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China’s Submarine Fleet, Evolution & news

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China Will Soon Have More Submarines Than America. That's Alarming.
But one U.S. advantage can shift back the balance of power.
By Kyle Mizokami
DEC 14, 2020
china military politics

MARK SCHIEFELBEINGETTY IMAGES
  • China’s submarine fleet is on track to surpass America’s by 2030.
  • The problem is exacerbated by the U.S. Navy’s global mission set, requiring it to send submarines everywhere.
  • While this stat is alarming, including the sub fleets of allies like Japan and South Korea shifts the balance of power back away to an America-led coalition.
  • In the next 10 years, China will have more submarines than the U.S. Navy, as that country continues to both grow and upgrade its undersea fighting force. The U.S. will have 66 subs of all types by 2030, compared to China’s projected 76. But while the Navy’s submarine fleet will be the third largest in the world, after China and North Korea, raw numbers don’t quite tell the whole story.
  • China’s ongoing naval expansion is the largest since World War II. The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has amassed a large force of cruisers, destroyers, and amphibious ships, and built the country’s first two aircraft carriers, with a third on the way.

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    In 1993, China counted 47 submarines, including one marginally useful Xia-class ballistic missile submarine, just five noisy Han-class nuclear powered attack submarines, 34 1950s-era Romeo-class diesel electric submarines, and six older Ming-class submarines. Simply put, China’s submarine force wasn’t terribly useful and was, at best, a coastal defense force.

    china military politics

    A Type 094 Jin-class ballistic missile submarine. China currently has four such submarines, with another two under construction.
  • Now, after 27 years of double-digit defense spending increases, China’s sub fleet is a different beast altogether.

    According to a Congressional Research Service report, by 2019, the PLAN consisted of four ballistic missile submarines, six nuclear-powered attack submarines, and 50 diesel electric attack submarines. All four ballistic missile submarines and all six nuclear attack submarines are new types, while 42 of the 50 diesel electric submarines are also new—the Type 39A, Russian Kilo class, and Yuan-class submarines.
  • The PLAN, Naval News reports, isn’t done expanding. The U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Intelligence projects China’s submarine fleet will grow to 76 submarines by 2030, bringing its total to 76. This includes a net increase of 16 boats, plus the replacement of the approximately eight remaining Ming-class submarines. It could also represent replacing one of two Kilo-class diesel electric attack submarines China purchased from Russia in the late 1990s.

    Two of the subs will be equipped with long-range nuclear missiles; the Pentagon’s 2020 China Military report states a pair of Type 094 missile subs are in the process of fitting out, bringing China’s sea-based nuclear deterrent to six submarines.

    the uss virginia fast attack submarine enters service

    USS Indiana, a Virginia-class nuclear powered attack submarine, off the coast of Florida, 2018.
    NURPHOTOGETTY IMAGES
    The U.S. submarine fleet will be pretty much static during the 2020-30 period, dropping slightly from 68 subs of all types to 66.

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    The U.S. Navy has fewer classes of submarines, including the older, improved Los Angeles-class attack submarines built in the 1980s and 1990s, the trio of Seawolf-class attack submarines, 14 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines, and the newer Virginia-class attack submarines. All American submarines are nuclear-powered.
  • China’s submarine fleet has made dramatic advances, but it also faces problems. On one hand, most of the fleet is fairly modern and new. On the other, most of it still consists of diesel electric submarines with limited range, and Chinese subs aren't as quiet as American subs.

    Only six out of China’s 56 attack submarines could cross the Pacific to threaten naval bases in Hawaii or the continental U.S. All of America’s submarines, however, could cross the Pacific to operate off the coast of the Asian mainland. Another problem? China has few real allies with submarine fleets of their own, with the exception of Pakistan and its fleet of five aging submarines.

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    The U.S. Navy is in for a slight dip in overall numbers, but things get better after the 2030 timeframe. The Navy’s new 30-year shipbuilding plan sees the service increasing the number of submarines built from two a year to generally three a year by 2025. The number of nuclear-powered attack submarines reaches a bottom of 50 in 2025, but gradually rebounds, reaching 61 by 2035 and 80 by 2051. The total number of all U.S. submarines will reach 93 by 2051 ... if the Navy is able to afford them.

    Meanwhile, the 14 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines are replaced by 12 new Columbia-class submarines, and the four Ohio-class cruise missile submarines fade from the force entirely. But there are hints they could be replaced by new boats based on the Columbia submarine hull.

    japan military navy review

    Kenryu, a Soryu-class attack submarine of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Forces, 2012.
  • The U.S. Navy has another, often invisible advantage over China: the submarine fleets of its allies. Japan has 22 diesel electric attack submarines, including 12 of the excellent Soryu class, while South Korea operates 18 smaller diesel electric attack submarines. Taiwan operates just two aging submarines, but is embarking on an effort to build eight new subs.

    A future conflict in the Pacific would involve at least some, if not all, of these fleets, bolstering the Navy’s numbers.
 

Figaro

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Indeed but until China deploys the 09Vs, their SSN fleet is still severely lacking against the USN. The 093B is comparable to the 688i, so the PLAN really needs the 09V to counter the Seawolf and Virginia class SSNs.
 

Titanium100

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Chinas way to victory is EMP strike. With first strike policy and if the reverse happens they are finished. The submarines will be symbolic only and then they can rolle over unified europe.

Its like a 100 meter dash where you gotta get the yellow card by dashing out first
 

S10

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Most of China's submarines are SSK, conventional boats with slower speed and diving depths. On top of that, less than half of those are equipped with AIP. Numbers doesn't tell the whole picture. In terms of capability, it will take at least 2 decades at current pace to be on par with USN in this area.
 

samsara

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Akasa

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Wow :p: ... if true!


View attachment 712306
There was a recent CJDBY post by fzgfzy claiming that the 09-V and 09-VI might come soon.

 

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