03 Jun 15. An influential Australian senator on Thursday hit out at Japanese defence officials over comments that Australia was incapable of building a version of a high-tech Japanese-designed submarine at home. Germany’s ThyssenKrupp and France’s state-controlled naval contractor DCNS separately are competing with a Japanese government-led bid for Australia’s A$50bn ($38.84bn) next generation submarine project. Japan, which had been the front-runner in the planned sale of about 12 vessels to replace Australia’s ageing Collins class submarines, is under pressure to build at least some of the boats in South Australia. But on Wednesday, the former commander of the Japanese submarine fleet, Masao Kobayashi, cast doubt on Australia’s ability to build them.
“They don’t have enough skilled workers to fashion the high-tension steel; it’s even hard to do in Japan,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
Another Japanese submarine captain, Toshihide Yamauchi, raised concern to the ABC about Australia’s ability to safeguard sensitive Japanese intellectual property.
“We’re worried about leaks to China once our technology is in Australia,” he said.
Independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon hit back over the comments, calling them a “disgrace”.
“It’s widely known that both the German and French teams are ready, willing and able to build state-of-the-art, ultra-reliable submarines on Australian soil,” Xenophon said.
“The Japanese appear to be trying to find excuses to have $50bn worth of Australian taxpayers’ money spent largely entirely in Japan.”
A deal to supply a variant of Japan’s 4,000 tonne Soryu-class submarine would give Japan its first major overseas deals after Abe eased curbs on arms exports last year that had isolated defence contractors for seven decades. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is eager to deepen security ties with Japan, reflecting a U.S. desire for its two allies to take a bigger security role in Asia as China’s military might grows. Eager for that deeper cooperation, the United States is backing the Japanese-built submarine packed with American surveillance, radar and weapons equipment, sources familiar with Washington’s thinking have told Reuters. But Abbott is facing intense domestic political pressure to secure the thousands of manufacturing jobs that the build would bring, and Japan had previously seemed willing to compromise over where the submarines would be built.
Xenophon said the comments showed that Japan was not ready to take part in the biggest defence procurement project in Australian history. (Source: Reuters)
28 May 15. PAKISTAN – Budget 2015-2016 includes security infrastructure along economic corridor. The Pakistani government has decided to allocate PKR772bn (USD7.57bn) for national defence in FY2015-16. This represents a 10 per cent increase from the allocation in FY14-15 which stood at PKR700bn (USD6.87bn). News reports have suggested that the government is considering a separate allocation of PKR45bn (USD441.37m) for securing the Zarb-e-Azb military operation and the Pak-China economic corridor projects. If this is approved, the total defence budget would stand at PKR817bn (USD8.01bn). (Armed Forces pay and pension amounts are not included in this figure.) The new fiscal year will begin from 1 July. The government has set an economic growth rate target of 5.5 per cent and inflation target of 6 per cent for fiscal year 2016, according to a budgetary framework that the Finance Ministry shared with the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue. The IMF, on the other hand, projects Pakistan’s economic growth rate at 4.5 per cent for the next year, somewhat higher than the downward revised number of 4.1 per cent for fiscal 2015. Last week, Pakistan committed to the IMF that it would limit its budget deficit for the fiscal year ending 2016 to 4.3 per cent of the total economy. (Source: MPI – Hawk Information)
22 May 15. Spain Tops-Up Defence Budget