Talks could begin between Japan and Australia about export of submarine developed technology.
Japan and Australia are expected to discuss matters related to submarine technology transfer, as well as the export of a Soryu-class submarine. Australian defence minister David Johnson will be visiting Tokyo later in October 2014 for a meeting with Japanese defence minister Akiori Eto. It has been reported that the decision to initiate the transfer and joint development could be made then.
Viewing the Chinese maritime expansion from the corner of its eye, Australian government has been lately making efforts in boosting its maritime security ties with various nations. The cooperation over submarines could be a step towards doing the same with Japan, to replace the country’s aging technology.
The Soryu-class submarine is a diesel-motor vessel that displaces about 3,000 tons, making it the largest conventional submarine in the world. It has a submerged speed of 20 knots and a surface speed of 13 knots, with a range of 6,100 nautical miles, equipped with high quality stealth.
So far, there are five vessels that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation have built for Japan, which have been deployed since 2009, at an estimated cost of $460 million each. So far, discussions have ben limited to joint defence research covering technology (hydrodynamics included) and equipment.
Under the new rule of the Japanese government that secures transfer of technology to third party countries, comprising three principles, if both nations jointly develop submarines that have designs and capabilities different from the original vessels, the government will not consider it a violation.
The pending defence cooperation between Japan and Australia is third of its kind for the country under the new rules, however, it is the first time the export of defence equipment is being gravely pursued.
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