This week Japan approved its latest five-year defense plan. The Mid Term Defense Plan (MTDP) defines Japan’s defense policy and capabilities for 2014 to 2018. The MTDP is meant to give policymakers, politicians, and the public an understanding of Japan’s defense priorities and the direction national defense is taking. Read More
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Last week’s delivery of the improved Kilo-class submarine Ha Noi to the government of Vietnam was just the latest undersea-vessel acquisition of Asian navies. Asia is in the midst of a submarine buying spree, with most of the major powers planning substantial fleet increases over the next two decades. Two countries, Malaysia and Vietnam, have recently acquired their first submarines while a third, Thailand, is pushing to purchase its first submarines in the near future.
Japan recently has been in the news as a result of several high-profile territorial incidents with its neighbor China. The incidents involve what Japanese call the Senkaku islands—the Diaoyu islands to the Chinese. Japan has legal ownership of the islands, which China disputes. The incidents have involved non-government activists and the coast guards of both nations, with many fearing an escalation could lead to some form of armed conflict. Read More
For more than 100 years, the U.S. Navy has simulated naval warfare with simulations, or games. As far back as the 19th century the Navy recognized that gaming and simulations are an inexpensive and bloodless way to learn lessons that typically are imparted only during wartime.
The use of games traditionally has had multiple purposes. The foremost is to train for war. Simulating warfare gives those involved the closest possible experience they can have to actual warfare, thus giving them a modicum of experience under fire. It is an inexpensive way to train without the expense of taking ships and aircraft to sea, particularly in periods of austerity. Read More
Given the nature of the personal computer game market, it’s rare for a commercial game to have the potential to act as an informal training tool. Games tend to trend toward the exaggeration of reality—if not totally fantastic in their premise. An exception to that trend is “Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations,” a “hard” simulation that models all aspects of modern air and sea warfare in painstaking detail. A worthy heir to the Harpoon series of games, “Command” will find a following not only among civilian gamers but might have value among military, government, and policy circles as a simulator of modern warfare. Read More
The Asia-Pacific region recently has seen a rise in construction of multipurpose, aviation-capable ships by major area powers. Australia, China, South Korea, Japan and Thailand all have built ships with full-length flight decks with a variety of purposes: some as helicopter carriers, some as amphibious assault ships. Only one, China’s Liaoning, was built to accommodate traditional fixed-wing aircraft carrier operations, but many others, such as Japan’s Izumo-class of helicopter destroyers could conceivably carry some form of vertical or short takeoff-and-landing aircraft. Read More
On Aug. 9, the Japanese Ministry of Defense held a naming ceremony for the Izumo, the latest ship to join the Maritime Self-Defense Forces. Officially a “helicopter carrier-type escort/destroyer,” Izumo was built at the Japan Marine United shipyards at Yokohama. Although publicly touted as an anti-submarine warfare platform, the ship is capable of filling a critical role in the defense of disputed Japanese territory. The launch has been reported with alarm in East Asia as resurgent territorial claims—exacerbated by nationalism and longstanding historical differences—have generated regional tension not seen for decades. Read More