US eyes strategic benefits of Australia buying Japanese subs

(From the Australian)

By Cameron Stuart

The US believes Australia would benefit strategically and militar­ily if it were to buy submarines from Japan, Tony Abbott’s former ­national security adviser has revealed.

An Australian Collins class conventional powered submarine.

An Australian Collins class conventional powered submarine.

Andrew Shearer has broken his silence on Washington’s ­attitude to the future submarine project, saying the US believes Japanese submarines would offer a superior capability for the Australian navy and long-term strategic benefits across the region.

His comments will alarm the other two bidders for the ­submarine contract, Germany and France, and will cause ­unease within the Obama ­administration, which has always claimed publicly that the US was a ­neutral player in the debate.

In an article this week for The National ­Interest, Mr Shearer, who lost his job as the prime minister’s national security adviser when Malcolm Turnbull deposed Mr Abbott in September, suggests US officials privately want Australia to choose Japan as the winning bidder.

“Appropriately, the (Obama) administration has been careful not to take sides in the intense competition among France, Germany and Japan to partner with Australia in the development of the new submarine,” Mr Shearer wrote. “But senior US officials and military officers are in no doubt both as to the superior capability of the Japanese Soryu-class (submarines) and to the long-term strategic benefits to the US and the region of an inter-operable fleet of Australian and Japanese conventional submarines equipped with US combat systems.” Read more

Japanese Soryu-class submarine

Japanese Soryu-class submarine

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