Japan has agreed to the unprecedented
sharing of classified data, as part of its bid to provide
stealth submarines to Australia under the “competitive evaluation process”.
Reuters broke the news that Japan planned
to share this data for the first time to any ally other than the United States. The information is required for the Defence Department to make an assessment of the bid.
It is an “open secret” that the Japanese –
whose government-led bid includes Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as
contractors – are the preferred option, according to Fairfax.
Estimates of the cost of 12 Soryu vessels are put at at least $40 billion.
bids from France’s DCNS and Germany’s ThyssenKrupp to build the vessels that
will replace the Collins Class fleet include most of the building being
completed in Australia. The Soryu class option would not.
controversy over the Japanese option includes criticism over a lack of range,
with Australian needs being greater than what the Soryu offers.
The Japan Times quotes a government source as saying, “Japan is highly likely to be selected,
considering its technological edge.”