|Tuesday, October 17, 2006 (Tokyo):
Japan plans to develop and produce a "next generation" non-nuclear submarine that is quieter, more resistant to attack and has more advanced sonar capabilities.
The estimated 5.1 billion yen ($42.9 million), ten-year project is to begin in April 2007, a Defence Agency official said on condition of anonymity, citing protocol.
He said the agency has made a budget request of 400 million yen ($3.36 million) for the initial year, pending parliamentary approval.
The project primarily aims to cut the noise from a submarine's propeller to minimise the risk of it being detected, while increasing the vessel's shock resistance in case of enemy attacks.
The agency plans to conduct research and development in the first five years, followed by experiments on a prototype through 2014 for an expected launch in 2016.
The spokesman denied the project is targeted to a particular nation. But he said China and Russia currently have nuclear-powered submarines that can operate anywhere almost indefinitely.
Does this mean AIP?