Australia demands Japan forfeits right to submarine intellectual property
Updated: 2015-05-26 15:12
CANBERRA - Australia will demand Japan hands over all technology and intellectual property rights relating to its Soryu submarines if the Japanese government ends up winning the right to build Australia's next class of submarines.
Two private companies from France and Germany have submitted bids for the construction contract but the favorite to win the tender process is Japan for its Soryu Class submarine, despite Japan's lack of defense export culture and experience.
Defense Minister Kevin Andrews will travel to a Japanese submarine base at Osaka next week to view a Soryu Class boat and conduct high-level talks with senior government and industry officials.
He is expected to receive a official bid from the Japanese government, according to a News Corp report on Tuesday.
The Soryu, which Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in February called "the best in the world," is the Australian government's favored option in the tender to replace the aging Swedish-made Collins Class boats.
The Australian government needs the technology and rights to intellectual property in order to control maintenance and upgrades.
The Soryu is the largest and reportedly the stealthiest of all non-nuclear boats, however little is known about its limitations.
Key questions remain unanswered regarding its endurance and range - major factors in its suitability to Australian requirements.
News Corp reported discussions with Andrews and Japanese officials next week will cover the rights issue, including how long into the contract a transfer of technology and intellectual property will occur.
It is believed a "hybrid build" may take place, where Japan build the first two boats at Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe shipyards before inviting Australian construction workers to participate in the building of the next pair of boats.
Boats five to eight of the contract would then be built in Adelaide at the government-owned Australian Submarine Corporation.
Andrews will travel to Japan after a major security speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Sunday.