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Asian submarine race raises security concerns

2017-5-18 11:17| 发布者: 小鱼儿| 查看: 116| 评论: 0

摘要: A rapid build-up of submarines in the western Pacific is fuelling Asian demand for vessels with advanced technology, defence groups say.The number of submarines in the region is expected to rise to 25 ...
A rapid build-up of submarines in the western Pacific is fuelling Asian demand for vessels with advanced technology, defence groups say.

The number of submarines in the region is expected to rise to 250 from 200 within eight years, according to Singapore’s defence ministry, which warned this week of a growing risk of “miscalculations at sea”.

Quiet vessels with long-range firepower pose a challenge for planners seeking to keep Asian sea lanes open, said contractors and analysts gathered at a maritime defence exhibition in Singapore.

“The region is growing submarine capability quicker than anywhere else on the planet at the moment,” said Brett Reed, responsible for Southeast Asia defence sales at Austal, the Australian shipbuilder. “[Asian] navies want to be able to search for, detect and prosecute submarines.”

The latest increase in naval capabilities came this week when Singapore, which has the biggest defence budget in Southeast Asia, announced the purchase of two submarines from Germany’s ThyssenKrupp.

Singapore’s defence ministry said the vessels would have modern combat systems and “air-independent” propulsion technology that makes them quieter and allows them to stay submerged for longer.

“If programmes proceed as projected, major change is afoot in the submarine operational picture in the region,” said Paul Burton, Asia-Pacific defence director at IHS Jane’s. “The common thread running through these developments is the introduction of increasingly modern, capable and quiet submarines.”

Thailand’s military junta last month approved a contentious plan to spend $393m on the first of three Chinese submarines.

Critics question the need for the vessels, since Bangkok is not engaged in any significant maritime dispute and the Gulf of Thailand is shallow. The military has defended the purchase, saying submarines can be used for exploration as well as defence.

Australia, India, Pakistan, South Korea and Indonesia plan to expand and modernise their submarine fleets.

Even Myanmar, one of Southeast Asia’s poorest countries, has announced a plan to buy a submarine if budgets permit. “Our neighbours have submarines and we want them as well,” Major General Myint Nwe, deputy defence minister, said this month.

Rob Hewson of Saab, the Swedish defence group, said: “Having the ability to detect and track and potentially counter somebody’s else submarines is a hot topic in this region at the moment.” Mr Hewson said there was also mounting Asian interest in airborne early warning and maritime patrol systems.

Systems on display at the IMDEX naval defence show in Singapore included one Saab promotes as ideal for tracking “super-quiet” submarines. The equipment uses a combination of sonar buoys that can be deployed from an aircraft and an onboard acoustic processing system to filter out a submarine’s sonic signature from background noise.

Saab, which is competing with Lockheed Martin to supply fighter jets to India, was also interested in pitching for New Delhi’s proposed submarine modernisation, Mr Hewson said.

“India has French submarines at the moment,” he said. “They are now looking at other options for the next batch and that we think will be a more open competition?.?.?.?which is potentially very interesting for us.”

China’s naval ambitions have set the pace, with plans to expand its submarine fleet to as many as 78 by the end of the decade from 62 last year, according to a Pentagon analysis.

The 2017 edition of Jane’s Fighting Ships shows the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations had 16 submarines between them, half of them in Vietnam.

At a maritime security conference alongside the defence industry show, Mohamad Maliki, a junior defence minister in Singapore, called for navies in the region to abide by mutually agreed rules to “avoid unintended confrontations and accidents at sea”.




澳大利亚船舶制造商Austal负责东南亚防务销售的布雷特?里德(Brett Reed)表示:“目前该地区扩充潜艇力量的速度比世界上其他任何地区都快。(亚洲各国)海军希望有能力搜寻、侦测和追踪潜艇。”



简氏防务(IHS Jane's)亚太防务总监保罗?伯顿(Paul Burton)表示:“如果各国计划按预定的发展下去,该地区潜艇作战图景将有重大变化。贯穿这些发展态势的共同脉络是引进日益现代化、高性能和静音的潜艇。”




即便是东南亚最贫穷的国家之一缅甸也宣布了一项在预算允许下购买潜艇的计划。“我们的邻国有潜艇,我们也想有潜艇,”该国国防部副部长、少将敏魏(Myint Nwe)本月表示。

瑞典防务集团萨博(Saab)的罗博?休森(Rob Hewson)说:“有能力发现、跟踪并可能反击他国潜艇,是目前该地区的一个热点话题。”休森表示,亚洲国家也对空中预警系统和海上巡逻系统越来越感兴趣。


据休森表示,正与洛克希德?马丁公司(Lockheed Martin)争夺印度战斗机供应合同的萨博集团,也有兴趣争取印度拟议潜艇现代化改造项目的相关订单。



2017年版《简氏军舰》(Jane’s Fighting Ships)记载,东盟(Asean)10国总共拥有16艘潜艇,其中一半在越南。

在与海事防务展同时召开的海上安全会议上,新加坡国防部政务次长孟理齐(Mohamad Maliki)呼吁地区各国海军遵守共同协商的规则,“避免发生意外的海上对峙与事故”。







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