26 Nov 15. Japan may submit its bid this week for Australia’s future submarine programme. Japan is reportedly planning to submit its bid this week for Australia’s SEA1000 future submarine competitive evaluation process (CEP). Nikkei Asian Review reported that the Japanese proposal will include three options to jointly develop and manufacture submarines in Australia or Japan, or in a split arrangement. Japan’s Soryu-class diesel-electric boat will compete against French company DCNS’s Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A design, and German firm TKMS’s Type-216 submarines.
The future submarine project is the country’s largest defence procurement programme, representing an investment of $50bn. Australia is seeking to build submarines with range and endurance similar to the Collins-class vessels, as well as superior sensor performance, and stealth characteristics. This new submarine fleet is expected to fill a capability gap in the mid-2020s, when the Collins-class submarine is scheduled to retire from service. In June this year, the Australian Government established an Expert Advisory Panel to oversee the competitive evaluation process for the submarine programme.
The preferred bidder is expected to be announced in the first quarter of 2016. Featuring a new Australian-developed hydrodynamic design, the modified Soryus for the programme will operate on lithium-ion batteries and be armed with a new heavyweight torpedo that will be jointly developed by Australia and the US, reported USNI News. Built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s (JMSDF) Soryu-class diesel-electric submarine is an improved version of the Oyashio-class vessel.
23 Nov 15. SDSR 2015: UK surface fleet set to trade quality for quantity as Type 26 numbers are cut. Key Points:
• Strategic review unveiled plans for a new class of smaller, cheaper general purpose frigate that will allow the RN to increase frigate/destroyer numbers by 2030
• Type 26 numbers reduced from 13 to eight
The Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) has re-cast plans for the future size and shape of the UK Royal Navy’s (RN’s) surface fleet, announcing an intention to increase frigate/destroyer numbers over the long term through the introduction of a new class of general purpose frigate, but trimming the Type 26 Global Combat Ship (GCS) programme back to just eight vessels.
In addition, two more offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) are to be built – on top of the three Batch 2 River-class OPVs already on order – as part of a new national shipbuilding strategy tied into the wider fleet recapitalisation. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
23 Nov 15. SDSR 2015: UK commits to full F-35B procurement, fast tracks initial deliveries. The UK has committed itself to buying its full lot of 138 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters, at the same time as fast
The UK government has committed itself to the full programme-of-record of 138 Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft, as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) released on 23 November. Under the announcement the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Navy (RN) are to get all of the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35Bs that they requested to equip the two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers at sea and to replace the Panavia Tornado GR4 on land. Under its previously held plans, the UK had committed itself to just 48 F-35s, of which only eight would be ready for use on the carriers by 2023 (the date that the full operating capability for both the ships and the aircraft were set to be declared). In pre-empting the government’s announcement for the first 42 jets to be procured at an accelerated rate (24 will be deployed on the carriers with 18 to be used for training), Chancellor George Osborne said that the 24 F-35s deployed aboard Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales would afford the UK the second most powerful carrier strike capability