Sunday, April 17, 2005

China's sub plan menace

Over the last few months I have been posting about the military build up by China, especially the Chinese navy. Now comes this disturbing report from James T. Hackett, on the scope of the build up of China's submarine forces.

"Much has been written about China's arms buildup. Perhaps most ominous is the major ugrading of Beijing's submarine fleet. The world's third-largest submarine force is training to blockade Taiwan and attack U.S. aircraft carriers."
The Chinese navy's progression froma brown water to a green water to a blue water force can only be construed as a preparation for an assault on Taiwan and the Spratly Islands. The Spratly Islands are claimed by several countries, including China and Taiwan, and may have extensive oil and gas reserves. Oil is some thing China has a large thirst for.

Here is a listing of the upgrades China has made to it's submarine fleet, I have gleaned from the article:

  • Eighty-four Chinese Romeos were produced and about 35 are still operable. Those still in service have been equipped with French sonar and, while considered obsolete, could be effective against commercial vessels and for laying mines.
  • China has replaced 20 Romeos with more modern Chinese-built Ming-class submarines.
  • Song-class submarines reportedly are equipped with Air Independent Propulsion, enabling them to be very quiet and remain underwater for weeks. And they carry modern anti-ship cruise missiles. Song-class submarines are in production, with seven currently in service.
  • Last year, The Washington Times reported the appearance of yet another new non-nuclear Chinese submarine, the Yuan-class, which appears to be a completely new design combining elements of China's Song and Russia's Kilo submarines. Two Yuan-class boats have been launched to date. Over the last three years, China has launched 13 new submarines from three different shipyards.
  • But most notable was Beijing's purchase from Russia of four Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines, two of which are Project 636 type. These are excellent submarines, quieter than most, and have modern sensors and torpedoes. China has ordered eight more advanced Kilos, described by the Russians as "state-of-the-art Russian submarines." They will carry modern long-range anti-ship missiles, and are to be delivered by 2007.
  • Beijing also is improving its nuclear-powered submarines. For years China had six nuclear-powered subs, five Han-class attack submarines and one Xia-class ballistic missile submarine, which were very noisy and leaked radiation, among other problems. But the nuclear reactors have been rebuilt and French electronics and sonar equipment added. They now carry submarine-launched cruise missiles.
  • The first of China's newest nuclear attack submarine, Type 093, is nearing completion and the second is under construction, with two more planned. Built with Russian help, Type 093 is a major technological advance over the Han-class and will carry China's new HN-3 land-attack cruise missile.
The article has more information on this build up. I noted that the French have been heavily involved in assisting China in upgrading submarine technology. All the more reason for the US to bear as much pressure on the EU to stop any more arms sales to China. Congress, in it's rush to cash in on the so called "peace dividend", has ended the construction program of the Sea Wolf class of submarines. Perhaps it is time to look anew at that weapons program. - Sailor.

No comments:

Post a Comment