China’s Formidable Nuclear Submarine Fleet Coming Soon

China’s Type 094 nuclear submarines

In the past, Chinese nuclear submarines have always been viewed with contempt by US military as easy targets to destroy but China still deployed a few as its second-strike capabilities.

In spite of the submarine’s unsatisfactory noise level, China managed to send its second-strike strategic nuclear submarines without being discovered to ensure it has second-strike capabilities from ocean in addition to those from its mobile ICBMs hidden in its 5,000-km tunnels.

I had a post on November 6, 2013 giving a summary of’s report on Chinese nuclear submarines’ ability to submerge deep and move stealthily into the oceans.

As Chinese strategic submarines ready for second strike have not been discovered by the US, In May 2013 US Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert told Congress during a House defense appropriations subcommittee hearing that “we own the undersea domain.”

The Chinese navy is “not there yet” in terms of undersea power despite deploying a current force of 55 submarines, both diesel and nuclear powered, Greenert said.

However, when tension between China and Japan over disputed Diaoyu Islands (known as Senkakus in Japan) may trigger a war that may involve the US, China was afraid that ignorant of China’s second-strike capabilities, the US might retaliate with nuclear weapons if China has sunk a US aircraft carrier (China was confident it was well able to do so), China did what no others had ever done in revealing its strategic nuclear submarines in CCTV primetime news for three consecutive days.

Since then China has shown its nuclear submarines occasionally.

However, as China has not mastered the technology to produce nuclear submarines advanced enough, it produced only a very small number of them merely necessary to maintain sufficient second-strike capabilities.

On June 4 this year I had a post on China’s mastery of the technology to make nuclear submarines better than America’s (see my post “China to Build Nuclear Submarines More Advanced than America’s” that day), China began large-scale production of nuclear submarines.

Due to the mastery of technology, China’s Bohai Shipyard had built a new large-scale plant to mass produce nuclear submarines.

Western production lines for the most part can only build one nuclear submarine at a time, and only the US is capable of building two simultaneously, but China is now capable of building four simultaneously. (See my post “China has built a nuclear submarine mass production superfactory” on April 6, 2017)

The news has made US military uneasy. In US military expert Bill Gertz’ article “Pentagon report highlights Chinese submarine buildup” on Asia Times on June 20, Retired US Navy Captain Jim Fanell, a former Pacific Fleet intelligence director, is quoted as saying, “make no mistake: China’s long term goal is to displace the US Navy as the largest and most capable submarine force in the world.”

The article says, “Coming soon will be a more modern and advanced missile submarine, the Type 096, with construction expected to begin in the early 2020s and armed with a new more lethal missile, the JL-3.”

According to the article, there will also be advanced nuclear attack submarines as part of what Beijing calls “non-contact warfare” – the use of weapons and platforms capable of conducting long-range, precision attacks from outside an enemy’s defended zone.

That gives the speculation that Chinese advanced nuclear submarine fleet will be able to attack US homeland.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Asia Times article, full text of which can be viewed at


4 Comments on “China’s Formidable Nuclear Submarine Fleet Coming Soon”

  1. Joseph says:

    If the American saw Chinese subs in contempt, they won’t be acting like holy hell when China build subterranean submarine base. Western media often credited American retreat from Taiwan Strait largely due to Chinese Navy overall modernization, but the American actually retreated from Taiwan Strait because of the Yuan class submarine deployments. To this day the American is unable to detect Chinese Type-093 and Type-094 nuclear subs, despite deploying their best ASW assets. In the past, the American often dismissed their failure to detect Chinese nuclear with the excuse that the sub was simply not there to detect. But Chinese Type-093 subs often taunted American navy by surfacing in the middle of American battlegroups, in the East China Sea and Yellow Sea where Chinese Navy dominates. This was how the American had the chance to track the elusive sub, which always took its time on the surface while returning to base, knowing the American tracked it anyway, and once it reached berthing base, the American has to stop its trackings. Four subs can hardly be called a ‘build-up’. But four undetected subs can caused havoc by anxiety alone, including delusional fear of homeland attack. I am not surprised if in the future the American would depth-charge their own subs out of anxiety.


    • Simon says:

      We know the American cant even detect a 730ft 30,000 tonnes container ship in calm sea. Seen what happen to the USS Fitzgerald?


      • Joseph says:

        Must be one heck of a stealth container ship. Duterte does not necessarily needs China’s help to re-arm his navy against the American. A fleet of container ships would do the job just fine.


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