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Article on current warship capability and cost effectiveness


Dawes

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I usually take media articles with a pinch of salt. Any embellishment/inaccuracies in this one?

https://www.yahoo.com/news/may-world-best-warships-not-005636495.html

One thing that made me curious is that Japan has the reputation of building small production runs of military equipment at very expensive cost. Evidently that's not the case with their warships?

Edited by Dawes
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China can clearly outproduce the US, and I think the US outsourcing its naval production isn't going to be an acceptable solution. The US can probably stabilize its hull numbers if it funds the production of the FFGX at a second yard, ideally one capable of producing two platforms a year like the current one. That would give the USN four FFGs and two DDGs a year, which is probably up against the limit of what the USN could even man anyway.

The other thing is that a navy is much more than its ship total or even its total tonnage. I'm not convinced the PLAN isn't just creating large assortment of a expensive targets. I think all the problems the USN is having with defending its ships against super and hypersonic performance missiles will be the PLAN's problem by the end of the decade, and they have much less of an ABM tech base to defend themselves from that threat.

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Much embellishments and innacuracies starting with how prices are made and industries subsidies. I don't know the answer to what is the correct price but a cautionary warning should have been in the article.

Direct comparison of Constellations vs Mogami  only on price have no sense, they are not in same level. The first have diesel electric propulsion for silent sub hunting, SPY radars with AEGIS, 32 VLS Mk41 vs 16, 16 SSM vs 8 , 2 hangar (1 UH60+large UAV vs UH60)

The biggest problem US have is lack of shipyards and lots of money for the output and the very expensive submarine arm . And obviously the LCS and Zumwalt failures.

 

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The first of the Maya-class (only 2.. ) was in the fiscal year 2016 defense budget at the cost of about 167,500,000,000 yen.

Yen was about 115 to the USD at the time of procurement. So 1.45 billion USD at the time.

Today, the yen is quite a bit weaker at 140 yen to 1 dollar. That same price at today's exchange rate would have it at 1.19 billion USD.

The second Maya-class, Haguro, was a little more expensive at 173,000,000,000 yen. 

2.2 billion for a new Burke is still vastly more expensive. Maybe labor cost is a big factor. Go go 残業. US defense budget is 7 to 8 times bigger though. 

Maybe just lease Guam and Hawaii to Japan for 50 years so the US can take a break and reform its internal inefficiencies. US can easily resume control on those and the rest of Japan as Japan runs out of babies.

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Get rid of the Jones Act (or at least reform it) and a lot of these problems can be solved. That we regularly suspend it when convenient illustrates that we are not serious about solving the problem, at least so long as it remains useful as leverage to milk more money out of the taxpayer and optimize corporate profits. Results are incidental.

Everyone is asking how to pay the exorbitant prices, not enough people are asking why they're exorbitant and what can be done about that. Same issue with healthcare.

The Roman idea of appointing a dictator to solve intractable problems is becoming more and more attractive, despite the odds of things getting terribly worse being much higher than them getting better. At least things will come to a head faster....

 

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I agree, the heart of the problem is the Jones Act. It's killing domestic ship transport by "protecting it", making life on Puerto Rico and Hawaii needlessly expensive - and with it, it's killing the demand for (any) ships built in the US, or for US merchant fleet sailors, all of which it's ostensibly supposed to "help". Obviously, the Jones Act is also a very good example of small lobby groups holding the whole nation hostage with obscure laws.

 

 

 

 

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Yes. 

“The Italians did a very good job in the design of the internal spaces, and the flow of a lot of those spaces,” Navy Captain Kevin Smith, the Constellation-class program manager, had said during a talk at the Navy's League's Sea Air Space conference on Aug. 2. “You could say we bought a bigger house, [but] from a modeling and simulation perspective, it’s exactly the same.”

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/42553/new-diagram-details-how-the-navys-frigate-will-differ-from-its-italian-parents-design

Note the difference in positional height between SPY radar and the FREMM radar.

1632863410462-ffg-62-versus-fremm-graphi

Edited by lucklucky
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The Jones Act is NOT the problem.  The problem is the loopholes and end-arounds that the US government and investors have created to escape its provisions.  Not too long after the Jones Act, the US essentially created the flag of convenience regime that uses the US military and political weight to allow shipholding companies to register foreign built ships under foreign flags, with foreign crews.  The free-trade advocates sacrifice the domestic industrial base to the chimera of free markets in a global environment where the major shipbuilding nations heavily subsidize their industries, directly and indirectly.  China, South Korea, and Japan all view their commercial shipbuilding industries as part of a national strategic priority, both for the semi-skilled and skilled jobs it creates, as well as the economies of scale that support their naval shipbuilding programs. 

The elimination of the CDS and ODS under Reagan is a major factor, but not the only factor, in killing off America's ability to produce naval vessels in quantity at relatively reasonable cost.  The loss of major commercial shipbuilding yards is only part of the story, but it's the piece that gets attention.  More important is the loss of the supporting heavy industry to build the components, forgings, castings, and machinery.

Jones Act impacts to Puerto Rico and Hawaii are a red herring.

Doug

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Well, I suppose we can agree that the Jones Act in its current form is the stupid kind of protectionism that costs the US a lot because, effectively,

- outside of barges there basically is no domestic shipping of goods worth talking about, it's all done by truck at an order of magnitude higher costs per mile,

- it doesn't deliver the kind of strategic shipping reserve that's ostensibly the justification and nominal goal of the Jones Act

- it has not and does not prevent the decline of US ship building capacity outside the military sector, and even there the general downward trend of civilian shipbuilding capacity is having a rather notable negative effect.

 

Arguing that it's not the Jones Act per se, but loopholes in it, I'd say that this argument is the red herring. US lawmakers had 100 years to get the Act into a shape that would deliver what it's supposed to do, and failed. I think it's time to acknowledge that, and that it's unlikely that the same lawmakers can actually fix the Act. Maybe it's better to strike it entirely and start all over.

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Cost efficiency has never been a feature of US shipyards, at various times they have been globally competitive for one reason or another. But by and large they have always been expensive per ton, reflecting the higher price of US labour in a field not readily mechanised.  In making US shipping a closed shop, the Jones Act cut the whole sector off from global competition, and the reality check that brings. Ever since the US shipping 'bubble' has gotten more out of touch with global norms in a decaying spiral of inflating costs.  This has hit the yards hardest in terms of competitiveness, these days there's almost no reconciliation between US cost per ton and RoW for common merchant shipping. In even high value ship types, look if the cruise lines could build their ships in the US they would, its a predominantly US industry and market "Made in USA' would be valuable selling point - but its cheaper to go to Europe. It's long pats the point of being viable for a shipowner to comply with the letter of the Jones Act and actually either make a profit or deliver a service, all those loopholes are what keep it all working.

So yes the Jones Act is why the US still has a shipping sector, its also why that sector is a commercial joke running on direct and indirect subsidy while inflicting a serious opportunity cost on the whole nation. These things are both true  but the bulk of critics and commentators only look at at the bits they care about.  :)

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26 minutes ago, Burncycle360 said:

It's certainly a bold assertion to think prices would go up with no jones act.

It's certainly a bold assertion to think that the Jones Act prevents foreign flagged shipping from serving Hawaii and Puerto Rico. 

2 hours ago, Ssnake said:

Well, I suppose we can agree that the Jones Act in its current form is the stupid kind of protectionism that costs the US a lot because, effectively,

- outside of barges there basically is no domestic shipping of goods worth talking about, it's all done by truck at an order of magnitude higher costs per mile,

- it doesn't deliver the kind of strategic shipping reserve that's ostensibly the justification and nominal goal of the Jones Act

- it has not and does not prevent the decline of US ship building capacity outside the military sector, and even there the general downward trend of civilian shipbuilding capacity is having a rather notable negative effect.

 

Arguing that it's not the Jones Act per se, but loopholes in it, I'd say that this argument is the red herring. US lawmakers had 100 years to get the Act into a shape that would deliver what it's supposed to do, and failed. I think it's time to acknowledge that, and that it's unlikely that the same lawmakers can actually fix the Act. Maybe it's better to strike it entirely and start all over.

The Jones Act only protects shipping between US ports and is no different than the rules protecting domestic airlines or trucking companies.  On its own, the Jones Act has always had limited impact on oceangoing shipping by its nature snd the geography of the US.  Does the Eurozone allow Ryanair to operate ARJ-21 or Sukhoi SuperJet aircraft between Paris and Berlin?  Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Embraer, etc. sell aircraft in a carefully cultivated regulatory regime designed to keep out other competitors in their home markets. The Jones Act has almost nothing to do with the presence or absence of a transoceanic merchant marine.

Movement of goods within the continental US--which accounts for the vast majority of cargo shipments--is more effectively done via truck, barge, or rail due to the geographic layout of the country.  There is no requirement that I am aware of that imports need to travel to CONUS prior to delivery to Hawaii or Puerto Rico.  Arguing that the Jones Act is driving up the cost of goods in Walmart that are imported from China is specious--yet that is glossed over in the calls to end the Act. 

The point of a flag state, traditionally, is that the flag protected primarily the shipping belonging to that state.  While there was some benefit to other nations when the Royal Navy provided piracy protection for their own shipping, the protection was not automatically extended to all other flags.  The rise of flags of convenience lent US naval protections to the registries of Liberia, Panama, and others, allowing US shipowners the benefit of the US treasury for protection while avoiding the contribution to the same treasury via taxes. 

When Iran siezed the Niovi, a Panamanian-flagged tanker, or the Advantage Sweet (Marshall Islands), why would the US State Department be calling for its release and Fifth Fleet monitor the situation?  Shouldn't that be the job of the Marshallese or Panamanian navies? After all, the Royal Navy and British government handled the situation with the Stena Impero.   Right now., there's no benefit to the costs associated with the US registry, if the shipowner gets the same protections with a FoC.

Explain how the elimination of the Jones Act will result in the resurgence of US heavy industry in the face of the subsidized Asian shipyards?  Explain how reliance on equipment and materials shipped from Asia to the United States will be tenable in the event of a conflict with China or Russia?  The fact is the global shipbuilding industry is heavily subsidized and supported for national goals.  The market is not free and heavy industry is not brought back into existence overnight.

Doug

 

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Quote

Explain how the elimination of the Jones Act will result in the resurgence of US heavy industry in the face of the subsidized Asian shipyards?


How does keeping the Jones Act result in the resurgence of US Heavy Industry?

But I'll bite -- you're correct, elimination of the Jones Act won't result in the resurgence of US Heavy Industry. What it will do, is allow us to get more hulls in the water by opening the door to allied shipbuilders in order to build many times more ships than we can build now, at a fraction of the cost we're paying now... and the results are what we are after, are they not?

You don't even have to eliminate it completely (though that would be ideal), but at least reform it to permit orders to allied shipbuilders once US yards are at capacity.  Then we've maintained the "perishable skillsets" in the art and science of shipbuilding domestically (at exorbitantly high prices), while simultaneously allowing the US Navy to bolster ship numbers without having to do silly stuff like waiver survivability levels or go balls deep into the USV CONOPS in a desperate attempt to end-run around our horrible procurement processes by seeking out the cheapest of nothing but bad options... and still overpaying for them.

Re-expansion of US Heavy Industry to build the numbers we need in the timeframe we need them is a fantasy.  Tapping into allied shipbuilding could be done tomorrow with the stroke of a pen.

Edited by Burncycle360
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The Jones Act has everything to do with the maintenance of a commercially viable US shipping industry, particularly when as much of the total traffic is between domestic ports as America's is. Any line drawn separating the two is totally artificial, when we are talking about the same ships moving the same traffic. Great Lakes, the inland waterways, sure those are natural spheres. But a Panamax box ship running from NY to LA is no different to one doing NY to Rotterdam or LA to Singapore, or Anchorage to Hawaii for that matter. Same ships, same crews, same boxes, just different ports.  

Repealing the Jones Act isn't going to fix the US commercial shipbuilding industry though, its more likely to finish off what little of it is left unless it comes with a MAJOR package of reforms.    
 

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3 hours ago, Argus said:

Repealing the Jones Act isn't going to fix the US commercial shipbuilding industry though, its more likely to finish off what little of it is left

That is, indeed likely. The same result appears, however, almost inevitable if things are kept as they are. US non-naval shipyards are not only uncompetitive on the global market. Their output is so bad that the usage of domestic waterways for industrial production has basically disappeared because US cargo ships can't even compete with f'in' trucks, which should boggle any logistician's mind. Losing to Korean shipyards is one thing, all the European shipbuilders have experienced the same fate (and they all had to be weaned off those sweet, toxic, protectionist subsidies too). But losing to rail and even trucks is a sure sign that something is very, very wrong with the situation, and the main variable in play is the Jones Act. This in particular when you consider how blessed the US are with domestic waterways - Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas, Ohio, and the Great Lakes, and all the coasts - and all that's swimming on them are barges.

Barges are great, don't get me wrong, but they aren't the kind of strategic shipping reserve that the US supposedly needs and which the Jones Act is supposed to guarantee.

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3 hours ago, Burncycle360 said:


Except it doesn't achieve that.  

The vestige of commercial shipbuilding industry we do have is directly the result of the Jones Act and PVSA.  There would be NO commercial ocean-going ships built without it and the PVSA.  I challenge you to look at the construction records of Aker Philly/Philly Shipyard, NASSCO, or Halter over the last decade and say with a straight face that the ships built for Jones Act trade for Crowley, Matson, and others would still have been built in the United States without the law.  The existence of the Jones Act is the sole reason Aker Philly exists. 

Quote

How does keeping the Jones Act result in the resurgence of US Heavy Industry?

But I'll bite -- you're correct, elimination of the Jones Act won't result in the resurgence of US Heavy Industry. What it will do, is allow us to get more hulls in the water by opening the door to allied shipbuilders in order to build many times more ships than we can build now, at a fraction of the cost we're paying now... and the results are what we are after, are they not?

The question at the head of this quote is misframing the discussion and my previous posting.  Is it your contention that elimination of the Act will somehow improve the US commercial shipbuilding industry by buying from allied nations?  I'll repeat my questions:  "Explain how the elimination of the Jones Act will result in the resurgence of US heavy industry in the face of the subsidized Asian shipyards?  Explain how reliance on equipment and materials shipped from Asia to the United States will be tenable in the event of a conflict with China or Russia?" 

The only allied nations with a meaningful shipbuilding capability are Japan and South Korea.  And they're in the middle of the potential conflict zone.  If you watched the videos posted earlier in this thread, you would know that around 95 percent of the tonnage is being delivered from those countries--no one else really matters.  Continuing down the globalization/"free" trade path is simply going to kill off the remaining capability and further increase the costs of naval shipbuilding.

Doug

Edited by Ol Paint
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A Japanese soldier turned survivor turned author opened his book about the war experience in New Guinea about how ironic it was to go to war agaisnt the allies in that the namesake of the ship that his unit was being transported on, was the  England Maru. It was a class of transport ships called "1st Daifuku maru". 75 were built by Kawasaki from the years 1916 to 1921. Customers of the ship were the US, GB, and Japan itself. The names of many of the ships were that of international cities and states. The England Maru would later be sunk in May 1943 by a US sub.

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/第一大福丸型貨物船

 

Surely the US was making lots of their own ships at the time. But buying stuff at low cost due to low human labor cost is always sought after by high gdp per capita countries. 

While not to say the following to means its ok for the US to have low ship building rates, the total package of everything necessary us very big. Super massive. In the inverse, there's lots of stuff that Japan, ROK, get that are American.. from software to grain for food and the nuclear umbrella. Those of the US can fancy making all things necesary in the US. Others can't even fancy it since economy of scale is just too small and natural resources too scarce. Such a pitiful reality for these in-between countries. 

US naval ship procurement costs was no issue for the much better part of the past 30 years.. or more as there was no peer naval competitor. Now the PLAN is looking like it'll become one, which was taking too long to be obvious to some. 

Which by the way.. recent simulations say that China loses in a Taiwan contingency. Oh ok, great, China loses, maybe costs still high on US, (and oh yeah and Japan navy), but what about after? Whose going to rebuild the navy faster? Round 2, goes to China. No MSM speculates a round 2. Why so hard to imagine round 2? Ohhh~ island nation Japan has big share of job stealing ship building.. doesn't include VLS production, naval gun production, or whatever other naval bits come from around the world that going into JMSDF ships. 1 sub a year, two Mogami, and then sonething else a little big.. compared to PRC Type 52Ds coming in 4 at a time with a carrier, LHDs, subs, and w/e else coming along.

 

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5 hours ago, Ol Paint said:

the result of the Jones Act and PVSA.  There would be NO commercial ocean-going ships built without it and the PVSA.  I challenge you to look at the construction records of Aker Philly/Philly Shipyard, NASSCO, or Halter over the last decade and say with a straight face that the ships built for Jones Act trade for Crowley, Matson, and others would still have been built in the United States without the law.

How many ships for domestic trade have not been built in the last 60 years because of the Jones Act?

You have no meaningful merchant marine servicing the coastal regions and grand US rivers / great lakes. All freight goes by rail (factor 10 more costly than shipping) and truck (factor 100 more costly than shipping). There is a huge untapped market - because all the regulations of the Jones Act in their totality (US built and US manned and US flagged and US Captain) make a domestic merchant marine lose against a mode of transportation that is 100 times more expensive. With a bigger overall market there would be niches where US shipyards could still be competitive and possibly win back market shares in other areas once that the overall volume increase results in better construction practices.

With the Jones Act in place, there's nothing in the cards but further decline that can be slowed down but neither stopped nor reverted by more protectionism. The Jones Act serves the interest of the few remaining shipyards and the worker unions, but not America's.

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Massachusetts even had to import natural gas from Russia despite the US having plenty and being a net exporter because there wasn't a pipeline and there weren't enough Jones Act compliant LNG tankers in existence.

 

OECD studies have estimated up to $64 billion in economic gains if the Jones Act were repealed. That's more than the USMCs entire budget.  Plus beneficial knock on effects like reducing truck traffic on coastal routes.

 

7 hours ago, Ol Paint said:

The vestige of commercial shipbuilding industry we do have is directly the result of the Jones Act and PVSA.  There would be NO commercial ocean-going ships built without it and the PVSA.  I challenge you to look at the construction records of Aker Philly/Philly Shipyard, NASSCO, or Halter over the last decade and say with a straight face that the ships built for Jones Act trade for Crowley, Matson, and others would still have been built in the United States without the law.  The existence of the Jones Act is the sole reason Aker Philly exists. 

The question at the head of this quote is misframing the discussion and my previous posting.  Is it your contention that elimination of the Act will somehow improve the US commercial shipbuilding industry by buying from allied nations?  I'll repeat my questions:  "Explain how the elimination of the Jones Act will result in the resurgence of US heavy industry in the face of the subsidized Asian shipyards?  Explain how reliance on equipment and materials shipped from Asia to the United States will be tenable in the event of a conflict with China or Russia?" 

The only allied nations with a meaningful shipbuilding capability are Japan and South Korea.  And they're in the middle of the potential conflict zone.  If you watched the videos posted earlier in this thread, you would know that around 95 percent of the tonnage is being delivered from those countries--no one else really matters.  Continuing down the globalization/"free" trade path is simply going to kill off the remaining capability and further increase the costs of naval shipbuilding.

Doug

 

 

I get it, you're upset that our shipbuilding and related heavy industry has atrophied. Me too. I couldn't care less about the workers, ordinarily I would say if they're not competitive let it die... but being able to build ships is an important and perishable skillset for a nation to have on grounds of principle and sometimes targeted subsidies to maintain this is sometimes warranted.  

However, reexpanding our infrastructure is on no one's to-do list. Nobody on the national scale is even talking about it, the average person has no idea,  and nobody will talk about it unless war were to break out... and then it's too late.

So put a pin in that.  We are where we are. Meanwhile, there IS an option C)... the jones act isn't required to subsidize the shipbuilding industry. We could keep the few remaining shipyards alive through welfare (as we're doing presently), under the guise of "maintaining skills" while also eliminating or heavily reforming the jones act so we can actually bolster our ship numbers in the meantime, both commercial and military, for a fraction of the time and money.  

All that requires is a stroke of a pen. Your preferred way, (that we re-expand capacity and heavy industry starting yesterday) may be the righteous solution in principle, but since it requires gobs more money and decades of time in peacetime posture, it's not even on the horizon. 

Meanwhile the clock is ticking, and time is precious leading up to a potential conflict. We ought to do whatever it takes to get as many hulls as possible now to flesh out the fleet and commercial shipping.  Nothing should be off the table, including tapping into allied shipbuilding infrastructure. We can tar and feather the politicians who let our shipbuilding industry languish later. One the shooting starts and overseas shipbuilding is interrupted then you'll have your push and national will to expand domestic capacity again with wartime money and wartime optempo.

I'm results oriented, and process agnostic. This is precisely the opposite of our current procurement process. As long as we have the ships I don't care how we get there. Once that is sorted, feel free to lobby to un-pooch the upstream ship industry issues.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Burncycle360
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It is culture. US have a revolutionary capitalism sort of. It competes by changing the battlefield and the battle not by fighting the battle. In general no US "traditional" industry is competitive against other advanced countries. The most competent and genius in America - and those immigrants - go those new fields. They do no go to Boeing, GM or shipyards building ships, they go to SpaceX , Tesla, Google and all industries that change the world. Capital follows them because 5% profit margin is not enough it has to be several times that.

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22 hours ago, futon said:

A Japanese soldier turned survivor turned author opened his book about the war experience in New Guinea about how ironic it was to go to war agaisnt the allies in that the namesake of the ship that his unit was being transported on, was the  England Maru. It was a class of transport ships called "1st Daifuku maru". 75 were built by Kawasaki from the years 1916 to 1921. Customers of the ship were the US, GB, and Japan itself. The names of many of the ships were that of international cities and states. The England Maru would later be sunk in May 1943 by a US sub.

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/第一大福丸型貨物船

 

Surely the US was making lots of their own ships at the time. But buying stuff at low cost due to low human labor cost is always sought after by high gdp per capita countries. 

While not to say the following to means its ok for the US to have low ship building rates, the total package of everything necessary us very big. Super massive. In the inverse, there's lots of stuff that Japan, ROK, get that are American.. from software to grain for food and the nuclear umbrella. Those of the US can fancy making all things necesary in the US. Others can't even fancy it since economy of scale is just too small and natural resources too scarce. Such a pitiful reality for these in-between countries. 

US naval ship procurement costs was no issue for the much better part of the past 30 years.. or more as there was no peer naval competitor. Now the PLAN is looking like it'll become one, which was taking too long to be obvious to some. 

Which by the way.. recent simulations say that China loses in a Taiwan contingency. Oh ok, great, China loses, maybe costs still high on US, (and oh yeah and Japan navy), but what about after? Whose going to rebuild the navy faster? Round 2, goes to China. No MSM speculates a round 2. Why so hard to imagine round 2? Ohhh~ island nation Japan has big share of job stealing ship building.. doesn't include VLS production, naval gun production, or whatever other naval bits come from around the world that going into JMSDF ships. 1 sub a year, two Mogami, and then sonething else a little big.. compared to PRC Type 52Ds coming in 4 at a time with a carrier, LHDs, subs, and w/e else coming along.

 

Do you have the name of the author and his book? New Guinea from the a Japanese view sounds interesting. 

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