Over at The Diplomat, David Axe commits unholy mayhem on the hysteria about China's purportedly exploding submarine warfare capabilities. It should be mandatory reading for Sankei Shimbun readers, or those who follow the Sankei Shimbun as representing the thinking of an influential fraction of Japan's power elites (Link).
The purported dramatic growth of China's capability to conduct access denial activities out beyond the "First Island Chain" -- the chain of islands stretching from Kagoshima's Cape Sata all the way down to the Spratly Islands -- pushed the government of Japan into extending the lifespans of its diesel attack submarines and consequently a natural growth of its submarine fleet to 22 submarines. The Japanese expansion of its fleet, when combined with the submarine acquisitions of other countries in the region, will likely more than match China's purported incipient threat.
Indeed, as Axe hints, the regional upgrade may be overkill.
What will be interesting is whether or not the heretofore limited propositions regarding the relaxation of the 3 principles on arms exports (en) will open the door somewhere way, way down the line for Japan to start selling its decommissioned boats, both surface and sub-surface (none of the Aegis ships, of course), to customers such as the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Again, that is way, way out from where the current government's thinking is on the subject.
However, for a domestic arms industry that had a collective coronary last month when the last F2 jet rolled off the production line, the prospects of foreign sales of the still functional retired vessels, and the likelihood of maintenance and upgrade contracts with the purchasing entities, the first tentative steps taken by the Noda government toward relaxation of the ban allow them to dream, just a little.
And, if you are an editor at the Sankei Shimbun, to dream a lot, facts notwithstanding.
Later - And for readers of sec mil porn like SAPIO, whatever I said goes double for you.
12 hours ago