07 Oktober 2015
Soryu class submarine (photo : pinoycyberkada)
Japan has offered to build Australia a larger version of its ultra- stealthy 4000-tonne Soryu, or Blue Dragon, submarine to dramatically increase its range.
The “enhanced” Soryu diesel-electric submarine, which could be built in Australia, would be powered by a new and safer generation of highly efficient lithium ion batteries developed by Japanese engineers.
The 88m long Soryu would be extended with the addition of a new hull section 6-8m long, which would be placed behind the submarine’s fin, The Australian was told in a briefing yesterday.
Japan, which is one of three contenders bidding to build Australia’s submarines, has prepared several options to be considered by the Royal Australian Navy and the Turnbull government, which include taking about 300 Australian engineers and other specialists to its Kobe shipyard to learn the skills needed to build the submarines in Australia.
The space saved by using the lithium ion batteries, which are smaller and more efficient than the much larger lead acid batteries now used, along with the additional room provided by the new hull section would give the Australian submariners room for a great deal more diesel to be carried along with the additional stores needed on the RAN’s months-long voyages.
SEA1000 concept from Japan at PACIFIC 2015 (photo : Navy Recognition)
It would also come with increased accommodation for the larger crews needed on long voyages and longer bunks for taller Australians.
There would also be room for separate quarters for male and female crew.
The submarine would come with equipment from the Soryu, including a snorkel allowing it to suck in air to run its diesel engines while submerged in a typhoon.
Members of a delegation of industrial and defence officials and military officers in Sydney said Japan was very keen to co-operate on the new submarine fleet to further develop the strategic relationship between the two nations.
Masaki Ishikawa, assistant commissioner for acquisition, technology and logistics at the Japanese Defence Ministry, said all of the necessary technology would be transferred to Australia, including Japan’s revolutionary stealth technology, which made the Soryu difficult to detect.
Members of the delegation said they would need an Australia partner and Adelaide’s ASC, formerly the Australian Submarine Corporation, which built the navy’s six Collins-class boats, would be a good fit.
They were impressed with the ASC shipyard but some equipment there would have to be replaced to accommodate the enhanced Soryu, which would be much larger than the Collins.
Japan has already worked closely with other nations on the highly sophisticated and top secret US-designed Aegis anti-missile system and on the Joint Strike Fighter.