24,000 tonnes at full load, is the largest Japanese military ship built since the Second World War and can carry up to 14 helicopters. Izumo and its yet unnamed sister ship (DDH 184) will replace the JMSDF's two Shirane-class destroyers, JS Shirane (DDH 143) and JS Kurama (DDH 144), inducted in March 1980 and 1981 respectively.

According to the JMSDF, Izumo 's sea trials are being carried out in preparation for the vessel's impending commissioning.

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L’Australie pourrait finalement acheter des sous-marins japonais

L’Australie pourrait finalement acheter des sous-marins japonais | Newsletter navale |

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan and Australia are leaning towards a multibillion-dollar sale by Tokyo of a fleet of stealth submarines to Canberra's military in a move that could rile an increasingly assertive China, people familiar with the talks said.

An agreement is still some months away, three people said, but the unprecedented sale of off-the-shelf vessels based on the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force's Soryu class sub is emerging as the likeliest option.

Such a deal would signal a major expansion of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's controversial drive for a more active military after decades of pacifism. Rival China regularly accuses Mr Abe of reviving Japan's wartime militarism.

Australia is eager to get the quiet-running diesel-engine subs from Japan, despite the political backlash that would follow from abandoning a government pledge to build the vessels at home, said a person with knowledge of Canberra's thinking. "It is the best option out there," said the source.

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Le Japon est en passe de commencer la construction de 2 nouveaux destroyers Aegis : prévision ASA 2020

Le Japon est en passe de commencer la construction de 2 nouveaux destroyers Aegis : prévision ASA 2020 | Newsletter navale |

According to Japanese newspaper The Yomiuri Shimbun, the Japanese government will start building two Aegis-equipped destroyers with the latest missile defense systems starting next fiscal year, in light of the progress seen in missile development by North Koreathe. The two new vessel will join an exisiting fleet of 6 Aegis vessels in the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces (JMSDF): 4 Kongo class Destroyers and 2 Atago class Destroyers.
It is not clear yet if the two new vessels will be a new class of destroyer or one of the two existing classes. Navy Recognition believes the two new hulls will be Atago class. Construction is set to begin next year for the first vessel and in 2015 for the second hull: This gives no time at all for any design work which would be mandatory if JMSDF had plan for a brand new class of destroyer.
The Atago class of destroyer is an upgrade of the Kongo class. Both vessels are fitted with the AEGIS combat system and SPY-1D radar both produced by Lockheed Martin.

Atago class
In 2000, the Japan Defense Agency Maritime Staff Office included another two Aegis ships in its five-year budget on top of the four Kongo class destroyers originally ordered. The Atago class is fundamentally an improved and larger version of Kongo class destroyers.

The vessels have all of the armament of the Kongo class but received a hangar space for to accomodate two SH-60 helicopters. Atago class destroyers displace 10,000 tons full load. JDS Atego DD178, was commissioned in 2007 and JDS Ashigara DD-178 was commissioned in 2008.

Kongo class
The Kongo class of guided missile destroyers serves as the core ship of the JMSDF's Escort Fleet. They are largely based on the United States Navy's Arleigh Burke class (Flight I).

4 Kongo class destroyers were commissioned between 1993 and 1998. They displace 9,500 tons full load.

• RGM-84 Harpoon SSM
• 61 VLS forward 29 VLS aft for: SM-2MR SAM, SM-3 Block IA ABM, RUM-139 Vertical Launch ASROC
• 1x 5 inch (127 mm) Oto-Melara main gun
• 2x 20 mm Phalanx CIWS
• 2x Type 68 triple torpedo tubes (6x Mk-46 or Type 73 torpedoes)

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Transfert de technologie japonaise de sous-marins vers l'Australie : accord en cours de finalisation

Transfert de technologie japonaise de sous-marins vers l'Australie : accord en cours de finalisation | Newsletter navale |

A huge submarine deal is on the table this week when Japan and Australia meet to shore up their military relationship, as the security architecture of the Asia-Pacific shifts to meet the challenge of a rising China.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera will play hosts in Tokyo on Wednesday to Julie Bishop and David Johnston, their respective opposite numbers, for the fifth round of so-called "2+2" talks.
High on the agenda will be discussions on the transfer of Japanese submarine technology to Australia, with Canberra needing to replace its fleet of stealth subs over the coming years at a reported cost of up to USD 37 billion.
This could see Tokyo's technology – or even entire Japanese-built vessels – used in the fleet, in a deal that would yoke the two nations together for several decades, binding their militaries with shared know-how. The expected step comes as China's relentless rise alters the balance of power in a region long dominated by the United States, with Beijing ever-more willing to use its might to push territorial and maritime claims.
A rash of confrontations in the South China Sea has set off ripples of disquiet in the region, as has the festering stand-off with Japan over islands in the East China Sea. The worries have encouraged a relationship-building drive across Asia, with Australia and Japan -- both key US allies – a notable pairing. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe signed a free trade pact and a security deal in April.
Following an Australian request, Tokyo will let Johnston see Japanese submarines during his stay, Onodera said. The Japanese defence chief also stressed that various "frameworks" – military pacts – grouping Australia, Japan, South Korea, and the United States are vital in ensuring security in East Asia. Increasingly, the outlines of a nascent coalition are becoming visible, says Takehiko Yamamoto, a security expert and emeritus professor at Waseda University. "Naturally, Australia finds Japanese technology attractive," he said, adding that the nation's prowess in precision-manufacturing for the highly sophisticated submarine kit was enviable.
Tighter ties between the two US allies, both with vast coastlines, are a part of a greater "security complex", also involving New Zealand and India, that serves to create a counterbalance to China, said Yamamoto. "It is a part of a long-term trend," he said.
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Accord Japon-Australie sur des projets de recherche en commun dans le domaine des sous-marins et de l'hydrodynamique

Accord Japon-Australie sur des projets de recherche en commun dans le domaine des sous-marins et de l'hydrodynamique | Newsletter navale |

The prime ministers of Japan and Australia agreed on 7 April to start talks on creating a framework for co-operation on defence equipment and technology.

Shinzo Abe and Tony Abbott agreed in talks in Tokyo that the two countries' first bilateral defence technology project will involve joint research into marine hydrodynamics, a joint statement said.

An official at the Japanese Ministry of Defence (MoD) told IHS Jane's said this would include the analysis of propulsion and water resistance around submarine hulls.

Abe and Abbott also confirmed that the two countries would hold '2+2' foreign and defence ministerial talks in Tokyo in June and work together to upgrade the interoperability of their respective defence organisations and to expand practical military co-operation, including joint drills.

The MoD and the Australian Department of Defence plan to exchange memorandums to start the joint research soon. The researchers, from Japan's Technical Research and Development Institute and Australia's Defence Science and Technology Organisation, will also examine improving propulsion efficiency through ship geometry and innovations in reducing propeller volume.

Both governments also reaffirmed their commitment to the trilateral alliance framework of Japan, Australia, and the United States in the light of increasing Chinese military activities in the East China and South China seas.


The announcement on bilateral defence technology co-operation comes hot on the heels of the 1 April Cabinet approval for Japan's new guidelines on defence equipment exports.

Australia has previously expressed interest in adopting Japanese propulsion technology used in the 4,200-tonne Soryu class in its Collins-class replacement fleet. However, Japanese MoD sources suggest that this submarine technology is seen as too sensitive, so a decision was made to start joint research on marine hydrodynamics instead.

"The decision to start discussions on submarines appears to reflect Australia's domestic concerns," the MoD official said.

Patrick H. 's insight:

Des discussions avaient lieu depuis janvier 2013 sur le partage de technologies dans le domaine des sous-marins :

En mars 2013, on apprenait que le Japon commençait à adopter une position assouplie par rapport à sa politique antérieure et que les discussions progressaient favorablement :

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La Marine japonaise prend livraison de son porte-hélicoptères Izumo

La Marine japonaise prend livraison de son porte-hélicoptères Izumo | Newsletter navale |

YOKOHAMA: Japan's Maritime Self Defense Force on Wednesday took delivery of the biggest Japanese warship since World War Two, the Izumo, a helicopter carrier as big as the Imperial Navy aircraft carriers that battled the United States in the Pacific.

The Izumo with a crew of 470 sailors is a highly visible example of how Japan is expanding the capability of its military to operate overseas and enters service as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks lawmaker approval to loosen the restraints of Japan's pacifist post-war constitution.

The 248 metre (813 feet) long Izumo resembles U.S. Marine Corp amphibious assault carriers in size and design but it is designated as a helicopter destroyer, a label that allows Japan to keep within the bounds of a constitutional ban on owning the means to wage war. Aircraft carriers, because of their ability to project force, are considered offensive weapons.

"The vessel can serve in a wide range of roles including peace keeping operations, international disaster relief and aid," Gen Nakatani, Japan's Minister of Defense said standing beside the vessel after a handover ceremony at the Japan United Marine shipyard in Yokohama.

"It also helps improve our ability to combat submarines.

Abe's moves to ease Japan's pacifist constitution and its build up in defence capabilities is unnerving neighbour China.

Japan is also adding longer-range patrol aircraft and military cargo planes to its defence capability, and buying Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets, amphibious assault vehicles and Boeing's Osprey troop carrier, which can operate from the Izumo.

The Izumo does not have a catapult necessary to launch fixed-wing fighters, but a planned vertical-take-off-and-landing (VTOL) variant of the F-35 could fly from the Izumo's flight deck.

Based at Yokosuka naval base near Tokyo, also the home port of the U.S. Seventh Fleets carrier battle group, the Izumo will join two smaller helicopters carriers already in service, that are also classed as destroyers.

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La Marine japonaise met en service le 1er hélicoptère MCH-101 de KHI spécialisé dans la guerre des mines

La Marine japonaise met en service le 1er hélicoptère MCH-101 de KHI spécialisé dans la guerre des mines | Newsletter navale |

Finmeccanica – AgustaWestland and Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) are pleased to announce the delivery of the first Airborne Mine Counter Measures (AMCM) equipped MCH-101 helicopter to the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. The KHI MCH-101, a licence built version of the AgustaWestland AW101 helicopter, is equipped with the Northrop Grumman AN/AQS-24A airborne mine hunting system and the Northrop Grumman AN/AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS). Together these systems provide a complete surface-to-bottom mine detection capability. The AW101/MCH-101 is one of only two helicopter types capable of towing the AN/AQS-24A and the only modern helicopter type.

The development of the AMCM variant of the AW101/MCH-101 has been led by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, as prime contractor, with AgustaWestland providing technical support. KHI has responsibility for system integration and design of the AN/AQS-24A carriage, deploy, tow and recovery system that is installed in the cabin. AgustaWestland in addition to providing technical support also modified the aircraft’s Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS) to be able to perform coupled towing patterns with the AN/AQS-24A.
Following the handover ceremony at Kawasaki’s Gifu factory on 27th February, the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force aircraft was delivered to Iwakuni where it will perform evaluation trials with the 51st Experimental Squadron before entering operational service in 2016.
The AN/AQS-24A is the only operationally proven, high speed airborne mine hunting system in the world. It features a high-resolution, side scan sonar for real time, detection, localization and classification of bottom and moored mines at high area coverage rates and a laser line scanner to provide precision optical identification of underwater mines and other objects of interest.
The AN/AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) uses pulsed laser light and streak tube receivers housed in an external equipment pod to image the entire near-surface volume potentially containing mines. The ALMDS pod is mounted on the port weapon carrier and data is displayed on the cabin mission console.
The first AMCM configured is the eighth of 13 AW101s that Kawasaki Heavy Industries is building under licence from AgustaWestland for the Japan Maritime Defense Force. The eight aircraft delivered to date comprise six MCH-101s and two CH-101s. The CH-101s are used to support Japan’s Antarctic research activities.

Patrick H. 's insight:

On retrouve sur cet appareil les systèmes de chasse aux mines utilisés sur l'hélicoptère MH-60S américain qui est un des éléments du Mission Package MCM des frégates LCS de l'US Navy

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L'Inde a proposé au Japon de répondre à l'appel d'offres du Projet 75-I sur la base d'une construction en Inde de sous-marins classe Soryu

L'Inde a proposé au Japon de répondre à l'appel d'offres du Projet 75-I sur la base d'une construction en Inde de sous-marins  classe Soryu | Newsletter navale |

NEW DELHI: Russia, France, Germany and Spain, all better watch out. They may have to contend with Japan in the race to supply submarines to India. In keeping with their expanding strategic partnership, the Modi government has asked the Shinzo Abe administration whether it would be interested in the over Rs 50,000 crore project to build six stealth submarines in India.
With Japan recently ending its decades old self-imposed arms export embargo, New Delhi has forwarded "a proposal" to Tokyo to "consider the possibility" of making its latest diesel-electric Soryu-class submarines in India, say sources.
This "feeler" dovetails into PM Narendra Modi's strategic outreach to Japan, as well as Australia and the US, since he took over last year. The possible sale of Japanese US-2i ShinMayva amphibious aircraft to the Indian Navy is already being discussed. Australia, too, is considering the Soryu submarines to replace its ageing Collins-class vessels.

The US, on its part, has been pushing for greater defence cooperation among India, Japan and Australia to counter China's assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region. The recent Obama-Modi summit led to the "joint strategic vision for Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region" with a direct reference to South China Sea, where China is locked in territorial disputes with its neighbours. Both Japan and Australia are also keen to participate in the annual Indo-US Malabar naval exercise on a regular basis, which has riled China in the past.

But the 4,200-tonne Soryu submarines, manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, may not meet Indian requirements. Japan will also be just one of the contenders for the mega programme, called Project-75-India, if it agrees to throw its hat into the ring.
Countries like France (ship-builder DCNS), Germany (HDW), Russia (Rosoboronexport) and Spain (Navantia) are already girding up, with the first three having the experience of building submarines for India.

The six new submarines, with both land-attack missile capabilities and air-independent propulsion for greater underwater endurance, are to be built at an Indian shipyard with foreign collaboration. "If Japan is really interested, it will have to form a joint venture with an Indian public/private shipyard," said the source. The Modi government wants to kick-start Project-75-I, which has not taken off due to politico-bureaucratic apathy since being accorded "acceptance of necessity" in November 2007, in the backdrop of India's rapidly depleting conventional submarine fleet.
A high-level committee, led by Vice Admiral AV Subhedar, is slated to submit a report to the defence ministry next month on the domestic shipyards which are capable of submarine-manufacturing. "The tender or RFP (request for proposal) to the shipyards should be issued this year," he said.
The Soryu submarines, incidentally, were inducted into the Japanese maritime self-defence force from 2009 onwards. Already equipped with AIP, Japan is now working to install lithium-ion battery propulsion systems in its next-generation of the Soryu submarines.

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Le Japon tente de vendre des avions de patrouille maritime nouvelle génération Kawazaki P-1 au Royaume Uni

Le Japon tente de vendre des avions de patrouille maritime nouvelle génération Kawazaki P-1 au Royaume Uni | Newsletter navale |

Japan is trying to sell Britain submarine-hunting patrol jets to replace the RAF’s axed Nimrod planes, as the country pushes arms exports for the first time in decades.

Officials proposed a sale of P-1 maritime patrol aircraft last year during a visit to the UK, in a deal that could top £600 million.

Britain scrapped its own Nimrod patrol planes after the 2010 cost-cutting defence review and has since had to rely on allies including France, Canada and America to fill the gap.

The Ministry of Defence admitted last month that it had called on allies to send four planes to search for a suspected Russian submarine off the Scottish coast.

Defence chiefs have said the lack of planes is one of the biggest gaps left by the defence cuts and the Government has said it wants to find a replacement, but a decision is unlikely before the General Election.

Defence sources said buying or renting Boeing P-8 submarine-hunting planes, which are already built and operated by the United States, remained the most likely choices as replacement.

Japanese officials raised the prospect of Britain buying the P-1, made by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, at Farnborough Air Show in July, the Reuters news agency reported.

Shinzo Abe, Japanese Prime Minister, has eased curbs on military exports and his Defence Ministry has been looking to tap foreign markets, including potential deals to sell subs to Australia and seaplanes to India. Mr Abe hopes that rejuvenating the country’s defence sector could in turn strengthen its military as it faces a new arms race with China.

Even if Britain doesn't buy, the P-1 could benefit from being treated as a genuine contender, Japan hopes.

"If the UK gives it serious consideration, then the P-1 will garner attention internationally," one Japanese source said.

The MoD said it was still able to provide maritime surveillance with a combination of ships, submarines and aircraft, while working with allies.

A spokeswoman said: “We will continue to assess future requirements ahead of a decision in the next Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2015.”

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Budget 2015 du Japon : des financements pour des V-22 Osprey pour le PH Izumo et pour 20 avions PATMAR Kawazaki P-1

Budget 2015 du Japon : des financements pour des V-22 Osprey pour le PH Izumo et pour 20 avions PATMAR Kawazaki P-1 | Newsletter navale |

Japan has moved closer to a Bell/Boeing V-22 Osprey acquisition, by including funding in its FY2015 defense budget. The country is boosting defense spending “to ensure the security of the seas and airspace surrounding Japan,” according to a budget document from the Defense Ministry in Tokyo.

The budget document states that “source selection is under way” for a tiltrotor, without specifying the V-22. The U.S. Congress has not yet been notified of the planned buy, but Boeing has confirmed that negotiations are proceeding. The country’s intention to acquire 17 tiltrotors to accompany the creation of an amphibious brigade was revealed a year ago.

The budget also provides funding for 20 Kawasaki P-1 maritime patrol aircraft worth $3.2 billion. First flown in 2008, the four-jet P-1 is intended to replace the country’s large fleet of P-3C Orions. But the budget also provides for further capability upgrades and life extensions for some P-3Cs. Another indigenous development in the maritime domain is signaled by the allocation of $58 million for a new anti-submarine helicopter. Meanwhile, a further five SH-60K helicopters are being acquired, built under license from Sikorsky by Mitsubishi.

Despite moving forward with a planned upgrade to its fleet of four land-based Boeing E-767 Awacs, Japan is also evaluating new AEW&C aircraft, according to the document. The requirement for persistent wide-area surveillance UAVs is restated. The Northrop Grumman Global Hawk is the expected candidate to meet this requirement.

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Tractations sous-marines

Tractations sous-marines | Newsletter navale |
En juillet dernier, l’Australie et le Japon ont signé un accord commercial. Depuis, les rumeurs enflent concernant l’achat de sous-marins japonais par Canberra. Un événement plus significatif qu'il n'y parait, autant pour le Japon que pour l‘Australie, et susceptible de changer la donne sécuritaire dans la région. Décryptage....

...Face aux débats, le choix s’est porté sur le Soryu de fabrication japonaise. Or, ce transfert technologique, fruit de 30 ans de recherche nippone, est controversé. Déjà pour de nombreux Japonais, leur technologie ne devrait pas être exportée. De plus, l’Australie risque de beaucoup perdre dans ce marché historique plutôt que de s’assurer une position confortable. En effet, la construction de ces concentrés technologiques se ferait au Japon. Cette perspective promet d’être fructueuse pour l’économie japonaise, moins pour l’industrie et l’emploi australiens. Une petite entorse au Livre Blanc australien qui promettait que ces sous-marins seraient assemblés dans le sud de l’Australie et alimenteraient les chantiers navals nationaux. Mais la fabrication par l’ASC Adelaïde coûterait deux fois plus cher qu’une fabrication sur l’archipel. Le dilemme de l’Australie frôle les 60 milliards de dollars. Le gouvernement tente de justifier son choix par les restrictions budgétaires nécessaires...

Lire l'intégralité de l'article sur le site ENDERI :

Patrick H. 's insight:

Malgré les développements récents qui ont suivi l'accord commercial de juillet dernier, l'affaire semble encore loin d'être conclue. Le gouvernement de la Province d'Australie du Sud pousse pour conserver une construction en Australie de ces sous-marins sur les chantiers d'Adelaïde et convoque un sommet sur ce sujet pour très bientôt :

De plus, DCNS cherche très vraisemblablement à revenir dans la course avec la présentation au salon Euronaval d'un nouveau projet de sous-marin conventionnel (SMX Ocean) de fort tonnage et de grande autonomie susceptible de répondre aux exigences de la Marine australienne :

Yves Aneste's curator insight, October 13, 2014 3:53 AM

Le partenariat sous-marin Australie/Japon progresse. Lire aussi le commentaire de Patrick H sur la Newsletter Navale :


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Le PH Izumo, plus gros bâtiment de combat japonais depuis la 2ème guerre mondiale, prend la mer pour la 1ère fois

Le PH Izumo, plus gros bâtiment de combat japonais depuis la 2ème guerre mondiale, prend la mer pour la 1ère fois | Newsletter navale |

Japan’s largest warship since World War II has left for its first set of sea trials last week ahead of entering the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF)fleet next year.

JS Izumo (DDH-183) departed Tokyo Bay on Sept. 23, as seen as in a video on YouTube, for the first round of what will be about six months of sea trials ahead of the ship’s commissioning next year, a JMSDF official told Jane’s Defence Weekly on Monday.

The 24,000-ton helicopter carrier is the first of two planned ships. Izumo will enter the JMSDF force next year. DDH-184 will enter the fleet in 2017, according to the Naval Institute’s Combat Fleet’s of the World.

The development pair of ships have fomented regional controversy since the formal start of the program, in part because of their strong resemblance to aircraft carriers

“It is an aircraft carrier, and Japan just called it a helicopter destroyer to downplay its aggressive nature,” Zhang Junshe with the People’s Liberation Army Naval Military Studies Research Institute told China Daily last year.

To Japan’s neighbors, even the name Izumo is a loaded word.

“The original Izumo, an armored cruiser that participated in the Battle of Tsushima, was purchased with reparations from the first Sino-Japanese War,” wrote USNI News contributor Kyle Mizokami last year.

“There is little doubt all parties, particularly the Chinese, are aware of the lineage.”

Though billed by Japan as primarily an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and humanitarian and disaster relief (HADR) platform, its character is more in line with the U.S. Navy’s America-class of amphibious warships.

Izumo is large enough to field 14 helicopters and has the capacity to carry 400 troops. Japan could also field V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft from the ship. Ospreys are used by U.S. Marines to deploy troops from the sea and were successfully test onboard Japan’s Hyuga-class DDHs in 2013.

It’s conceivable the helicopter carrier could also accommodate the short takeoff/ vertical landing (STOVL) variants of the F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) but Japan has said publically it has no intentions of fielding JSFs from the ships.

But — like the aviation centric America — the ship is not equipped with a well deck to deploy troops via landing craft.

Following World War II, the Imperial Japanese Navy was largely sunk and its pacifist constitution only allowed for military force in a direct threat to the country.

However in the last year, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has led a push to expand the scope of Japan’s military cooperation and its ability to develop its military export industry.

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L'Australie va probablement choisir des sous-marins japonais pour un montant de $20 milliards

L'Australie va probablement choisir des sous-marins japonais pour un montant de $20 milliards | Newsletter navale |

SEVENTY-TWO years after Japanese submarines attacked Sydney Harbour, the next generation of Australian submariners will be put to sea in boats made in Japan.

In one of the biggest and most contentious defence equipment decisions in decades, the Abbott Government will select the Japanese-built Soryu Class submarine to replace locally built Collins Class boats as the navy’s key strike weapon beyond 2030.

A decision to spend more than $20 billion on up to 10 of the Japanese vessels will be announced before the end of the year.

That is six months ahead of the release date for the Abbott Government’s first Defence White Paper.

The decision is being fast-tracked due to growing concerns about the massive cost of maintaining the Collins boats beyond their use-by-date of 2026. Some estimates put that cost at more than $2 billion.

“The Government cannot afford a submarine capability gap and every day past 2026/27 when Collins class is due to begin decommissioning, adds days of risk,’’ a senior defence source said.

The 4200-tonne Soryu Class boat carries a crew of 65 and is powered by an air-independent propulsion system that allows it to remain submerged for much longer periods that other conventionally powered submarines.

Range has been a major factor against the design — the Soryu has a range of about 11,000 km at 12 km/hr compared with 22,000 km at 19 km/hr for the Collins Class - but it is understood that one option under consideration is to provide submarine basing facilities in Northern Australia (Darwin) to cut the transit distances to the boats’ patrol areas by thousands of kms.

The purchase price for the Japanese built boats would be about half the price of an Australian option.

German builder TKMS told a conference earlier this year that it could build 12 submarines for $20 billion.

Both German and French submarines remain in the running, but senior sources told News Corp Australia that the Japanese option was clear favourite.

The decision will anger government owned South Australian shipbuilder ASC and the SA Government and it finally breaks the government’s election promise to “build 12 submarines in Adelaide”.

“It is ludicrous to think we can design a submarine — nobody believes that,” one insider said.

Given that the Collins fleet will not reach its availability benchmark (the amount of time a vessel is available for service) until 2016 (20 years after entering service) the government does not want to risk a submarine capability gap.

ASC will remain the centre of submarine sustainability and will play a key role in the future frigate project with work estimated at $1 billion a year flowing to South Australia by 2023.

However the yard’s woeful performance on the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) project ($600 million over budget and three years late) has left the government with little option but to look elsewhere for a new submarine.

“With a record like that is anyone seriously thinking we should proceed and build a fleet of future submarines in the same shipyard?” a government source said.

News Corp can also reveal that when the Commonwealth signed up to the AWD contract, it was informed by Treasury that it would incur a premium of $1 billion.

According to government auditors the premium for local production is about 30 per cent or $15 billion for a locally built submarine. That is the entire cost of the Joint Strike Fighter project.

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Le Japon et les Etats-Unis vont développer en commun un drone sous-marin de 10 m de long à pile à combustible

Le Japon et les Etats-Unis vont développer en commun un drone sous-marin de 10 m de long à pile à combustible | Newsletter navale |

Tokyo (AFP) - Japan and the United States will jointly develop a fuel-cell powered submarine that can run for a month under the sea on a single charge, a report said on Friday.

The top-selling Yomiuri Shimbun reported that the unmanned, 10-metre (33-feet) long sub would be able to chart a pre-programmed course before returning to base.

The story, citing unnamed Japanese defence ministry officials, comes as Tokyo and Washington look to beef up their security alliance as they warily eye an increasingly assertive China.

Defence ministry officials could not immediately confirm the deal.

The submarine would be used for patrolling with sonar capable of detecting potential threats, but it would not be equipped with torpedos or other weaponry, the Yomiuri said.

Japan's defence ministry would earmark about 2.6 billion yen ($25 million) over the next five years to develop the high-performance fuel cell, it added.

The US military reportedly got involved when it heard about its Japanese counterparts' plans for a fuel-cell sub.

Fuel cells generate emissions-free energy through a chemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen, and are most commonly associated with environmentally friendly vehicles.

Japan is a leader in the technology while the US a major player in hydrogen storage development.

In June, Japan and Australia announced a possible submarine development deal as they stepped up their defence ties.

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Le Japon envisage l'acquisition d'au moins un porte-aéronefs d'assaut amphibie

Le Japon envisage l'acquisition d'au moins un porte-aéronefs d'assaut amphibie | Newsletter navale |

Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera has said that Tokyo is to consider the purchase of at least one amphibious assault ship.

"We are intending to acquire a transport ship capable of promptly sending out Self-Defense Force (SDF) units on missions to defend Japan's remote islands," Onodera told reporters after inspecting the Wasp-class assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) at the US Navy's San Diego base on 7 July.

"It's a multifunctional transport ship capable of providing assistance in a timely manner when a major disaster breaks out," he said.

The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) already operates three Osumi-class tank landing ships (LST), JS Osumi , JS Shimokita and JS Kunisaki , which all have a well deck embarking two Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) hovercraft and a parking deck that can embark land vehicles.

Access is via lifts to the main deck or a ramp on the starboard side. The main deck is split between space for more land vehicles and a large helicopter landing pad aft the superstructure.

The Japanese Ministry of Defence confirmed to IHS Jane's in January that the Osumi class will be upgraded to allow them to embark BAE Systems AAV7A1 amphibious assault vehicles and Bell-Boeing MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, both of which Japan intends to buy from the United States.

Asked about the difference with the existing Japanese ships, Onodera pointed to the fact that the Wasp class can carry many more LCACs below deck, and that the upper deck can carry many aircraft including MV-22s. He also said the ship is also fully compatible with operations using AAV7s.


Onodera's comments are in line with the Mid-Term Defense Programme (FY2014-18), which was adopted in December 2013 and stated that "the SDF will consider what the role should be of a multipurpose vessel with capabilities for command and control, large-scale transportation, and aircraft operations, which can be utilised in various operations such as amphibious operations, and reach a conclusion regarding its acquisition" by FY2018.

The Osumi-class upgrade can be seen as one element of this but the move to purchase a new platform is a longer term aim. Osumi was Japan's first flattop in the post-war period and so had its capabilities limited by defence planners to avoid any suggestion that it could have an offensive amphibious role.

This sensitivity has been trumped by the perceived threat from China to Japan's offshore islands, which has dominated MoD strategic planning discussions in recent years due to the escalation of the Senkaku/Diaoyu island dispute in the East China Sea.

In addition to platform procurements and upgrades, Japan is also setting up a marine corps-style force from Western Army troops based in Nagasaki, and has undertaken an increasing number of amphibious drills with the US Marine Corps and other countries.

Nonetheless, in San Diego Onodera was keen to stress the disaster relief capabilities of Makin Island and another Wasp-class ship USS Essex , which he said "played a crucial role" in the response to the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan.

He also failed to mention one key element of the Wasp class' capabilities: that it embarks fighter aircraft in the form of BAe-McDonnell Douglas AV8B Harrier IIs, which are to be replaced by the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II.

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Asie-Pacifique : analyse AMI International sur le marché naval au Japon

Asie-Pacifique : analyse AMI International sur le marché naval au Japon | Newsletter navale |

Japan has just modified its ban on arms exports, partially lifting a ban in effect since the end of WWII and likely sparking an arms industry that heretofore stuck to making weapons for the Japan military.

Largely a reaction to saber-rattling by China and North Korea, the export ban is accompanied by plans to import the F-35 and other advanced weapons.

“The F-35, arguably, is intended to counter Chinese acquisition of fifth-generation fighters, such as the J-20 and J-31, as well as the acquisition of advanced surface-to-air missile systems,” said Dean Cheng, a China military specialist at the Heritage Foundation. “The ability of fourth-generation fighters, such as the F-15 and F-16, to operate within the operational envelope of systems such as the [Russian-built] S-300 and S-400 [surface-to-air-missile] systems is open to question.”

Japan is also modernizing its C4ISR capabilities to better coordinate existing forces.

“This includes an overhaul of the Japanese space capability, beginning with the Basic Space Law, allowing the Japanese security establishment access to the nation’s satellite systems,” Cheng said.

Japan is also trying to develop a US Marines-type force with amphibious vessels and craft to protect the Senkaku Islands (called the Diaoyus by China).

“This requirement was established in 2013 as a result of Chinese activities that are becoming more provocative to sovereignty of Japan, her contiguous seas and island claims,” Beitinger said.

Beitinger said Japan is also buying up to four helicopter carriers to augment its Osumi-class amphibious platform docks; additional area air defense/ballistic missile defense destroyers called the 33DDG to go with its Atago-class destroyers; multimission 25DD destroyers to improve air defense and replace the anti-ship and anti-submarine frigates. The Japanese are also expected this decade to start building air independent propulsion (AIP) submarines to replace the Harushio class.

“Japan is also training in retaking ground, specifically countering amphibious operations, which would suggest a specifically Chinese focus,” Cheng said. “Thus, we are seeing shifts in deployment, changes in training.”

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