Skip to comments.SUBMARINES: The Chinese Submarine Building Program
Posted on 05/24/2004 5:27:29 PM PDT by LibWhacker
May 24, 2004: The Peoples Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) regards its submarine force as its first line naval force. Not without reason. Only the submarine force has nuclear powered ships. More importantly, Chinese submarines pose the most significant threat to hostile naval forces, especially U.S. Navy carrier battle groups. The Chinese submarine force is undergoing rapid conversion to modern propulsion, sensor and weapons technologies. At the same time, serious measures have been taken to reduce noise levels and increase the effectiveness of the crews.
The elite portion of the submarine force is its nuclear powered ships. Submarines are officially "ships" in the PLAN, rather than "boats" as in other navies. The Chinese nuclear submarine force was long mainly a paper threat. The original half a dozen nuclear submarines (5 Han attack boats and a single Xia which is nominally a ballistic missile sub) were the most noisy nuclear submarines ever built. Worse, they had terrible problems with radiation leaks in the reactor coolant system. The first of these subs was completed in 1974, but not operational until the 1980s because so many design and construction flaws had to be corrected. During the 1990s, an extensive program was undertaken to rebuild them all. Rumored to have been re-engined with French reactors (replacing the original German ones). U.S. Navy intelligence believes that, instead, the entire reactor coolant system was rebuilt. The Chinese subs had their electronics and sonar systems replaced with French equipment, and three may have been fitted with C-801 Ynng Ji 8 (Eagle Strike) ASCM (submarine launched cruise missile). Interestingly, the single Xia class sub, although used for missile launch trials, has never deployed with operational ballistic missiles, and apparently has been added to the force as an attack submarine. Supporting this theory are reports indicating the JL-1 and JL-1A ballistic missile (designed for Xia) never entered mass production nor were warheads manufactured for them.
Meanwhile, the first of the new 093 class SSN is nearing completion this year. A second of the 093 class has already been launched and two or more additional units are eventually expected to be built. These submarines, built with Russian technical advice, are similar to the Russian Victor III class. They have been modified to use the new Chinese land attack cruise missile (HN-3). The 093s are considered to be very quiet. A new missile submarine (type 094) has also begun construction. It is reportedly designed to use a sea based version of a land based ICBM (known as JL-2 in naval form). This missile could reach US targets from Chinese waters.
Potentially more significant is the rapidly expanding conventional submarine force. Typical of PLAN programs, there are parallel domestic and foreign weapons systems. Most famous, perhaps, is the purchase of four Russian Kilo class submarines, including two of the more advanced Project 636 types. More ominously, China ordered an additional eight units of this class, for simultaneous delivery in 2006, and it appears all will be delivered by 2007. These are superb submarines, quieter than most of the worlds nuclear submarines (when not recharging batteries with their diesel engines), and outfitted with very good sensors and torpedoes.
Less well understood are the newer domestic submarine classes. The first of these, called Ming, has completed production. But one of these boats was used to test a form of AIP (Air Independent Propulsion), and the final series of six was built to use the best sonar and torpedoes available and also reportedly use AIP. With a workable AIP, these subs could stay underwater for weeks, and be quieter than American nuclear subs.
The other domestic class is the Song. Subject to protracted development, it required a substantial redesign, so that the first ships produced were considered a subclass, called Song I. There are now six Song II, all with AIP, and all fitted to fire the same ASCM as the later Han SSNs (YJ-8). Often reported to be fired from separate tubes, in fact these missiles are torpedo tube launched weapons.
Taken together, these modern submarines represent a very significant capability. They are as quiet as the US Los Angelus class, and those with AIP do not have to use noisy diesel engines to recharge their batteries for weeks. The Song class subs are still building at a rate of one a year.
Finally, the PLAN continues to operate significant (but declining) numbers of Romeo class submarines. Copied from a Russian design, those still in service have also had new French sonar equipment installed. There are about 36 of these ships, but only about 21 active duty crews to serve them. The PLAN does not associate a crew with a specific submarine. Crews live ashore and are assigned a sub for a given mission. The Romeo class submarines might be significant as minelayers, as bait for anti-SSN traps, and as threats to merchant shipping.
A final note about the PLAN submarine force. Long thought to use inferior Chinese designed torpedoes, it is entirely equipped with Russian torpedoes. The Yu-1 torpedo is the Russian Type 53-51, the Yu-3 is the SET-65E, the Yu-4 is the SET-60, the Yu-5 is the TEST-71/96 and the Yu-6 is the Type 53-65 (which has been compared to the Mark 48). Only the newer boats are fitted to use the Yu-5 and Yu-6.
Sheesh, I sure hope the Pentagon is further along in its ABM development and deployment plans than it appears.
Did Bill Clinton sell them the plans?
Ain't the results of onesided 'freetrade' grand! ;->
To hear the economists tell it, China doesn't need these subs. She's soooooo friendly with the U.S. A.H.s!
I wonder if we'll ever know how much that traitor sold us out to the Chicoms? The SOB.
The PLAN does not associate a crew with a specific submarine. Crews live ashore and are assigned a sub for a given mission.What brilliant PLANNING in the PLAN. Why allow a crew the time or training to become intimately knowledgeable of any one boat? A submarine is as unsophisticated and easy to operate as a pontoon raft--you just get in it and go ... if you want to die at some absurd depth because your hull breaches while being chased by self-propelled guided munitions ....
Tell the truth Jeff, you authored this article dincha'?
For those that don't know, our very own Jeff Head saw this some years ago and told about it in his Dragons Fury books.
Very scary, bro.
Just using the tech they bought from Boner Bill.
Has anyone heard anything about the "gas torpedo" that the ChiComs were supposedly developing? It would sure fit in with this story! The weapon was supposed to ride a cloud of bubbles, under water, at speeds around 200mph. The thrust of the report (maybe around 1998) was that a carrier group would be sitting ducks for such a weapon. I never heard another thing about it after the inital report.
Pitiful situation. When I was in grad school 20 years ago, it seemed like a third of all the grad students around me in engineering and the sciences were Chicom nationals, almost all the sons and daughters of China's political elite. Not only have rats handed them our technology on a silver platter, we've been training our enemies for a generation now how to take that technology and run with it, improve upon it, and discover who knows what? Makes me sick.
I got into a real good arguement with another on here a few weeks back who said that in NO WAY will the Red Chinese be able to attack the US. The fellow seemed to think that they could not sustain a two or three pronged attack aimed agianst us over the world.
Here is the plan as I would see it. They got at least 500 thousand so called advisors in East Africa..some reports that I have seen estimates over one million. So the use the help of the Muslims in the mid east to send off against the oil reserve nations cutting off oil supplies to us. Does anyone think that the Muslims wouldnt help them if it would come to killing American and Israel people?
They OWN both ends of the Panama canal. How many people they have down there is anybodys guess. I would not be shocked that the figure is around a half million or more. So they cut off the use of the canal. Then how many in Cuba. They have evidence that they are building bunkers in Cuba. What the "H" do they need bunkers in Cuba for? Then the island in the Carrib owned and run by the Lippo group as a "port" facility. Ya right. A port facility. And what is being stored amoungst the merch within some of those buildings?
Then comes North Korea. They need North Korea to settle down and shut up for now. Then when time is right look out. It isnt to far to run up the coast to the Bering Straights and across.
Point is. They can cut off our oil supply (one front), let North Korea start something on that peninsula (second front). Get it going around the Carib and South America and send em off through Mexico from Panama (third front). Think they need food? Nope. They eat everything. They'll simply use whats at hand leaving the locals to starve..as if they care. All they need is arms and the means to ship manpower over here..that is more manpower, as no doubt they'll have enough people salted within our boarders to disrupt the heck out of us.
This all takes time. And time they have had and will continue to have for a while. We are busy with the Iraq and Afganistan crisis. So they are busy doing what they need to do.
Can we sustain and fight a three front war?
About all we can do is spout off on it. Just like those who cursed those who financed Germany and Japan, you and I will get the boobie prize of knowing we told folks so. Our trade policies and agreements, our illegal immigration fiasco and even the terrible policies that see radical middle-eastern nation's people immigrate here in huge numbers, will take us down on their own. I'd step on a hell of a lot of toes if I went on. I do consider it traiterous, sedicious and subversive.
You forgot the chinese port facilities in california! They have military personnel and probably nuclear weapons inside our own borders.
-Whine- they aren't military - they are civilians, will cry the leftist stooges. Only the ignorant would believe that just like the did about the "civilian" onership of comapnies that just happen to make military and missile control systems - thanks to clintoons and company.
It's not just the left that thinks china is our friend. A lot of people in the GOP love them to death.
As this happens we are considering cutting our attack sub force by as much as a third:
We had better be careful. I know that "Cold War weapons" are out of fashion, but they can come in handy when fighting superpower wanabees.
Yes, cavitating torpedoes. The Pentagon has a substantial and active program working on them. But so do a number of other countries, Russia mainly. I remember those articles well . . . But you're right, we don't hear much anymore.
Why can't you wake up and realize the Republicans sell us out just as bad as the rats? Who was president 20 years ago when you were in grad school? What has Bush done to correct this problem?
Lots of people with their heads in the sand, that's for sure! What gets me is when folks claim China can't catch up anytime soon. I believe they're catching up very quickly. Worse is when people say the Chinese historically aren't known to be innovators and so will never be a threat to us. Insane.
The technology you are referring to is known as super-cavitation. Basically, if an object travels within an encapsulated bubble of air, in water, it overcomes a lot of the inherent water resistance and thus allows it to achieve capabilities that would normally not be possible under the fluid dynamic conditions of water. In this case a torpedo is 'blanketed' with many small air bubbles, reducing drag, and allowing it to go at speeds far beyond what is 'normal.'
The Soviets (and thereafter the Russians) started this branch. They came up with a torpedo system called the Shkval (Squall), where the weapon could go in a straight line at speeds 5-6 times faster than the fastest we had. However the initial weapon had a fatal flaw ....it could only travel in a straight line. Hence, it was at best a weapon fired after a US sub had fired at the Ruskie sub. Hence, that would probably force the US sub to stop guidance, and hence save the Ruskie sub.
They were originally meant to be fitted with a nuclear warhead, hence going in a straight line was never the main issue ....speed was.I do know that the USN is also working on some super-cavitation weapons ....most of them directed towards 'shooting' underwater mines and incoming torpedos, and to some extent coming up with super-fast torpedoes of our own (although our doctrine is more toward stealth and quietness than torpedoes that think they are rockets).
Hope that answers your questions.
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