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SUBMARINES: The Chinese Submarine Building Program
StrategyPage ^ | 5/24/04 | Sid Trevethan

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 world’s 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.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: armsbuildup; china; chinese; chinesenavy; france; program; ramonstock; raymondstock; raystock; russia; submarine
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To: crz

"They OWN both ends of the Panama canal. How many people they have down there is anybodys guess."

But Panama itself is actually very pro-American. Not just the government but also the vast majority of the people love the US. They even dollarized their currency, that is they use the US dollar as their official currency.

Other countries aren't suicidal. If they were to try a full on invasion, the US has enough nukes to blow everyone up. There's no advantage for anyone to occupy the US. Without the US as the customer of choice for the world economy, the world would go into a depression that would make the Great Depression look like a lark.

41 posted on 05/24/2004 8:08:41 PM PDT by pragmatic_asian
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To: Mariner
"The Red Chinese have never marched through Viet Nam. They tried a little 8 day incursion after we left......and were soundly trounced."

Yup. That's what I remember too.

42 posted on 05/24/2004 8:16:20 PM PDT by blam (Old diesel sub sailor)
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To: pragmatic_asian
(The largest contingent are Canadians but I'm guessing you don't have a problem with them.)

You're jumping to conclusions, PA. I actually like Chinese people a lot. I'm married to a wonderful woman who is half-Chinese and we have a lot of Chinese friends, but unlike you, I can't say that I've noticed they are particularly patriotic, to say the least -- unless it's patriotic toward China -- just opportunistic (which, btw, I don't have a problem with). Many of them are thoroughly brainwashed and very touchy about any criticism of that dictatorship. They're here to make a buck and get an education at the best universities in the world and then go back and help their country. I've heard this reasoning from them over and over and over again. And let's not forget, China does require them to return after their education. We should be much more cautious in allowing foreigners to come here to study, imo (incl. Canadians).

43 posted on 05/24/2004 8:17:45 PM PDT by LibWhacker (What muslim rights?)
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To: LibWhacker

Let's stand by and allow another totalitarian dictatorship to become a superpower, the last Cold War was so much fun!"

Oh, I don't think the Chinese are interested in a cold war.

China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC)

People's Liberation Army Navy

Report to Congress Pursuant to the FY2000 National Defense Authorization Act

..............Doctrine of Preemption and Surprise.
Chinese doctrine continues to emphasize surprise, deception, and shock effect in the opening phase of a campaign.
In addition to development or procurement of “Assassin’s Mace” weapon systems to counter intervening U.S. forces, China is exploring coercive strategies designed to bring Taipei to terms quickly.

Military Budget. In
March 2002, China announced a 17.5 percent or $3 billion increase in spending, bringing the publicly reported total to $20 billion.
Estimates of total spending range from $45 billion to $65 billion; annual spending could increase in real terms three- to four-fold by 2020.
For the fourth year in a row, contracts for advanced weapons systems from Russia were $ 2 billion--double the average annual figure throughout the 1990s.

44 posted on 05/24/2004 9:00:33 PM PDT by philetus (Keep doing what you always do and you'll keep getting what you always get)
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To: philetus


45 posted on 05/24/2004 9:01:53 PM PDT by philetus (Keep doing what you always do and you'll keep getting what you always get)
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To: TalBlack
Its called "sunburn" and they bought it from the russians.

Its not worth a crap though. Might be fast but the range is extremely limited. We had this discussion long ago with someone who knows a lot more than me.

He was some engineer of weapons systems specifically for the navy I think.

His main point was "yeah they might haul ass but they can't go beyong XX range...we can just sit back more than that XX range and hit them every time...Kind of like boxing with someone with 5 feet long arms"

46 posted on 05/24/2004 9:11:13 PM PDT by maui_hawaii
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To: LibWhacker
Dubya can't do this on his own, not when half the Congress seems to hate the United States. He's not a dictator.

Whoa hold on a minute. Since when did the rats become a majority party in congress? Its not just a few RINOs who are blocking correction of our open borders and so called free trade policy, its more like 95% of the republican party. As I said both parties are equally responsible.

47 posted on 05/24/2004 11:37:29 PM PDT by rmmcdaniell
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To: inflation
Ain't the results of onesided 'freetrade' grand! ;->

Yes, indeed. This adds a whole new dimension to the term "free traitor" doesn't it?

48 posted on 05/24/2004 11:45:18 PM PDT by neutrino (Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences. Robert Louis Stevenson.)
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To: crz

Ok. WHY would they want to attack the US now?

49 posted on 05/24/2004 11:57:53 PM PDT by Cronos (W2K4)
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To: LibWhacker

50 posted on 05/24/2004 11:58:55 PM PDT by Fitzcarraldo
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To: Cronos

Food. And simply power.

51 posted on 05/25/2004 5:07:12 AM PDT by crz
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To: LibWhacker

52 posted on 05/25/2004 5:16:57 AM PDT by crz
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To: Jeff Head

Straight out of the pages of your novel.

53 posted on 05/25/2004 6:22:36 AM PDT by Jack Black
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To: LibWhacker

lot of people think that by paying the chicoms tribute in the form of a 100 billion dollar trade surplus every year will keep the Dragon peaceful and cooperative. I fear that they are in for a horrific awakening one day.

54 posted on 05/25/2004 6:33:02 AM PDT by Eternal_Bear
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To: LibWhacker

lot of people think that by paying the chicoms tribute in the form of a 100 billion dollar trade surplus every year will keep the Dragon peaceful and cooperative. I fear that they are in for a horrific awakening one day.

55 posted on 05/25/2004 6:34:44 AM PDT by Eternal_Bear
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To: maui_hawaii

I've heard that argument, but I have always wondered what would happen if we aren't allowed to shoor first. Depending on the rules of engagement, isn't it possible they could get close enough to use these weapons to launch a Pearl Harbor style first strike? After all, if they knock out even one carrier our ability to project power would be badly reduced.

I will freely admit I don't know much about these things, and I not saying we should be panicing, but it does seem like it should be concenr, and maybe justify giving the Navy some budget help.

56 posted on 05/25/2004 6:40:39 AM PDT by Steelerfan
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To: boomop1

Actually, during the Reagan Administration (1987), Toshiba illegally sold to the USSR the data and tools to make really quiet propellers; undoubtedly, the Sov, er, Russians have shared this data with the Chicoms.

57 posted on 05/25/2004 6:47:25 AM PDT by Little Ray (John Ffing sKerry: Just a gigolo!)
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To: Jack Black
Unfortunately, it is so.

Knarf pinged me to this in post number 7, and I responded in post number 24.

I am afraid we are in potentially very dangerous waters as wemust continue in Iraq, and yet other belligerents are preparing in the Pacific...which is the exact scenario of the entire Dragon's Fury Series.

58 posted on 05/25/2004 6:51:31 AM PDT by Jeff Head (
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To: LibWhacker

"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."

You forgot the part about Americans funding the Chicom military through purchases made at Walmart, Target, etc. You may puke now.

59 posted on 05/25/2004 6:58:14 AM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: pragmatic_asian

So, do you believe, for example, that if someone were secretly in the PLA or even ErBu, and used being a student here as a means of spying, that this fact would be discovered by the typical H1B hiring and screening process at the typical corporation?

60 posted on 05/25/2004 9:24:29 AM PDT by GOP_1900AD (Stomping on "PC," destroying the Left, and smoking out faux "conservatives" - Right makes right!)
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