“This strategic relationship is a thing which no other nation can replace,” the document says.
The former admirals will tell a Royal United Services Institute conference in Adelaide later this month that cooperation between Australia and Japan on submarines would “support and enhance military capabilities of US forces deployed in this area, which, along with Japan and Australia will jointly face the same challenges.”
Japan has been building one submarine a year for the past 60 years and Prime Minister Tony Abbott was late last year reportedly close to announcing that Japan would build the navy’s future submarine under a deal with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and with the blessing of Washington.
However Japan has never exported any military technology let alone its most sensitive submarine technology.
Under pressure over a possible “secret deal” with Japan the Abbott Government has announced a competitive evaluation process involving Japan, Germany and France.
The designer of the Collins Class boats, Swedish firm Kockums now owned by Saab, was excluded from the deal despite its leading edge technology and 100-year history.
“A submarine’s ability to ambush and intercept surface and sub-surface shipping in narrow waters will be an ideal capability to meet Japan’s strategic objectives and JMSDF’s (Japan Maritime Self Defence Force) mission of controlling choke points in the south-western Island chain in the future,” the Admirals say.
“At the same time an enhanced submarine capability of the RAN (Royal Australian Navy) will firmly support showing Australia’s strategic intent to deter illegal or aggressive actions by any one nation against neighbouring nations, as well as deter potential adversaries.”
A retired American submariner, who asked to remain anonymous, told News Corp Australia that buying a Japanese sub would create a risk for Australia in terms of possible “mistaken identity” given the identical “signatures” of the boats.
Without mentioning China by name the ex-admirals go on to say that Australia’s “determined strategic signals” would have a strong and stabilising influence on the complicated situations in the South China Sea.
China has been flexing its military muscles in this disputed region for several years.
“These independent effects will support and enhance military capabilities of US forces deployed in this area, which along with Japan and Australia will jointly face the same challenges,” they say.
The admirals say that close security coordination reinforced by possible industrial cooperation between the two US allies would accelerate the US push to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
“And eventually help to deter a potential adversary’s adventurism.”
A Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Soryu class submarine docked at Japanese coast.