Japan to Boost Sub Fleet

25.10.10

Categorie: Asia, China, David Axe, Japan, Kyle Mizokami, Naval |
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Soryu

Soryu class. Military Today photo.

by DAVID AXE

Japan has announced plans to boost its submarine fleet from 16 to 22 large diesel boats, plus two combat-capable training hulls, by slowing the traditional retirement rate. It’s a clear reaction to China’s growing fleet and increasing belligerence. Kyle Mizokami has more at his blog Japan Security Watch.

Note that many Asian powers are growing their sub fleets to balance China. Beijing now owns some 60 submarines, though most are small and short-legged and their crews inexperienced. South Korea is adding six to its 12-strong fleet; Australia wants to double from six to 12. Even poor neglected Taiwan has unlikely plans to add to its current two operational boats. The American attack-sub force should hold steady at around 50 large vessels.

Submarines are by far the most powerful warships — more dangerous than even aircraft carriers. Despite China’s growth as a naval power, in wartime Beijing would remain effectively bottled up by the combined submarine fleets of its major rivals.

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5 Responses to “Japan to Boost Sub Fleet”

  1. FooMan says:

    From active duty experience with South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, they all take ASW very very seriously. They realize from two world wars the effect that submarines can have on maritime strategy.
    Foo

  2. Also, remember that China is utterly dependent on shipping lanes to import resources and export goods. A blockade would be easy to implement and crippling in its effects.

  3. i says:

    Are any of them nuclear?

  4. aubrey says:

    Diesel boats are quieter than nuclear. You don’t need nuclear boats to play in your own backyard.

  5. Moose says:

    For local self-defense, diesel is the way to go. The USN projects power abroad, hence nuclear. Western SSNs are pretty damn quiet, plus larger size and more power brings better sensors.

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