A new report by the Singapore’s S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, “Submarine Trends in Asia Pacific: Air-Independent Propulsion A Game Changer?“, by Michael Raska, is a worthy read.
According to Raska, while Europe and North America remain key submarine markets, China’s ongoing military modernization coupled with contending international relations in the Asia-Pacific will increasingly drive submarine procurement in the region over the next decade. In 2011, the total submarine market in Asia-Pacific is estimated at US$4.4 billion, and for the next decade, submarine expenditures are projected to US$46 billion.
With changing strategic realities, Asian navies aim to become increasingly flexible, and capable of varying mission profiles: from countering traditional coastal defence missions to protecting sea lanes and communication lines, Raska said. Simultaneously, submarines are increasingly valuable strategic resource for both electronic and signal intelligence. To enhance the varying operational capabilities, increase submerged endurance and stealth, installing viable Air-independent propulsion systems is thus becoming a strategic necessity.