politics

Japan eyes British help to sink German bid for Australian submarine

42 Comments
By Tim Kelly, Nobuhiro Kubo and Matt Siegel

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2015.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

42 Comments
Login to comment

I surmise there will be all sorts of financial skullduggery on this bid, from both sides.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Didn't Japan just finish insulting Australia on this when they mentioned the need to include local business -- like that Australia couldn't understand the technology for building, or something?

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Didn't Japan just finish insulting Australia on this

They did indeed.

It's funny how Japan went from clear and early favourite to desperately trying to salvage the deal, through their own dithering and ineptitude.

Actually, I think the Japanese government went all out to try to win this contract for the private sector, and it was the government that got Japan into the prime position at the begining. The private companies then dithered when all they had to do was say "yes" to a billiion+ dollars.

It's telling that the government is still playing the leading role in negotiating for Japan. "Private sector initiative" is non-existent in Japan, if anything, large Japanese companies are more bureaucratic than the government. But hey, it's their own future, and if they couldn't care less about deals of such magnitude, the market will ultimately decide on their worth.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

It's the Australian former Defense Minister that mentioned it first stating that he wouldn't turst the state owned ASC to build a canoe. Many Australians agrees.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Sad truth is that Australia doesn't have the technology or industrial base to build high-tech submarines. Maybe they should buy subs from China.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

smithinjapanJul. 28, 2015 - 10:52AM JST Didn't Japan just finish insulting Australia on this when they mentioned the need to include local business -- like that Australia couldn't understand the technology for building, or something?

@smithinjapan Yes they did imply that, however it was not an insult, it is reality. They were correct in their assessment, as an Australian I can tell you from my experience that we do not have both the technological capability (from my memory we haven't built Navy ships in any significant capacity since WWII, neither do we have the skilled expertise.

@Triring yes you are correct, the former Australia Defense Minister said that, and he was correct in saying so, many Australians, such as myself do agree, I wouldn't even feel confident in ASC's ability to put together a Lego ship let alone a canoe. Nick Xenophon needs to stop playing funny buggers with this, we aren't just dealing with the jobs of a few shipyard workers in his constituency, we are talking about NATIONAL defence and we need the most appropriate hardware to ensure that, considering the US has encouraged us to signup with the Soryu class, I know which one I'd be choosing .

3 ( +5 / -2 )

^Triring, the emphasis is on FORMER in your statement. Speaking as an Australia with a relative building the current AWDs in Adelaide, that minister didn't have the intestinal fortitude to say that in a room full of pipefitters and welders at the shipyard, did he? No, he said it from the safety of his desk in Canberra, the tough guy.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why do Aussies need those submarines? Nobody has intention to invade them. Besides, Australians are too lazy to operate such a sophisticated weaponry...

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

boboh

When he made that statement he was the ACTIVE Defense Minister.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan bombed Darwin in WW2, how ironic, now the Australians need to buy Subs from us..... hahahahah

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

@yamashi

Why do Aussies need those submarines? Nobody has intention to invade them.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

It's only a matter of time. Australia probably fourth on the DPRK's list, after ROK, Japan, and USA.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Why do Aussies need those submarines? Nobody has intention to invade

China has made a proposal of dividing the Pacific to USA that USA takes the East Pacific, China takes the West.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

^Triring, and....? We're aware of that. And now he's the FORMER defenCe minister, and its correct to assume his comments contributed to his becoming the FORMER defence minister. He did nothing when he was in that position and is now off the frontbench.

^Yamashi, so well informed! Australia has had submarines since 1915. Wow, a racial slur about our work ethic, how original, such stereotyping and generalisations do not impress.

^The Tiger. "Need"? Not yet we don't. Plenty of others in the queue, don't count your chickens before they hatch, mate.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@yamashi why does any country need a defence force, mostly as a deterant, also of note Australia has $trillions in natural resources, 30% of the worlds urainium, 15~20% of the worlds natural gas, gold, copper, rare earths, one of the largest iron/coal deposits in the world is the worlds largest iron ore & coal exporter, huge agricultural land resources, exports $billions in grain, rice, wheat. huge fish stocks etc etc. so yes there is plenty that a foreign power would find attractive about Australia, even Japan had eyes to take it during WW2. now if we look at Japan what does it have that would warrent invasion!? certainly doesnt justify the huge military budget they spend each year.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

tinawatanabe:

Really? The East Pacific is populated by a few tiny islands. And China gets Japan, the Philippines, Australia, etc. etc.?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

^Unamused, "from my memory we haven't built Navy ships in any significant capacity since WWII, neither do we have the skilled expertise."

Oh, really...?

"Eight ANZAC Class frigates from May 1996 to August 2006. • Six Collins Class submarines from July 1996 to March 2003. • Fourteen Armidale Class patrol boats from June 2005 to February 2008. • Six Huon Class minehunters from May 1999 to March 2003. • Two replenishment vessels, HMAS Westralia in 1989 and HMAS Sirius in 2006. • Two Leeuwin Class hydrographic vessels in May 2000. • Two Landing Platform Amphibious ships in August and November 1994.

Of the ships listed above, 36 were constructed in Australia"

from "Naval Shipbuilding: Australia's $250billion Nation Building Opportunity, Defence SA Advisory Board, December 2009"

0 ( +1 / -1 )

36?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

May the best wo(man) win.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good| Bad

bobohJul. 28, 2015 - 03:18PM JST

^Unamused, "from my memory we haven't built Navy ships in any significant capacity since WWII, neither do we have the skilled expertise."

Oh, really...?

"Eight ANZAC Class frigates from May 1996 to August 2006. • Six Collins Class submarines from July 1996 to March 2003. • Fourteen Armidale Class patrol boats from June 2005 to February 2008. • Six Huon Class minehunters from May 1999 to March 2003. • Two replenishment vessels, HMAS Westralia in 1989 and HMAS Sirius in 2006. • Two Leeuwin Class hydrographic vessels in May 2000. • Two Landing Platform Amphibious ships in August and November 1994.

Of the ships listed above, 36 were constructed in Australia"

from "Naval Shipbuilding: Australia's $250billion Nation Building Opportunity, Defence SA Advisory Board, December 2009"

Small fry buddy, 36 ships constructed does not count as substantial, especially compared to our neighbours even in SE Asia. The ANZAC class were reconfigured Meko class German frigates, the Collins Class (plagued with technical problems and insufficient for Australia's needs, was a reconfigured Swedish design). Next generation submarines such as the Soryu and those proposed by Germany, France are far beyond the technical capabilities and expertise of Australian shipbuilders, as the Japanese defence minister himself said it's difficult enough to construct in Japan, let-alone in a nation like Australia which has only ever poorly modified and attempted to reverse engineer other nations designs.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

^turbosat, yep, 36 out of the 40 listed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

they might be better off building more coastguard vessels to help them with their closed borders policy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The method of preparing the high tensile steel cladding for the sub is a rare skill. The outer skin is a 50mm thick High tensile Steel plate. This is not mechanically press into shape but by spot heating which only the most skilled tradesman have. This heat method leaves less stress fractures in the plating allowing for the sub to work deeper and longer. This skill has been lost for decades in Australia. So this mean asking these tradesman to move to alien place where the food and culture is total alien to them. To pass on their skill to Australian tradesman with the added problem of communicating verbally and in writing. Never happen. The USA and Japan for the first time have just competed in war games with the Australia Military in the annual NT hit out. This is a big move in Military developments for Australia to invite Japan to these war-games. This signal a greater military alliance between Australia and Japan. This is other reason why Japan are looking to win the Contract to build the subs in Nakasaki !!!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I have to agree with some of the comments about the difficulty Australia would have to build submarines, even with outside help. The past comments made by Japanese industry were simply the truth - Australia doesn't have the necessary skills at the moment to do some of the work.

That doesn't mean those skills couldn't be learnt, but I'm guessing that the Germany companies would charge a hefty premium for the training. You're also running the big risk that people make mistakes. And when you're building a limited class of boats, you don't really have room for error.

So it's really up to Australia. If they want to run the risk of another Collins-class, go for whoever offers the most work in Australia. However, if they want an affordable and reliable boat, the Japanese option sounds the best. There may be some fitting-out work in Australia, just not all the building there.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Really? The East Pacific is populated by a few tiny islands. And China gets Japan, the Philippines, Australia, etc. etc.?

Only waters at this stage, but China also said it could claim the ownership of Hawaii.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

^Unamused, you wrote no significant capacity since WWII. I'd agree with you but then we'd both be wrong. Those 36 were from '94 to '08- 14 years. Quite significant.

And it may have slipped your mind that, like car manufacture these day, ship design and manufacture takes place on a global setting. The current batch of AWDs are not built from the ground up here in Australia. You've probably never heard of it, but there's a build concept known as modularisation. The structures are actually made in Spain by Adventia (I think) and assembled here.

So of course Australia needs outside input, that's why Thales, BAE, Raytheon, etc etc are already here. Foreign corporations have a long history of defence contract work here. No reason the subs can't be built/assembled here. We have the infrastructure and the skilled workforce to do it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If they go with BAE systems, expect cost over-runs and late delivery.

I don't think they have ever made anything to budget and on-time, at least not for the UK Ministry of Defence.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@bobohJUL. 28, 2015 - 06:43PM JST

And it may have slipped your mind that, like car manufacture these day, ship design and manufacture takes place on a global setting. The current batch of AWDs are not built from the ground up here in Australia. You've probably never heard of it, but there's a build concept known as modularisation. The structures are actually made in Spain by Adventia (I think) and assembled here.

I thought you were trying to argue FOR the Aussies being able to build subs? The AWDs being mostly made in Spain and only cobbled together in Australia is not the most convincing evidence!

I think the Aussie shipbuilding industry must face up to the fact they had their Big Chance with the Collins, and they didn't make it work. Now they can either risk screwing the next project for their desires or they can do the patriotic thing and stand aside. The safest of the bets right now is probably Soryu (being actually a completed design) and if you really want safe you might just want to buy one or two whole before even playing with the combat system.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

What is wrong with offering a Sweetener to Australian shipbuilding, of Assembling them in Australia From pre fab sections made in Japan. It is a compromise that may just get Japan the Contract.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

^Kazuaki, I can explain it for you, but I can't understand it for you. As I said with the car manufacture example, very little heavy engineering these days is done bottom to top, inside out, in one country, by one company. It'd not viable, it's not possible. Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of modern heavy engineering, design and manufacture knows this. "Cobbled together"? Grow up.

^Ron Barnes, hurrah, someone who gets it, at long last, although the word on the street is apparently....... European.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

boboh

Your words is as hollow as a nation or more to the point a labor union that had lost all of it's work in the Auto manufacturing business.

ASC can't deliver at cost or on time as it had proven with the latest Hobart class destroyer production project.

Hobart‍ '​s keel was laid down on 6 September 2012, and the ship was launched on 23 May 2015, with 76% of construction complete. Brisbane was laid down on 3 February 2014. Block fabrication for Sydney will be completed in early 2016. Originally, the Hobart-class destroyers were to be operational between December 2014 and June 2017. In September 2012, the ongoing delays prompted revision of the entry-to-service dates to March 2016, September 2017, and March 2019. In May 2015, the DMO announced additional schedule slippage, with Hobart to be handed over to the RAN in June 2017, Brisbane due in September 2018, and Sydney by March 2020.

The original contract cost was A$8 billion for the three ships. By March 2014, the project was running A$302 million over budget. By May 2015, this had increased to A$800 million, with a predicted minimum cost overrun by project end of A$1.2 billion.

As a comparison JS-Izumo DDH 183 (19,500 tonnes) which is around 4 time larger then the Hobart, the keel was laid down at around the same time in Jan 2012 and had already been commissioned in Mar 2015. Australian ship construction is a joke and the entire Australian population that is not part of the industry is paying for it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

watanabe: Only waters at this stage, but China also said it could claim the ownership of Hawaii.

If USA and China alternates ownership of the entire Pacific every 10 years, it'd be a win-win for everybody. Just look at HongKong. Used to be a sleepy little fishing village.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If USA and China alternates ownership of the entire Pacific every 10 years, it'd be a win-win for everybody

If China won control of the Pacific, there's a good chance the US would go into a heavy isolationist phase and not try to take it back.

If the US did try to fight back after a decade, there's a fair chance China would go nuclear if it was losing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Shaky finger syndrome (hadn't had a beer all morning).

What I meant to say was:

@yamashi

"Why do Aussies need those submarines. Nobody has the intention to invade them."

Can't trust those damn Kiwis....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There's an argument for a submarine base with refurbishment facilities to be in the Pacific, outside the danger zone. Australia having that capability provides its strategic partners with many advantages.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Unfortunate use of the verb 'sink' in the headline to this story. If an attempt at humour it was wide of the mark.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A spokesman for Japan’s defense ministry said.....

“Japan is arguably ahead of the Germans and French in regard to its technology but lags in terms of doing business in Australia"

So is it all politics or who will ever know the specs!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan eyes British help to sink German bid for Australian submarine.

Here, a fake " gentleman" wants " help" from another gentleman to scuttle efforts of a rival. A real gentleman would say " May the best man win ".

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

As I said with the car manufacture example, very little heavy engineering these days is done bottom to top, inside out, in one country, by one company. It'd not viable, it's not possible. Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of modern heavy engineering, design and manufacture knows this. "Cobbled together"? Grow up.

Why is it not possible? In any case, even if we accept this argument, there is still the question of which part you got. If you got the assembly, well, I won't say it is NOT important since if you screw it up all the previous work goes to waste, but assembling completed modules is not the most educational experience.

THere is something called "knock-down" licence production, and that's not considered very educational because all the parts are pre-fabed and all you do is assemble them. It still takes skill, but the skillset is relatively narrow.

What is wrong with offering a Sweetener to Australian shipbuilding, of Assembling them in Australia From pre fab sections made in Japan. It is a compromise that may just get Japan the Contract.

Yes it might be the clincher. The big question is whether this is the best decision for Australia. Licence production in any way generally means accepting a greater expense than if you just agreed to buy the thing whole. In an era of limited defense budgets, it very likely means less capability since no one will authorize an extra budget to compensate for the monetary inefficiency. Defense just takes a hit to protect well something.

And that's if we assume they don't somehow foul up the assembly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Greatest obstacle is that Japanese Consortium and Govt won't allow the build take place outside of Japan and Germans have tons of experience with license build World Wide, plus Germans are willing to hand over the tech 100% and Japan is not... Koreans successfully built German U209 and U214 under license from over a decade ago and now planning to build a 3000 ton class completely on there own. Ultimately Aussies are aiming to the same but with Soryu Class that may not be possible, the key to deal may depend on whether J Consortium be willing to have the build occur outside Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

tokyodoumo

You really believe that SK's licence built subs are a sucess even when they are in dock most of the time? They have as many defects as the Australian Collins class subs.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Seems Germany is the top and so France is doing propaganda to convince France is the most advanced technology owned country in the world to build super sub in Aussie.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites