Japan Self-Defense Forces

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US Navy ends search for Japanese F-35A in the Pacific

US Navy file photo of a cable-controlled undersea recovery vehicle (CURV-21)

The US Navy is concluding its support for the search and recovery operations of the Japanese F-35A fighter jet that went missing over the Pacific, off Misawa Air Base on April 9.

A US Navy salvage team aboard the contracted vessel DSCV Van Gogh completed its mission after locating debris from the downed JASDF F-35A.
Working with JSDF forces, the salvage team deployed a US Navy remotely operated vehicle, CURV 21, to survey the area where debris was located.
Prior to the salvage team mission, guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) and multiple P-8A Poseidon aircraft joined JSDF-led search efforts from Apr. 9-17, covering more than 5,000 square nautical miles.

The plane crashed during a regular training mission. Parts of the jet’s tail fin were recovered shortly after the accident. Japan’s defense minister confirmed to reporters that parts of the plane’s data recorder had been found but the recorder’s memory is yet to be retrieved.

 

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Probe finds F-35's first crash was caused by manufacturing defect, in revelation that could affect Japan plans to buy aircraft
Bloomberg, Staff Report
May 12, 2019

WASHINGTON - The crash of a U.S. Marine Corps F-35B that temporarily grounded the entire fleet of next-generation jets in 2018 was caused by a manufacturing defect in a fuel tube made by a United Technologies subcontractor, according to congressional investigators.

The defect “caused an engine fuel tube to rupture during flight, resulting in a loss of power to the engine,” the Government Accounting Office said last week in a report on major weapons systems that referred to the September crash in South Carolina. The Pentagon told the watchdog that it identified 117 aircraft — about 40 percent of the worldwide F-35 fleet at the time — with the same type of fuel tubes that had to be replaced.

The disclosure was the first official information about the crash since the Pentagon program office in late October issued a status statement while the Marine Corps was still conducting its investigation. United Technologies Corp.’s Pratt & Whitney unit “is fully responsible” for “the propulsion system and has the lead in working” the failure analyses, according to the statement at the time.

A spokeswoman for the Pentagon F-35 program office deferred comment to Pratt & Whitney, whose spokesman, John Thomas, said the company had no comment.

Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Chris Harrison said in a statement that the crash probe is continuing, and that the results will be released once complete. The marines have replaced all of the relevant fuel supply tubes and “we continue to strive each and every day to ensure the safety and readiness of our aircraft,” he added.

The F-35 is the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program, at a projected cost of more than $428 billion.

The Sept. 28 crash of the F-35B near Beaufort, South Carolina, was the first in the two-decade old program’s often-rocky history of delays, cost increases and technical glitches. Although the pilot safely ejected, the incident prompted concerns about the aircraft, which is being built by and sold to an international consortium of U.S. allies, including the U.K, Italy, Australia and Turkey. Japan currently plans to procure a total of 147 F-35 fighter jets, 105 of which are expected to be F-35A models. The rest will be F-35Bs, which are set to be deployed on two Izumo-class warships that the Defense Ministry plans to convert into multipurpose aircraft carriers.

Last month, a Japanese F-35A crashed off Japan’s coast, with only portions of the jet’s wreckage found since then despite a monthlong search. The cause of the crash is under investigation. The jet’s pilot hasn’t been found. Japan has said that the crash would not affect its procurement plans, and it was unclear if the new revelations would spur any change.

The Pentagon program office said last year that “more than 1,500 suppliers are on the F-35 program and this is an isolated incident which is quickly being addressed and fixed. Safety is our primary goal.”

The defective part identified in the report provides operating pressure to the engine and fuel to the engine combustor.

Aside from the defect, Pratt & Whitney’s recent track record delivering engines on time has been spotty. Deliveries surged to 81 in 2018 from 48 in 2012, according to the GAO — yet 86 percent of those were delivered late, up from 48 percent in late 2017. The delays were due in part to an increase in the “average number of quality issues per engine” — 941 in 2018 against 777 a year earlier, the GAO said.

Pratt & Whitney told the GAO that “its late engine deliveries increased in 2018 partially due to a subcontractor that did not have all of the needed tooling in place to produce more F-35B engines,” according to the report.

 

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‘You can’t see them’: Japan set to buy 100+ US F-35 stealth fighter jets, Trump boasts
27 May, 2019

Tokyo has agreed to purchase 105 brand-new US-produced F-35 warplanes, US President Donald Trump said on Monday during his state visit to Japan. The announcement comes as Washington locks horns with Turkey over the planes.

The arms deal would give Japan the largest F-35 fleet among Washington’s allies, Trump told reporters following talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Sharing some wisdom, the US president also proudly explained that the planes are “stealth because the fact is you can't see them.” Lavishing more praise on the fifth-generation high-tech weaponry, he noted that Tokyo was among the top buyers of American arms last year.

The upcoming deal, which may reportedly cost Japan a whopping $10 billion, has been discussed since December 2018 as Shinzo Abe’s government approved an increase in the country’s order for Lockheed Martin’s stealth fighters.

Meanwhile Japan’s existing fleet of F-35A fighters has been recently plagued by technical problems resulting in at least seven emergency landings during the past two years. The latest incident, which occurred in early April, saw a combat plane disappearing off radars and crashing in northern Japan due to cooling and navigation issues.

In 2017, the Pentagon revealed that “2,769 deficiencies” were identified in the performance of F35 jets. Further reports suggested some F35s have a life span four times shorter than the expected 8,000 flights, while the aircrafts’ guns accuracy is “unacceptable.”

F35 is Lockheed Martin’s most lucrative weapons program, estimated at $1.2 trillion.

While Japan’s F-35 deals seem to run smoothly, deliveries to another NATO ally, Turkey, were blocked by the US over Ankara’s purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems. Washington demands the S-400s are replaced with US Patriot batteries and has threatened to exclude Turkey from the F-35 program. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan however maintains that Ankara is not going to step back on the S-400 deal, indicating that “it is a defense system, not an attack system.”

 

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'Flaws' in data for Aegis Ashore deployment rile Japan's politicians
June 6, 2019
By Elizabeth Shim

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Japan's Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya apologized for data mistakes related to Aegis Ashore deployment on Thursday. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

June 6 (UPI) -- Japan's Akita city is asking for an explanation from the central government about a decision to deploy the missile defense system Aegis Ashore in the region, following revelations government data was found to contain flaws.

Controversy began soon after Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya told a parliamentary committee on national security there were several mistakes in the survey documents that supported the need to deploy missile interceptors in Akita, Kyodo News reported Thursday.

"I am extremely sorry this ruins the credibility of the entire investigation," Iwaya said Thursday.

Japan's military is admitting fault after it had stated a training site for the nation's self-defense force, located near the city of Akita and Yamaguchi prefecture, would be most suitable for Aegis Ashore deployment.


The defense ministry said on May 27 that 19 other candidate sites were "unfit" for Aegis Ashore deployment, Jiji Press reported.

The government survey in question included errors for terrain data on nine other areas that provided comparisons to the designated site.

Gov. Norihisa Satake of Akita Prefecture said the mistakes "significantly damage trust" with the central government.

Japan plans to deploy two Aegis Ashore interceptors, largely to prepare for possible North Korea ballistic missile attacks. In May, Pyongyang tested several short-range missiles.

The Aegis Ashore systems were approved for purchase in January by U.S. State Department. Total cost of the system is estimated at more than $2 billion.

"This proposed sale will provide the government of Japan with an enhanced capability against increasingly sophisticated ballistic missile threats and create an expanded, layered defense of its homeland," the State Department said in January.

 

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Missing Japanese F-35A pilot's death confirmed by Ministry of Defense
June 07, 2019

View attachment 7622

TOKYO -- The pilot who went missing after the F-35A stealth fighter he was flying crashed into the Pacific Ocean just off of Aomori Prefecture in northern Japan has been confirmed to have died, Minister of Defense Takeshi Iwaya said at a June 7 press conference.

Maj. Akinori Hosomi
of the 3rd Air Wing's 302nd Tactical Fighter Squadron was classified missing following the aircraft's crash into the sea after taking off from Japan Air Self-Defense Force's (JASDF) Misawa Base in Misawa, Aomori Prefecture, on April 9, 2019.

At a June 7 press conference held after a Cabinet meeting, Iwaya confirmed that Maj. Hosomi had died. He said that body parts discovered among the aircraft's dispersed wreckage were confirmed to be Maj. Hosomi's remains on June 5.

The JASDF's investigation into the crash continues, with a potential human element and other variables being raised as possible causes for the accident. JASDF intends to continue flying its remaining F35-A stealth fighters once safety measures in response to the cause have been established.

Iwaya said, "It is a source of immense regret to lose such an excellent pilot. We offer our heartfelt sympathies to the family."

(Japanese original by Naritake Machida, City News Department)

 

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Spatial disorientation likely cause of Japanese F-35 crash, review says
June 10, 2019
By Clyde Hughes

View attachment 7825
A U.S. Air Force F-35A is seen at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates on April 24. File Photo by U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Chris Drzazgowski

June 10 (UPI) -- A pilot's spatial disorientation likely caused the crash of a Japanese F-35 fighter jet this spring, Japan's defense minister said after the release of a preliminary report.

Minister Takeshi Iwaya told reporters the pilot, Maj. Akinori Hosomi, 41, is thought to have lost his bearings during an exercise in April with Japan's Air Self-Defense Force and showed no signs of ejecting before the crash. Japan had grounded its fleet of 13 F-35As after the crash.

The ministry said the pilot, who had accumulated 3,200 flight hours, appeared to fly the fighter directly into the ocean during the night training exercise.

The ministry said the pilot, whose body was found a week ago, appeared to lose his bearings during a high-speed descent but was not aware of it. He had been communicating with the control tower before the accident without any indication of trouble, investigators said.

Spatial disorientation can account for as many as 10 percent of all aviation accidents, most of which are fatal.

"We will fully enforce training to avoid spatial disorientation and will fully explain to local residents before deciding to resume flights," Iwaya said.

The Japanese air force said it will begin flying the F-35 again soon.

 

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Shinzo Abe: Japan should develop next generation of fighter jets
June 11, 2019
By Elizabeth Shim

View attachment 7893
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday Japan should develop military planes domestically. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

June 11 (UPI) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday Japan should develop fighter jets domestically, following an agreement with the United States to purchase more than 100 F-35s.

The fighter jet would be the next generation aircraft modeled after the F-2, which is to be retired starting in the 2030s, NHK reported.

Abe made the remarks while meeting with lawmakers of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

"It is important Japan leads the development of the next generation of fighters," Abe reportedly told politicians in Tokyo. "It is also important the planes have the ability to cooperate with U.S. aircraft."

Japan agreed to the F-35 purchase as it seeks to defend itself from countries like North Korea and China.

Abe has previously told U.S. President Donald Trump acquiring high-performance weapons is important for Japan's defense capabilities.

Japan has also purchased missile interceptor Aegis Ashore from the United States. The central government seeks to deploy the missile defense in Akita Prefecture, despite opposition from Akita Gov. Norihisa Satake.

Satake and local residents in Akita are opposing Aegis Ashore deployment after geographical data in survey documents was found to contain flaws. Asahi Shimbun reported earlier in the week government workers used free software Google Earth to make measurements of candidate sites, before selecting a military base near Akita city for $2 billion worth of military equipment.

Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya has apologized for the incident, Kyodo News reported Tuesday.

"We're very sorry. It was inappropriate as the behavior lacked a sense of alertness in such an extremely important situation," Iwaya said.

Satake has also complained about a defense ministry official who was napping during a briefing for Akita residents.

"It's truly regrettable," Satake said.

 

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USS Ronald Reagan, Japanese carrier conduct joint exercise in South China Sea
By Allen Cone
June 12, 2019

View attachment 7935
The USS Ronald Reagan (left) sails with a Japanese destroyer Tuesday in the South China Sea. Photo courtesy Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force

June 12 (UPI) -- Two aircraft carrier strike groups -- the USS Ronald Reagan CSG and ships from Japan's MSDF -- conducted a joint naval exercise in the South China Sea from Monday through Wednesday, the U.S. 7th Fleet said.

Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force sent the Izumo carrier group to work with the Reagan CSG as part of a cooperative deployment, the U.S. 7th Fleet said in a press release.

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Izumo carrier group consists of the JS Izumo and the Murasame-class destroyers, JS Murasame and JS Akebone, as well as five military aircraft, all helicopters.

The Navy didn't disclose the USS Ronald Reagan's companion ships but each strike group usually consists of up to 12 surface ships, including Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers, one or two nuclear-powered fast attack submarines and up to 75 aircraft.

Reagan, Akebono, Izumo and Murasame "conducted communication checks, tactical maneuvering drills and liaison officer exchanges designed to address common maritime security priorities and enhance interoperability at sea," according to a U.S. Navy news release.

"Having a Japanese liaison officer aboard to coordinate our underway operations has been beneficial and efficient," Lt. Mike Malakowsky, a tactical actions officer aboard Ronald Reagan, said in the news release. "As we continue to operate together with the JMSDF, it makes us a cohesive unit. They are an integral part of our Strike Group that doubles our capability to respond to any situation."

The Ronald Reagan, a Nimitz-class carrier, operates in the Indo-Pacific region to protect and defend maritime interests of its allies and partners.

"The time we are able to spend at sea training and operating with our partners in the Japan Self Defense Forces is invaluable," said Capt. Pat Hannifin, Ronald Reagan's commanding officer. "Our alliance has never been stronger, and it's never been more important to this region than right now."

The USS Ronald Reagan departed its home port in Yokosuka, Japan, on May 22 for its first operational deployment this year.

The JS Izumo's Indo-Pacific deployment began April 30 and runs through July 10, The Diplomat reported.

The Japanese flattop and its escort are conducting exercises with the naval forces of Brunei, India, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Singapore.

Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe toured the JS Izumo's sister ship, JS Kaga, at the Yokosuka naval base south of Tokyo.

The Japanese cabinet approved the conversion of the two warships into full-fledged aircraft carriers capable of launching the F-35B aircraft.

 

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Japan to test infrared sensors for early warning satellites
By Elizabeth Shim
June 12, 2019
View attachment 7948
North Korea's tests of ballistic missiles is prompting Japan to consider launching an early-warning satellite into space. Photo by Franck Robichon/EPA

June 12 (UPI) -- Japan is considering the deployment of early warning satellites designed to detect ballistic missile launches, according to a Japanese press report.

Sankei Shimbun reported Wednesday the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, is looking into tests of infrared sensors for early-warning satellites in 2020.

The missile defense alarm system could provide advance notice of North Korea ballistic missile launches. In April and May, Pyongyang tested short-range projectiles in multiple rounds.

Tokyo's aerospace agency is planning to install the infrared sensor on an Advanced Optical Satellite, or ALOS-3, which can be launched on a H2A rocket -- an active expendable launch system operated by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The sensors use advanced semiconductors with sensitivity to two infrared wavelengths, according to the Sankei.

Japan is expected to test the sensor until 2024. After the sensor is tested, Tokyo will then decide whether it will launch a rocket to place an early-warning satellite in orbit.

The ALOS-3 is an earth observation satellite capable of seeing activities from orbit at a distance of more than 400 miles above Earth.

Japan is also planning to build a database from the infrared tests; the United States is already constructing a similar database, identifying the types of ballistic missiles North Korea has fired, based on their infrared characteristics.

Japan's satellite plans are being worked on as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe begins his state visit to Iran.

The BBC reported Wednesday Abe is the first Japanese prime minister to visit Iran in four decades.

Abe could try to ease tensions between the United States and Iran, as the two countries have disputed over a nuclear deal that was reached in 2015 during the Obama administration -- a deal from which the United States withdrew in 2018.

Abe is expected to meet supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday

 

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Japan to test infrared sensors for early warning satellites
By Elizabeth Shim
June 12, 2019
View attachment 7948
North Korea's tests of ballistic missiles is prompting Japan to consider launching an early-warning satellite into space. Photo by Franck Robichon/EPA

June 12 (UPI) -- Japan is considering the deployment of early warning satellites designed to detect ballistic missile launches, according to a Japanese press report.

Sankei Shimbun reported Wednesday the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, is looking into tests of infrared sensors for early-warning satellites in 2020.

The missile defense alarm system could provide advance notice of North Korea ballistic missile launches. In April and May, Pyongyang tested short-range projectiles in multiple rounds.

Tokyo's aerospace agency is planning to install the infrared sensor on an Advanced Optical Satellite, or ALOS-3, which can be launched on a H2A rocket -- an active expendable launch system operated by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The sensors use advanced semiconductors with sensitivity to two infrared wavelengths, according to the Sankei.

Japan is expected to test the sensor until 2024. After the sensor is tested, Tokyo will then decide whether it will launch a rocket to place an early-warning satellite in orbit.

The ALOS-3 is an earth observation satellite capable of seeing activities from orbit at a distance of more than 400 miles above Earth.

Japan is also planning to build a database from the infrared tests; the United States is already constructing a similar database, identifying the types of ballistic missiles North Korea has fired, based on their infrared characteristics.

Japan's satellite plans are being worked on as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe begins his state visit to Iran.

The BBC reported Wednesday Abe is the first Japanese prime minister to visit Iran in four decades.

Abe could try to ease tensions between the United States and Iran, as the two countries have disputed over a nuclear deal that was reached in 2015 during the Obama administration -- a deal from which the United States withdrew in 2018.

Abe is expected to meet supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday

 

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Japan's Submarine Force Has a Secret Weapon That Can Win Wars
And it's so simple.
by Sebastien Roblin
June 14, 2019
View attachment 8042
An LIB submarine’s underwater endurance may also not necessarily equal the multiple weeks an AIP-powered submarines is capable of. However, the greater battery life would give a submarine captain more flexibility on using more electricity for longer ultra-quiet stretches with the generators off, or for longer periods high-speed maneuvers. Overall, LIB alone may be more useful than AIP for submarines dispatched on short-range patrols.

On October 4, 2018, the shattering of a bottle of sake at the Kobe Shipyards of Japan heralded not only the launch of a new submarine, but the dawning of a new era in submarine warfare—using a bit of technology you’re probably carrying in your pocket.

The Oryu (“Phoenix Dragon”) is the eleventh launched of Japan’s Soryu (“Blue Dragon”)-class submarines—a large design measuring 84-meters long that carries a crew of sixty-five and displaces 4,519 tons submerged. In many respects, the Soryu’s capabilities are typical of conventional submarines: it’s armed with six 533-millimeter tubes which can fire up to thirty Type 89 torpedoes or Harpoon anti-ship missiles and has a top underwater speed of twenty knots. Its range of 6,100 nautical miles lags a bit behind peers, while its maximum diving depth of 600 meters or greater is well above average, exceeding the crush depth of some anti-submarine torpedoes!

Despite their size and hi-tech trimmings such as a maneuverability-enhancing computer-controlled X-shaped rudder, two advanced acoustic decoy launchers and an extensive coating of sound-canceling tiles on the hull, the Oryu costs about $536 million—one-fourth to one-sixth the cost of a U.S. Virginia-class nuclear powered attack submarine. But Oryu stands apart from her predecessors because she’s the first large submarine to use lithium ion batteries—the same technology used in your smartphone and laptop computer.

Modern conventional submarines use electricity to turn the screw of their propellers and power their combat systems. This electricity is produced by diesel engines and generators and stored in hundreds of lead acid batteries. However, diesel engines consume a submarine’s air supply, forcing the sub to periodically surface, or snorkel close to the surface, and recharge its batteries in an ‘indiscretion period’ in which it is exposed to easier detection and destruction.

Furthermore, submarines generators are fairly noisy. For that reason, a submerged submarine operating in close proximity to enemy forces may turn off its diesel engine and run purely on battery power.

The problem is that a sub drains away its battery really quickly. A conventional submarine racing at maximum speed (usually around twenty knots) will exhaust its battery in an hour or two. At a sustainable cruising speed of five to ten knots, that endurance may extend to a few days. One way around this is to use nuclear power, which provides near limitless underwater endurance, allows higher speeds and is quieter than running diesel engines. However, it’s not as quiet as a diesel running purely on batteries, and the nuclear subs can’t switch off their reactors operationally. More importantly, nuclear powered-submarines costs four to six times as much—and even for countries with access to nuclear reactor technology, they’re overkill for short-range patrols.

In the last two decades, advancements to conventional submarines have focused on supplementing diesels with various quieter and longer-enduring Air Independent Propulsion schemes. The previous seven Soryu-class submarines included Stirling closed-cycle heat engines—a technology first pioneered by the Swedes, and now found on Chinese Type 039A submarines too! AIP submarines can run more quietly than nuclear submarines and can remain submerged for weeks before needing to surface, though only while traveling at low speeds of four to six knots. However, downsides include bulkiness and the risks posed by volatile fluids used to operate them.

The Oryu and her successors herald a different approach—increasing battery life. In 1991, Japanese companies introduced lithium-ion batteries into general commercial use. Since then, they have skyrocketed in popularity for their application to portable electronics including laptops and cell phones. Compared to traditional lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries have greater energy density for their volume and weight, can charge a lot faster, and discharge their energy with 80 to 90 percent efficiency, compared to roughly 60-70 percent for lead batteries.

Now, one may recall that a landed 787 airliner caught fire in Boston’s Logan Airport in 2013 due to an overheating lithium-ion battery, or that the same type of battery was notorious for causing Galaxy S7 tablets to spontaneously combust. Obviously, the tendencies of such batteries to ‘run away’, overcook themselves and catch fire would also be a nightmarish concern on a submarine packed with hundreds of batteries in close proximity! Indeed, a lithium-ion battery in a U.S. SEAL Delivery Vehicle mini-sub also caught fire in Pearl Harbor in 2008. This explains why LIB technology hasn’t been implemented on a large submarine sooner.

Japan, therefore, has thrown a lot of money and years of effort into building greater safety and reliability into its sub-based lithium-ion batteries by implementing improved battery-cell matrices with hardened dividers, stabilized chemicals and automatic fire extinguishers, and has reportedly tested the configuration rigorously to account for various high-stress scenarios such as exposure to seawater. The the launch of the Oryu suggests the Japanese military is satisfied that the lithium-ion batteries have been refined it into an operationally viable and safe capability.

The Oryu’s 672 LIB-modules reportedly afford it twice the battery life of the 480 lead-acid batteries in the prior variants—meaning it may be able to cruise for around before needing to surface. Furthermore, it can recharge its batteries much faster, meaning the sub will have brief “indiscretion periods” while recharging batteries—a decrease from 2.7 hours to 1.4 hours according to one calculation. The LI-batteries do come at a higher cost $97 million, compared to $13 million for the lead-acid batteries.

An LIB submarine’s underwater endurance may also not necessarily equal the multiple weeks an AIP-powered submarines is capable of. However, the greater battery life would give a submarine captain more flexibility on using more electricity for longer ultra-quiet stretches with the generators off, or for longer periods high-speed maneuvers. Overall, LIB alone may be more useful than AIP for submarines dispatched on short-range patrols.

It’s also worth noting that there’s no reason that lithium-ion batteries couldn’t be combined with AIP systems such as fuel cells for the best of both worlds—the principal downside being additional cost and space sacrificed to accommodate the AIP engines.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries will build one additional Soryu-class submarine with lithium ion batteries—the twelfth and last—and then Japan will begin developing a next-generation LIB-submarine. Some reports indicate the earlier Stirling AIP powered Soryus may also be upgraded with LIB.

Meanwhile, there are rumors of renewed interest in the Soryu from Australia. In 2016, Canberra passed over the Japanese submarine in favor of the French Shortfin Barracude for its plans to build twelve replacements for its Collins-class attack submarines. However, disagreements over the extent of French cooperation (the Aussies want more of it), and changes in the governments of both Paris and Canberra have put the arrangement= in question. However, Australian submarines would need to patrol much further from home waters than Japanese boats, and an Australin Soryu-based design would need to be lengthened to accommodate extra fuel and enlarged crew accommodations.

Regardless, Japan’s apparent deployment of reliable submarine lithium-ion battery technology marks a second major leap forward in the capabilities of affordable conventional submarines in the last twenty years. South Korea and China are also developing LIB submarines.

While the U.S. Navy is wedded to the premium capabilities of its far more expensive nuclear-powered attack and guided-missile submarines, it remains unable to pay for and build them fast enough to maintain the target fleet of sixty-six. The potential of LIB-submarine should give the Navy yet another reason to reevaluate that choice given intensifying security competition with both China and Russia.


 

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Japan scrambles jets to counter Russian bombers in its airspace
Russian bombers violated Japanese airspace, prompting a scramble of scramble of fighter planes to escort them away, Japan's defense ministry said.
June 21, 2019
By Ed Adamczyk

View attachment 8366
Two Russian Tu-95 bombers, similar to the one depicted, flew into Japanese airspace on Thursday for several minutes, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.
Photo courtesy of U.K. Ministry of Defense


June 21 (UPI) -- Russian bombers violated Japanese airspace, prompting a scramble of fighter planes to escort them away, Japan's defense ministry said.

Two Tu-95 bombers entered Japanese airspace near Minamidaito Island in Okinawa Prefecture on Thursday morning for about three minutes, and one later re-entered the airspace for about two minutes near Hachijo Island in the Izu island chain, the ministry said. It added no dangerous maneuvers were observed.

The planes were later seen flying southward from the Sea of Japan through the Tsushima Strait between Japan and South Korea in the morning.

A "stern protest" against Russia was lodged over the incident, the Japanese Foreign Ministry later said. Russia insisted that the planes did not violate Japan's airspace but flew over international waters during a 14-hour flight.

"Two strategic bombers Tupolev-95MS of Russia's Aerospace Force flew a routine mission in the airspace over the international waters of the Sea of Japan and the East China and South China seas as well as the western part of the Pacific Ocean," the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Friday. "The flight was carried out in strict compliance with the international rules of using international airspace, without any violations of the borders of other states."

Japan did not report the number of fighter planes it used to divert the Russian planes.

A report by Japan's Defense Ministry said its fighter jets had scrambled nearly 1,000 times against foreign aircraft approaching Japanese airspace in the year ending on March 31. Over 340 incidents involved Russian aircraft and 638 involved Chinese planes, it said.

 

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Japan, US Navy To Get Raytheon’s RAM Guided Missile Launching System
June 29, 2019

View attachment 8660
The RAM missile is a supersonic, quick-reaction, fire-and-forget system designed to destroy anti-ship missiles and other threats (image: US Navy)

Raytheon has won a $36.7 million contract to supply Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Guided Missile Launching System (GMLS) to Japan and the US Navy.

The deal is to procure material, fabricate parts, assemble, test and deliver RAM Mk 49 Mod 3 GMLSs. The contract combines purchases for the US Navy (91%) and the government of Japan (9%) under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS), the US Department of Defense said in a statement Friday.

RAM is a missile system designed to provide anti-ship missile defense for multiple ship platforms. The RAM guided-missile weapon system is co-developed and co-produced under an international cooperative program between the governments of the US and the Federal Republic of Germany.

Work is expected to be completed by June 2021.

 

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