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.
And many Americans who become good friends with or enter into business relationships with such non assimilated PRC expats often become brainwashed themselves, and end up being the worst sort - Americans who are Beijing bootlickers. Such things have happened in the past. Vis a vis Nazi Germany there were many apologists. Same deal with the USSR (witness Armand Hammer as a particularly amazing example...).
The two most dangerous things are the 093s (and their loads of ICBMs) and the increasing stock of road mobile IRBMs and ICBMs. Since the PRC are not covered by the SALT series or the INF, that means no inspection rights for anyone (of course, the efficacy of any inspection regime is an uncertainty unto itself but that is a matter for another thread and another day....). These two factors are the quiet threat.
Yep, Robert Zoellick, John Snow and Gregory Mankiw to name a few.
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Also for China to reach Siberian oil...only take to cover 2k km of mountain forests with few roads...they can come and they will feed Siberian wolves and bears.
Why does the DF-21 so closely resemble the SS-20? Is that simply a coincidence?
You missed my point, I was not refering to terrorists, I was refering specifically to PRC spies and covert military. Also, I think you are naive regarding what is required to hire an H1B who is a PRC national. I know, I've hired such people.
If they did, and were benefiting from such an arrangement...then Russia would also be sorely tempted to sit out any escalation of tensions between the United States and China.
...and that is the scenario for the start of the Dragon's Fury Series of novels.
I meant to write 094 not 093. Although the 093 also is a destablizing factor in its own way....
Horse trading - leasehold in Siberia in return for purchasing Russian commodities and mil HW.... the mother of all kick backs. Also, if PLA secure Siberia, then this solves a key logistical problem for Moscow and frees Moscow to thrust West ward and South ward with ease. Witness WW2 - Stalin was concerned that the Japanese would turn attention northward but was quite relieved at the Japanese focus on China and SE Asia, and even more relieved when Japan had to fight the US in the S. Pacific. If Russia can be assured that there will effectively be no Eastern front then Europe and the Middle East are hers.
However, in my series, Russia's dreams of wealth and neutrality are shattered by a Barbarosa II...coming form the east.
As usual of American fiction books, you have no idea of Russian or Indian or Chinese psychi. Here is little prep: Indians dispise China because China betray close friendship pact and invade India shortly after signing...Indians still remember and arm now for revenge. China consider Russians subhumans, and so for all other peoples, and local Siberians little as animals...why local Siberians always loyal to Russia...in fear of China. Russians, and I speak from experience, are paranoid of yellow hordes, hate the east that invade us so often in past and love our Rodina like our proverbal mother...that mean every last inch of her land.
Any president who give up even portion look at likely revolution: why Yeltsin suddenly grow back bone to Clinton...generals say if Chechnya is cut free...they return to Moscow alright...straight into revolution. Why Russia and Japan still at war for 50 years, Russia retake Sahkalin and never surrender it.
Russia have trade agreements that is not even close to size of US. US is creating frankenstein by giving China everything short of own virgins...but don't worry soon Chinese will take raw resources of American women too...they are short of women. Will US give up daughters for credit to buy cheap junk too?
Japan loose several major battle to Zukov in 1939. Also Stalin through spies know Japan will not invade. As for horse trading, maybe Americans ready to lease out America land, but Russians not. Already new development and recolonization effort along Chinese border. As for thrusting, Russia is more to fear NATO/EU aggressors. It is NATO who bomb Christians for Islamics over and over...well Orthodox Christians...then stand and make postcards while Christian churches burn and give hugs and kisses to Islamics.
Ah, but you forget WE had Mcnamara on our side.
Oops, I read PLO rather than PLA. In any case, the Chinese are actually they're pretty open about their intentions. They are now encouraging their ex-pat scientists and grad students to go back home and are providing incentives to do so. We get much more from importing bright people in anycase. I would prefer to get more of them to stay. The family friend I wrote about in my earlier post was recruited by Chinese agents and offered $1 million dollars to disclose what he knew about lasers and high speed semi-conductors. They even threatened to confiscate his new factory in Shanghai. He refused and reported this contact to the FBI as per his post employment contract terms and post security clearance requirements. Of course he's ethnic Chinese from Vietnam like myself, so he hates Communists as much as I do.
I'm not going to sit here and deny that there are spies and moles. There are and I hate them worse than anyone because it casts apsersions on myself and other loyal immigrant-citizens. But I'm going to stand by what I said about corporate security. If it's valuable, it's probably closely guarded and if it's not then it is not worth sweating over.
So are you saying that you knowingly hired PRC spies and covert military through your H1B program? Or was it just paranoia?
Despite all you say, Russia and China do have joint military and economic agreements. Look at all the SU-27 aircraft that are sold to the Chinese and now licence built by the Chinese. Look at the diesel subs, the Sovremmenny destroyers, etc.
So please, although I agree with you about the danger of Red China and the foolish way my country (The USA) is dealing with her, please do not patronize me about my knowledge of Red Chinese, Russian and Indian affairs.
Russia is clearly helping to arm China and using them (in what they perceiv as their own self interests) as a balance against the US to this day. Since Russia is eager to get the hard currency that the military equipment brings...I have no doubts that they would jump at a chance to exploit Siberia (while continuing to own it and control it) if the Chinese offered the man-power to do so for the right price.
As to China and India getting together...well, they are making noises now...but I agree it is also unlikely...but more unlikely things have happened in the past, like in 1939 with the Stalin/Hilter pact. That one took the whole world by surprise...and your Rodina paid a horrible price for it.
That's what these books are about...the danger of what could be. Before you throw around insults about them...try and read one or two. Nothing in there in any moreimplausible than what has already occurred in history, particularl the 20th century. And those who fail to learn those lessons from history, are apt to repeat them.
Zing! And don't forget their sale of the Topol-M design as well...
You are 100% on the money. We obviously must adjust to face and defeat the current threat from insurgents and terrorists, but we dare not over-correct and abandon what brought us to the dance. As you say, our enemies will come from whichever angle they can.
Thanks for the link. Excellent page.