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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: LibWhacker

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...).

61 posted on 05/25/2004 9:28:43 AM PDT by GOP_1900AD (Stomping on "PC," destroying the Left, and smoking out faux "conservatives" - Right makes right!)
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To: maui_hawaii

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.

62 posted on 05/25/2004 9:33:05 AM PDT by GOP_1900AD (Stomping on "PC," destroying the Left, and smoking out faux "conservatives" - Right makes right!)
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To: Little Ray
I remember that, I trashed my Toshiba CD player. The technology has soared since then, clintoon allowed guidance and nuclear secrets to be given and he, as president could not qualify for a security clearance had he been in the military
63 posted on 05/25/2004 9:37:59 AM PDT by boomop1
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To: inflation
It's not just the left that thinks china is our friend. A lot of people in the GOP love them to death.

Yep, Robert Zoellick, John Snow and Gregory Mankiw to name a few.

Study calls for cut in submarine fleet
China Wins Big at Latest Trade Talks
Defense Procurement: Emergency Measures Versus Long-Term Policy
U.S. Manufacturing's Decline Is Business as Usual for Bush Administration

64 posted on 05/25/2004 9:45:56 AM PDT by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)
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To: Jeff Head
Don't worry those books not come true in such sense...allow me to say why. Russia sell China sea weapons to keep aim at US...which China can not overcome right now. Russia rebuild own forces with monies on land...which China keep as second. Russia also arm India with tanks, fighters and ships...all to attack 1. Chinese south and 2. destroy China arab oil trade route. Also arm Vietnam, S.Korea. Also offer submarines to Taiwan and have joint maneuver with Japan and S.Korea.

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.

65 posted on 05/25/2004 10:18:53 AM PDT by RussianConservative (Xristos: the Light of the World)
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To: RussianConservative

Why does the DF-21 so closely resemble the SS-20? Is that simply a coincidence?

66 posted on 05/25/2004 10:56:25 AM PDT by GOP_1900AD (Stomping on "PC," destroying the Left, and smoking out faux "conservatives" - Right makes right!)
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To: GOP_1900AD
"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?" Anyone with enough skills to get into the US through H1B would very likely not be a terrorist but I suppose they could be terrorist sympathizers and supporters. The common trait for nearly all terrorists is that they're unemployed and have nothing to lose. Consider Raymond Stock an expert on Arabic literature and media based in Cairo: "I don't think the Persons of Mass Destructions (suicide bombers/terrorists) are really a product of local Iraqi resentment against us. They are mainly imported cookie-cutter killers, created by a combination of Arab mass media, certain extremist elements in Muslim culture, and some very shrewd recruiting by Al Qaeda and its ilk. When young, angry, futureless, sexually repressed people are taught that death is a permanent vacation of guilt-free pleasure, and they see it glorified in countless videos, all you need is a willing truck driver to ferry them over the border from Syria, Jordan, Turkey or Saudi Arabia and presto — a human bomb." The US already has the highest number of Palestinian emigres and students of any country (and there really aren't that many) but I've yet to hear anything about Palestinians benefiting from espionage. Even if they stole some knowledge or recieved some training from those corporations, it would not be of any use to the Palestinians since they lack the infrastructure to take significant advantage of it. The techonology to build a decent home is out there but they're content with their 'refugee camps' and lobbing rocks and the occasional mortar. Consider that our patent system requires disclosure sufficient for someone 'skilled in the field' to recreate an invention or technology in order to claimed in a patent. This is how foreign countries are able to manufacture generic versions of US corporation's drugs. The technology that terrorists and spies would find useful is either already out there or require security clearance for access not just a H1B check. One of my brothers works for Boeing and has secret level clearance; almost no Palestinian would even get classified level clearance much less the useful top secret stuff. (Financial and political support to terrorist organizations are a different story but there are plenty of leftists in this country that already do that.) Most high tech companies already have pretty good security to prevent corporate espionage and a good portion of that translates to prevention of plain espionage.
67 posted on 05/25/2004 11:27:41 AM PDT by pragmatic_asian
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To: pragmatic_asian

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.

68 posted on 05/25/2004 11:39:44 AM PDT by GOP_1900AD (Stomping on "PC," destroying the Left, and smoking out faux "conservatives" - Right makes right!)
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To: RussianConservative
Russia and China have current military agreements, as well as economic ones. If China and India jointly proposed providing raw man-power to help truly open up and exploit the huge natural resources in Siberia, paying huge amounts of capitol for those natural resources, I believe Russia would be tempted to go along if the price were right.

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.

69 posted on 05/25/2004 12:11:35 PM PDT by Jeff Head (
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To: Orion78; DarkWaters; JohnOG; Noswad; Sean Osborne Lomax; Blindboy16; Paul Ross; hedgetrimmer; ...

I meant to write 094 not 093. Although the 093 also is a destablizing factor in its own way....

70 posted on 05/25/2004 12:16:59 PM PDT by GOP_1900AD (Stomping on "PC," destroying the Left, and smoking out faux "conservatives" - Right makes right!)
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To: Jeff Head

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.

71 posted on 05/25/2004 12:22:11 PM PDT by GOP_1900AD (Stomping on "PC," destroying the Left, and smoking out faux "conservatives" - Right makes right!)
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To: GOP_1900AD
...or at the very least, she sits it out, trading with both sides and getting richer and richer as China, the radical Islamics and others go at it full bore with the west.

However, in my series, Russia's dreams of wealth and neutrality are shattered by a Barbarosa II...coming form the east.

72 posted on 05/25/2004 12:27:01 PM PDT by Jeff Head (
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To: Jeff Head
believe Russia would be tempted to go along if the price were right.

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 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?

73 posted on 05/25/2004 1:31:29 PM PDT by RussianConservative (Xristos: the Light of the World)
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To: GOP_1900AD; Destro; MarMema; spetznaz

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.

74 posted on 05/25/2004 1:37:19 PM PDT by RussianConservative (Xristos: the Light of the World)
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To: crz
"And we didnt do it in how long?"

Ah, but you forget WE had Mcnamara on our side.


75 posted on 05/25/2004 1:45:44 PM PDT by Jimmy Valentine (DemocRATS - when they speak, they lie; when they are silent, they are stealing the American Dream)
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To: GOP_1900AD

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?

76 posted on 05/25/2004 1:58:42 PM PDT by pragmatic_asian
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To: RussianConservative
India uses Chinese technology along with Russian technology. They have conducted joint naval opertions with China and within the last two months had a joint economic summit where they jointly announced that China and India would jointly control the economic world by the year 2020 I believe was their statement.

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.

77 posted on 05/25/2004 3:48:13 PM PDT by Jeff Head (
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To: GOP_1900AD
Why does the DF-21 so closely resemble the SS-20? Is that simply a coincidence?

Zing! And don't forget their sale of the Topol-M design as well...

78 posted on 05/25/2004 4:42:11 PM PDT by Paul Ross (From the State Looking FORWARD to Global Warming!!)
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To: LibWhacker

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.

79 posted on 05/25/2004 4:48:11 PM PDT by murdocj (Murdoc Online - Everyone is entitled to my opinion (
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To: Jeff Head

Thanks for the link. Excellent page.

80 posted on 05/25/2004 5:36:39 PM PDT by murdocj (Murdoc Online - Everyone is entitled to my opinion (
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