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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Old Enemies Partner For Naval Supremacy

Bitter enemies because of World War II, Japan and Australia have, in the ensuing decades not only become allies, but trusted partners - even when it comes to creating weapons.

What would have been unthinkable in the 1940s, Australia and Japan celebrated a partnership with each other against another enemy by cracking open a barrel of sake on a Japanese warship in Sydney Harbour at the Royal Australian Navy Garden Island base.

Time heals all wounds
Last month, September 11, 2014, aboard the Japanese ship Kashima (see above photo), Japan and Australian officials said all the right things about each other with no one mentioning how back in May of 1942 Japan raided the same harbor killing many Australian soldiers.

Instead, the focus was on the future, with a mention of how the two were allies back during the Great War of World War 1, when Japanese cruisers escorted Aussie troopships traveling to the Middle East.

But, despite the new-found friendship devised to protect one another against big-bad China - should it decide to go a-conquering, there was still an eyebrow or two raised against just how far the alliance with Japan goes.

Australia is purchasing Japan-designed submarines to replace its older RAN (Royal Australia Navy) fleet... but wait it gets worse...

Australia is also considering building the new subs IN Japan, when all they did do was CHOOSE a design.

Now to be fair, most political pundits are not up in arms about the fact that Australia is purchasing a Japanese-designed submarine, but rather more about WHY it would choose NOT to build the subs in Australia where it could spike the country's manufacturing sector a bit.

And... this news comes on the heels that automobile manufactures Toyota (Japan), and Ford and General Motors (USA) will be cutting ties with producing their vehicles in Oz.

Has the world turned upside down? The automakers' decisions had a lot to do with Australia Prime Minister Abbott announcing it was going to cut subsidies to the auto sector.

With a lack of scientific engineering innovation being done in Australia, the fear is that the country merely be known for resources (mining et al), farming (everybody loves to eat kiwi), tourism and bee-ah (beer), and especially its scorching hot female population with that sexy accent of whatever language it is they speak in Australia.

The Australian Bikini Parade. How amazing a country IS Australia?!?!?

It could cause a brain-drain in Australia, with the hot and brainy Aussie science and engineering chickies heading elsewhere for work (I think there are openings in Japan, should you be worried).

Canada had its own major rocket scientist brain drain back in the late 1950s when the Canadian government, in 1959, scuttled the Avro Arrow CF-105 jet that was faster (Mach 2.0) and better than any other plane in the market... effectively taking Canada away from the space age... the Canadian Avro engineers and scientists were scooped up by many foreign firms, including NASA as literally rocket scientists, and helped propel the US into the lead in the space race to be the first on the Moon. Yer welcome.

On the other hand, some pundits might also suggest that with the major brain drain in Canada, it was why it opened its doors to further immigration, needing to replace the super-smart people with folks from say India. They got me instead.What me worry?

Back to Australia and its loss of a manufacturing sector... just give the car companies back their damn subsidies! You called their bluff and it turns out their four aces beats your two Crocodile Dundee's and one Yahoo Serious.

Is It A Sub, Hero Or A Hoagie?
The U.S. and the U.K. were two countries that Australia has always had a great working relationship with, and both make submarines... just not the conventional non-nuclear type that Australia wants.

The Japanese Soryu-class submarine is small-ish at 4,200 tons, comes with a Stirling air-independent propulsion system to stay under water for two weeks, has a ultra-modern hull shape (whatever that means - I suppose it doesn't look like a hoagie, hero or sub sandwich) and has X-shaped rear tail fins that provide the watercraft with awesome maneuverability.

TheSoryu-class submarine.

The Soryu-class submarine utilizes a diesel-electric propulsion system that can get'er up to 20 knots. A knot, in speed terms, is equal to one nautical mile (1.852 kilometer) per hour, approximately 1.151 miles (1.82 kilometers) per hour.

Apparently no other design came closer to what Japan required than this Japanese model, but the submarine design still has to be modified to provide a larger fuel capacity for the longer travels required by a continent perched a bit more out of the way than what Japan would use it for.

Having a larger non-nuclear fuel need and thus capacity will of course mean that the whole balance of the Soryu-class submarine would be thrown out of whack - so it would have to be redesigned for better balance.

As well, Japan isn't well known for their creation of submarine weaponry, so the submarine design would have to be tweaked to include a U.S. combat system.

Now... as you can see, nothing is etched in stone...

Australia might still rethink the idea of having Japan build the eight subs - reported to cost about $20-billion Australian dollars... (about the same in US and Cdn bucks, but is about ¥1.9-trillion)... aside from the loss of Australian economy, there is also the question of service.

Do you HAVE to have the Japanese service it? If so, that's more money out to Japan. What about retrofits? Can Australia do it, or would Japan also have to do it? Money to Japan. What about when Japan provokes China into a war? Sorry, I mean, what if Japan gets attacked by China and is involved in a real-life game of Minesweeper - will they have the resources to continue servicing the subs?

Australia is like its cousin Canada - no one really hates them, so the only way it goes to war is if its allies need them too. Then... then its a ware between the two to see which nation has the best soldiers!
Don't agree? You can fight it out amongst yourselves.

Still, unless the Australian government gets cold feet and reneges on the deal - and how could it? They opened up a keg of sake fer crissakes! - Japan and Australia will be working together again - this time without the sneak attack by a Japanese sub on Australia.

This time, Australia can see it coming.

Andrew Joseph

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