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US Favors Japan in Aussie Sub Tender

Sputnik News

09:26 03.04.2015(updated 09:27 03.04.2015)

Japan's chances of winning a multibillion tender to build submarines for Australia are being boosted by Washington's strategic ambitions in Asia, giving Tokyo an edge over competitors from Germany and France, defense and industry sources said.

The $38 billion purchase would bind the American, Japanese and Australian navies more tightly together in the face of China's rapid military modernization and growing assertiveness in Asian waters, Reuters reported from Adelaide.

It would give Japan its first major weapons export deal after the government lifted a ban on overseas arms sales last year.

It would also boost Japan's defense industry and pave the way for the sale of advanced Japanese weapons to countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam that are at loggerheads with Beijing in the disputed South China Sea.

Australian defense officials have acknowledged that compatibility with the US Navy will be an important factor in choosing the winning bid.

Japan had been the front-runner to replace Australia's aging Collins-class submarines with an off-the-shelf version of the Self-Defense Forces' 4,000-ton Soryu-class vessel.

Washington's view is that the Soryu submarine, built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., is technically superior to any European-made vessel, and will allow for the integration of more American technology.


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