See This Russian ‘Stealth’ Submarine? It Terrifies the U.S. Navy For Lots of Reasons


An underwater terror?

by Sebastien Roblin September 2, 2019

After an expensive round of repairs, the Nerpa was ready to go—and promptly transferred on a ten-year lease to India for $950 million. Redubbed the INS Chakra, it served as India’s only nuclear powered submarine for years, armed with the short-range Klub cruise missile due to the restrictions of the Missile Technology Control Regime. In October 2016, Moscow and New Delhi agreed on the leasing of a second Akula-class submarine, although it’s unclear whether it will be the older Akula I Kashalot or never-completed Akula II Iribis—though the steep $2 billion price tag leads some to believe it may be the latter. This year, the Chakra will also be joined by the domestically-produced Arihant class, which is based on the Akula but reoriented to serve as a ballistic-missile sub.

The Soviet Union produced hot-rod submarines that could swim faster, take more damage, and dive deeper than their American counterparts—but the U.S. Navy remained fairly confident it had the Soviet submarines outmatched because they were all extremely noisy. Should the superpowers clash, the quieter American subs had better odds of detecting their Soviet counterparts first, and greeting them with a homing torpedo. However, that confidence was dented in the mid-1980s, when the Soviet Navy launched its Akula-class nuclear-powered attack submarines. Thirty years later they remain the mainstay of the Russian nuclear attack submarine fleet—and are quieter than the majority of their American counterparts.

(This first appeared in 2017.)

Intelligence provided by the spies John Walker and Jerry Whitworth in the 1970s convinced the Soviet Navy that it needed to seriously pursue acoustic stealth in its next attack submarine. After the prolific Victor class and expensive titanium-hulled Sierra class, construction of the first Project 971 submarine, Akula (“Shark”), began in 1983. The new design benefited from advanced milling tools and computer controls imported from Japan and Sweden, respectively, allowing Soviet engineers to fashion quiet seven-bladed propellers.

The large Akula, which displaced nearly thirteen thousand tons submerged, featured a steel double hull typical to Soviet submarines, allowing the vessel to take on more ballast water and survive more damage. The attack submarine’s propulsion plant was rafted to dampen sound, and anechoic tiles coated its outer and inner surface. Even the limber holes which allowed water to pass inside the Akula’s outer hull had retractable covers to minimize acoustic returns. The 111-meter-long vessel was distinguished by its elegant, aquadynamic conning tower and the teardrop-shaped pod atop the tail fin which could deploy a towed passive sonar array. A crew of around seventy could operate the ship for one hundred days at sea.

Powered by a single 190-megawatt pressurized water nuclear reactor with a high-density core, the Akula could swim a fast thirty-three knots (thirty-eight miles per hour) and operate 480 meters deep, two hundred meters deeper than the contemporary Los Angeles–class submarine. More troubling for the U.S. Navy, though, the Akula was nearly as stealthy as the Los Angeles class. American submariners could no longer take their acoustic superiority for granted. On the other hand, the Akula’s own sensors were believed to be inferior.

The Akula I submarines—designated Shchuka (“Pike”) in Russian service—were foremost intended to hunt U.S. Navy submarines, particularly ballistic-missile submarines. Four 533-millimeter torpedo tubes and four large 650-millimeter tubes could deploy up to forty wire-guided torpedoes, mines, or long-range SS-N-15 Starfish and SS-N-16 Stallion antiship missiles. The Akula could also carry up to twelve Granat cruise missiles capable of hitting targets on land up to three thousand kilometers away.

Soviet shipyards pumped out seven Akula Is while the U.S. Navy pressed ahead to build the even stealthier Seawolf-class submarine to compete. However, even as the Soviet Union collapsed, it launched the first of five Project 971U Improved Akula I boats. This was followed by the heavier and slightly longer 971A Akula II class in the form of the Vepr in 1995, which featured a double-layer silencing system for the power train, dampened propulsion systems and a new sonar. Both variants had six additional external tubes that could launch missiles or decoy torpedoes, and a new Strela-3 surface-to-air missile system.

However, the most important improvement was to stealth—the new Akulas were now significantly quieter than even the Improved Los Angeles–class submarines, although some analysts argue that the latter remain stealthier at higher speeds. You can check out an Office of Naval Intelligence comparison chart of submarine acoustic stealth here. The U.S. Navy still operates forty-three Los Angeles–class boats, though fourteen newer Seawolf- and Virginia-class submarines still beat out the Akula in discretion.

However, Russian shipyards have struggled to complete new Akula IIs, which are not cheap—one figure claims a cost of $1.55 billion each in 1996, or $2.4 billion in today’s dollars. The struggling Russian economy can barely afford to keep the already completed vessels operational. Two Akula IIs were scrapped before finishing construction and three were converted into Borei-class ballistic-missile submarines. As for the Akula II Vepr, it was beset by tragedy in 1998 when a mentally unstable teenage seaman killed eight fellow crewmembers while at dock, and threatened to blow up the torpedo room in a standoff before committing suicide.

After lingering a decade in construction, the Gepard, the only completed Akula III boat, was deployed in 2001, reportedly boasting what was then the pinnacle of Russian stealth technology. Seven years later, Moscow finally pushed through funding to complete the Akula II Nerpa after fifteen years of bungled construction. However, during sea trials in November 2008, a fire alarm was triggered inadvertently, flooding the sub with freon firefighting gas that suffocated twenty onboard, mostly civilians—the most serious recent incident in a long and eventful history of submarine disasters.

After an expensive round of repairs, the Nerpa was ready to go—and promptly transferred on a ten-year lease to India for $950 million. Redubbed the INS Chakra, it served as India’s only nuclear powered submarine for years, armed with the short-range Klub cruise missile due to the restrictions of the Missile Technology Control Regime. In October 2016, Moscow and New Delhi agreed on the leasing of a second Akula-class submarine, although it’s unclear whether it will be the older Akula I Kashalot or never-completed Akula II Iribis—though the steep $2 billion price tag leads some to believe it may be the latter. This year, the Chakra will also be joined by the domestically-produced Arihant class, which is based on the Akula but reoriented to serve as a ballistic-missile sub.

Today the Russian Navy maintains ten to eleven Akulas, according to Jane’s accounting in 2016, but only three or four are in operational condition, while the rest await repairs. Nonetheless, the Russian Navy has kept its boats busy. In 2009, two Akulas were detected off the East Coast of the United States—supposedly the closest Russia submarines had been seen since the end of the Cold War. Three years later, there was an unconfirmed claim (this time denied by the U.S. Navy) that another Akula had spent a month prowling in the Gulf of Mexico without being caught. The older Kashalot even has been honored for “tailing a foreign submarine for fourteen days.” All of these incidents have highlighted concerns that the U.S. Navy needs to refocus on antisubmarine warfare. In the last several years, Russia has also been upgrading the Akula fleet to fire deadly Kalibr cruise missiles, which were launched at targets in Syria in 2015 by the Kilo-class submarine Rostov-on-Don.

Despite the Akula’s poor readiness rate, they continue to make up the larger part of Russia’s nuclear attack submarine force, and will remain in service into the next decade until production of the succeeding Yasen class truly kicks into gear. Until then, the Akula’s strong acoustic stealth characteristics will continue to make it a formidable challenge for antisubmarine warfare specialists.

Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring.

Source: National Interest “See This Russian ‘Stealth’ Submarine? It Terrifies the U.S. Navy For Lots of Reasons”

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


The U.S. Navy’s New Attack Submarine: The Most ‘Stealth’ Sub Ever?


We have an idea of what is to come.

by Kris Osborn June 3, 2019

The technical elements of undersea command and control, quite naturally, are being engineered with a mind to an expected increased use of underwater drones. The Navy is now moving quickly with efforts to build an entire new fleet of UUVs able to destroy mines, conduct lower risk forward surveillance, deliver supplies or even fire weapons with a “human-in-the-loop.” Capt. Pete Small, the Program Manager for Unmanned Maritime Systems, addressed this phenomenon at Sea Air Space and said the service’s now in development Orca XLUUV – Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle – is being configured to fire torpedoes.

The Navy has begun work on a new generation of attack submarines with never-before-seen weapons, quieting technology, undersea attack drones, sonar and communications networking… to emerge at some point over the next 10 years or more.

The U.S. Navy’s New Attack Submarine: The Most ‘Stealth’ Sub Ever

Will it be the stealthiest, most lethal attack submarine ever to exist? That ….is the Navy plan.

Plans for the new boats, referred to as a new fleet of Block VI Virginia Class-Attack Attack-class submarines, include launching long-range precision strikes, delivering Special Operations Forces on secret high-risk attack missions, conducting ISR missions, networking with platforms and — perhaps of greatest significance – operating undetected in high-threat waters.

Block VI will start in 2024. We are currently in the phase of looking at concepts and capabilities and determining their feasibility. Next year we will go through the decision points in terms of requirements of what we want to have in that block,” Capt. Christopher Hanson, Program Manager, Virginia Class Submarines, said at the Navy League’s 2019 Sea Air Space Symposium.

Speaking at a Naval Sea Systems Command location, Hanson specified that the new submarines will incorporate a specific emphasis upon Special Operations Forces (SOF), new weapons’ interfaces and payloads for undersea drones, Unmanned Undersea Vessels.

As part of the Block VI development, the Navy is now conducting a “SOF Optimization” Analysis of Alternatives to, among other things, find ways to engineer an attack submarine well suited for clandestine undersea SOF missions. These can include targeted attack operations, forward intelligence gathering or high-risk surveillance missions, among other things.

Hanson was clear to point out that it is not possible, at the moment, to know everything that a new submarine might include 10 years into the future. With this in mind, the service wants to architect the boats, with established standards and interfaces, so that they can easily integrate new weapons, undersea drones or networking technologies as they emerge.

Capability comes in two ways. One is the inherent design and how we build the submarine and the other piece is how we design the submarine with interface requirements for future payloads…that maybe right now are only in the power-point stage…. that can be accommodated in the future?” Hanson added.

This conceptual framework, focused on engineering “upgradeable” platforms, was anticipated in earliest days of the Virginia-class program more than 15 years ago. A 2005 Naval War College Review essay cites Virginia-class submarines as a platform benefiting from a modular, or “open architecture” approach. Since its inception, the Virginia-class was built with a mind to prepare for future upgrades, as evidenced in the essay.

One example referenced in the essay is a modernization effort called the Acoustic Rapid COTS Insertion (ARCI) program which, among other things, pushed “toward modularity for the Virginia-class, the SSGN and subsequent classes,” the essay states. The success of the ARCI program has continued for more than a decade since its beginning; the program’s success was cited in a 2015 DOT&E report. The DOT&E report recommend that the program begin to emphasize countermine missions, due to its track record of successful upgrades.

From a technical or engineering perspective, modularity means building a boat with a software and hardware foundation able to adjust as needed. For instance, while attack submarines currently fire Torpedoes and Tomahawks, it is entirely feasible, if not likely, that new submarine-launched weapons will exist 10 years from now. This kind of scenario is exactly what Hanson seemed to be getting at.

The Naval War College Review essay, interestingly, aligns with Hanson’s comment about the need to engineer for future technologies to permit quick integration of new systems. The essay describes it as “yet-unenvisioned equipment to be installed to counter unimagined threats, and an insistence that core enabling characteristics such as stealth never be compromised.” (From”The Submarine as a Case Study in Transformation: Implications for Future Investment,” James H. Patton Jr, 2005)

With this essay in mind, there is substantial precedent for of this kind of modular approach, looking at the multi-year trajectory of Virginia-class development; each Block has incorporated several impactful new technologies not yet present when the previous boats were built. For example, unlike Blocks I and II, Virginia-class Block III boats significantly increase firepower with the introduction of what’s called Virginia Payload Tubes adding new missile tubes able to fire 6 Tomahawks each. Block III also includes a new Large Aperture Bow “horseshoe-shaped” sonar, which switches from an “air-backed’ spherical sonar to a “water-backed” array, making it easier to maintain pressure, according to a 2014 report in “NavSource Online.”

The LAB sonar, which is both more precise and longer range than its predecessor, also advances the curve in that it introduces both a passive and “active” sonar system. Passive systems are used to essential track or “listen” for acoustic pings to identify enemy movements. This can help conceal a submarines position by not emitting a signal, yet can lack the specificity of an “active” sonar system which sends an acoustic “ping” forward. The submarine’s technology then analyzes the return signal to deliver a “rendering” of an enemy object to include its contours, speed and distance. In concept, sonar works similar to radar except that it sends acoustic signals instead of electronic ones.

When it comes to tailoring submarines for SOF missions, it would not be surprising if elements of Block IIIs “Lock Out Trunk” were built-upon or expanded for Block VI; the Lock Out Trunk introduces a new specialized area which fills up with water for departure, enabling SOF forces to more easily and quietly exit the submarine while remaining submerged.

BLOCK VI Technologies

So….. given that both future threats and future technologies are not yet known, as Hanson indicated, what might Block VI look like?

While particular technical details are often unavailable given the secret nature of these kinds of platforms, over the years senior Navy weapons developers have talked to Warrior about some of the key areas of modernization focus; these include new coating materials to make the submarines stealthier, new antennas for longer-range, more accurate undersea surveillance missions and new “quieting” engine propulsion technology, among other things.

All of these technologies, in fact, already exist in the USS South Dakota attack submarine — the most advanced submarine ever to be delivered to the Navy. The new boat, which is now operational, began as a prototype, test-bed platform to evolve these new technologies. What all of these USS South Dakota innovations amount to is that, Hanson said, they are informing current conceptual discussions now underway regarding Block VI.

Also, according to Congressional testimony in 2016, cited in a report from SeaPower magazine, former PEO Submarines Rear Adm. Michael E. Jabaley Jr., the USS South Dakota includes a DARPA-engineered Hybrid Propulsor “which brings new acoustic advantages.”

Yet another area of innovation quite likely to lay a foundation for Block VI includes Block IIIs “Fly-by-Wire” navigational controls; instead of using mechanically operated hydraulic controls, the Fly-by-Wire system uses a joystick, digital moving maps and various adaptations of computer automation to navigate the boat. This means that computer systems can control the depth and speed of the submarine, while a human remains in a command and control role. It seems almost self-evident, given rapid advances in AI and computer automation, that Block VI will include a new generation of these kinds of technologies.

The technical elements of undersea command and control, quite naturally, are being engineered with a mind to an expected increased use of underwater drones. The Navy is now moving quickly with efforts to build an entire new fleet of UUVs able to destroy mines, conduct lower risk forward surveillance, deliver supplies or even fire weapons with a “human-in-the-loop.” Capt. Pete Small, the Program Manager for Unmanned Maritime Systems, addressed this phenomenon at Sea Air Space and said the service’s now in development Orca XLUUV – Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle – is being configured to fire torpedoes.

From essentially a “lone wolf ” a decade ago, the submarine is now nearly universally accepted as a key node within network-centric warfare, the purveyor of “undersea dominance,” and an essential element of Sea Power 21 (a previously articulated Navy attack vision emphasizing information dominance),” the 2005 Naval War College Review essay writes.

Finally, the now underway Block V Virginia-class boats, known for its fire-power enhancing Virginia Payload Modules (VPM), are also contributing to Block V conversations. VPM, which increases the boats’ firepower from 12 to 40 Tomahawk missiles, changes the attack envelope.

Block 5 has some additional equipment we are developing, which will be added to the USS South Dakota. Our expectation is that that equipment is going to continue on into Block VI,” Hanson said.

Most of all, it seems apparent, plans for Block VI want to both remain flexible and explore a wide range of options.

We have a CONOPS *Concept of Operations” ground that brings in operators of other vehicles on a periodic basis so we can show them what we are looking at,” Hanson said.

Kris Osborn is a Senior Fellow at The Lexington Institute. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army – Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Source: National Interest “The U.S. Navy’s New Attack Submarine: The Most ‘Stealth’ Sub Ever?”

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Photo Shows That U.S. Submarines Still Have Stealth Problems


H I Sutton Contributor Feb 24, 2020, 07:50am

One of the U.S. Navy’s latest fast attack submarines, the USS Colorado, recently returned from its maiden deployment. Homecoming photos show that large sections of the stealth coating have come off.

This issue is not new. Last September a whistleblower accused a U.S. shipbuilder of falsifying quality tests on the stealth coating. Whether or not quality control is an issue, the coatings are evidently still falling off.

This official photo of the USS Colorado (SSN 788) returning to Groton on February 20 clearly shows … [+] H I Sutton (original photo US Navy)

USS Colorado (SSN 788) is the 15th Virginia Class submarine, and the fifth of the enhanced Block-III model. She was launched on March 17, 2018, so she is still considered new. And this was her first deployment. Significantly, she was built at a different shipyard than the one in the whistleblower case. This shows that problems with the coating are wider than that one complaint.

A certain amount of understanding is needed on this topic. The stealth coatings, known as anechoic coatings or as Special Hull Treatment in the U.S. Navy, are an engineering challenge. They work by absorbing sound waves from sonar, which is one way submarines are detected and tracked. But the coatings need to stay attached in some of the most challenging environments on earth. The hull of the submarine, despite being made of super-strong steel, flexes as the submarine goes deep. And the coating is exposed to temperature changes.

The U.S. Navy sends its submarines on longer patrols and in harsher conditions than most navies so the problem is exacerbated. According to an official press release, the Colorado steamed approximately 39,000 nautical miles during the deployment. That is roughly equal to sailing twice around the world.

We know that she has been in harsh northern waters. Although her exact route and activities are classified, it was reported that she crossed into the Arctic Circle. And she conducted port visits to Haakonsvern in Norway and Faslane in Scotland.

Based on open sources I have seen, when she pulled in to Faslane on January 10, most of the visible holes in the coating were already there. But at least one small section has come off since leaving Scotland.

The U.S. Navy is not alone in having challenges with its stealth coatings. The Royal Navy, which deploys in similar patterns, often has parts of the coating come off. And the Russian Navy, which operates in the harsh Arctic, faces similar problems. Their challenges are further exacerbated by the titanium hulls of some of its submarines, which appears to be even harder to stick the coating to.

So next time you see a submarine with visible scars where the coating has come off, realize that it is a common problem which reflects the hard operating conditions. A fix may be in the works.

Source: Forbes “Photo Shows That U.S. Submarines Still Have Stealth Problems”

Note: This is Forbes’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


China’s Submarine Fleet


On this topic we have National Interest’s article “China’s ‘Long March’ to a Credible Nuclear Attack Submarine” dated April 30, 2019 republished on January 30, 2020 and nti.org’s article “China Submarine Capabilities” dated October 9, 2019.

The latter lists its sources mostly earlier than end of 2017 except US Department of Defense’ 2019 annual report to Congress.

The former is based on articles in Chinese on December 2018 edition of Naval and Merchant Ships [舰船知识] in Chinese (NAMS).

Both are not reliable update sources, but as each and every maritime power, especially China, regards its submarine capabilities as its top secret, no reliable sources are available.

According to the latter, China has in service four Jin-class strategic nuclear submarines (SSBN) that can travel over 20 knots when submerged. Each of them is able to carry 12 JL-2 SLBMs with range not long enough to cover the entire United States if launched from Chinese coast. Two others have been built and are being outfitted in shipyard.

Construction of Type 096 SSBN armed with JL-3 SLBMs that cover the whole United States will will in early 2020s.

From the two articles, especially the former, we can see that China has build up its surface navy quite impressively but its nuclear attack submarines (SSN) do not satisfy its navy. It has only 6 of them, merely enough to escort China’s SSBNs and aircraft carriers An article in NAMS urges China to build 1.5 to 2 SSNs a year to satisfy the need.

China has 50 conventional submarines, 17 of which are air-independent propulsion (AIP) enabled. They will play a vital role in defending Chinese homeland but if China wants to have submarines for its blue-water navy, it needs SSNs instead of conventional ones.

There has been report that Chinese shipyard at Huludao has built facilities for building six nuclear submarines simultaneously. If so, China may build submarines on the same large scale as its building of surface warships.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on National Interest and nti.org’s articles, full text of which may respectively viewed at https://nationalinterest.org/feature/china’s-‘long-march’-credible-nuclear-attack-submarine-55137 and https://www.nti.org/analysis/articles/china-submarine-capabilities/.


Chinese Navy’s New Mystery Submarine


H I Sutton Oct 9, 2019, 07:50am

China continues to surprise the defense world. It is probably the only country on earth who can build a full-size submarine without any details leaking out. By comparison the name, size and general characteristics of US Navy submarines are well known long before they roll out of the shed. A year ago China surprised everyone by launching a submarine which no one had been expecting. Only now are further details emerging via Open Source Intelligence (OSINT).

An official publicity photograph of the launch ceremony of the so-called ‘sailless’ submarine in October 2018. The name or purpose of this submarine has not been revealed. Jiangnan Shipbuilding Group

An official publicity photograph of the launch ceremony of the so-called ‘sailless’ submarine in October 2018. The name or purpose of this submarine has not been revealed.

Until now we could only estimate her size based on the launch photos. Thanks to fresh analysis commercial satellite imagery, which caught the new submarine outside the shipyard, we now know that she is 150 feet long and about 15 feet across. This is slightly smaller than my initial estimates and makes her compact for a submarine but still too large to be described as a midget submarine. The satellite passed overhead in September, demonstrating that she is undergoing some form of builder’s trials. She is not yet posted to an operational base.

This submarine is a unique design which has no sail to speak of. All other submarines have this fin-like structure rising up from the middle of the deck where the periscope goes. Until now it has been a defining characteristic of a submarine: this boat is flatter and has a tiny bump where the sail should go. The reason for this has been the subject of speculation. One theory is that the submarine is uncrewed, and so does not need a sail for the captain to stand in when navigating on the surface. This would make it the world’s largest and most impressive Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). China recently revealed a large AUV but that is nothing in comparison.

I suspect that this is not the case. Instead the most likely explanation is that it is a test submarine to evaluate radical ideas for future Chinese attack submarines. One day we may know this mystery submarine’s name and mission, but for now the Chinese Navy has the West guessing.

Source: Forbes “Chinese Navy’s New Mystery Submarine”

Note: This is Forbes’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Pentagon warns on risk of Chinese submarines in Arctic


Phil Stewart, Idrees Ali May 3, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Deepening Chinese activities in the Arctic region could pave the way for a strengthened military presence, including the deployment of submarines to act as deterrents against nuclear attack, the Pentagon said in a report released on Thursday.

The assessment is included in the U.S. military’s annual report to Congress on China’s armed forces and follows Beijing’s publication of its first official Arctic policy white paper in June.

In that paper, China outlined plans to develop shipping lanes opened up by global warming to form a “Polar Silk Road” – building on President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative.

China, despite being a non-Arctic state, is increasingly active in the polar region and became an observer member of the Arctic Council in 2013. That has prompted concerns from Arctic states over Beijing’s long-term strategic objectives, including possible military deployments.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will attend the meeting of the eight-nation Arctic Council in Rovaniemi, Finland, starting on Monday, which comes amid concerns over China’s increased commercial interests in the Arctic.

The Pentagon report noted that Denmark has expressed concern about China’s interest in Greenland, which has included proposals to establish a research station and a satellite ground station, renovate airports and expand mining.

“Civilian research could support a strengthened Chinese military presence in the Arctic Ocean, which could include deploying submarines to the region as a deterrent against nuclear attacks,” the report said.

The Pentagon report noted that China’s military has made modernizing its submarine fleet a high priority. China’s navy operates four nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, six nuclear-powered attack submarines and 50 conventionally powered attack submarines, the report said.

“The speed of growth of the submarine force has slowed and (it) will likely grow to between 65 and 70 submarines by 2020,” the report predicted.

The report said China had built six Jin-class submarines, with four operational and two under construction at Huludao Shipyard.

In a January report, the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency said the Chinese navy would need a minimum of five Jin-class submarines to maintain a continuous nuclear deterrence at sea.

The United States and its allies, in turn, are expanding their anti-submarine naval deployments across East Asia. This includes stepped-up patrols of America’s advanced, sub-hunting P-8 Poseidon planes out of Singapore and Japan.

TAIWAN CONTINGENCY

The expansion of China’s submarine forces is just one element of a broad, and costly, modernization of its military, which U.S. experts say is designed largely to deter any action by America’s armed forces.

Although Beijing’s official defense budget for 2018 was $175 billion, the Pentagon estimated that China’s budget actually topped $200 billion, when including research, development and foreign weapons procurement. It estimated that China’s official defense budget would likely grow to about $260 billion by 2022.

Much of China’s military doctrine is focused on self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing sees as a renegade province.

On Jan. 2, Xi said in a speech that China reserved the right to use force to bring Taiwan under its control but would strive to achieve peaceful “reunification.”

The Pentagon report outlined a number of potential scenarios that China might take if Beijing decides to use military force on Taiwan, including a comprehensive campaign “designed to force Taiwan to capitulate to unification, or unification dialogue.”

But the U.S. analysis appeared to downplay prospects for a large-scale amphibious Chinese invasion, saying that could strain its armed forces and invite international intervention. It also noted the possibility of limited missile strikes.

“China could use missile attacks and precision air strikes against air defense systems, including air bases, radar sites, missiles, space assets, and communications facilities to degrade Taiwan’s defenses, neutralize Taiwan’s leadership, or break the Taiwan people’s resolve,” the report said.

China has repeatedly sent military aircraft and ships to circle the island on drills in the past few years and worked to isolate Taiwan internationally, whittling down its few remaining diplomatic allies.

It has also strongly objected to U.S. warship passages through the Taiwan Strait, which have greatly increased in frequency in the past year.

Taiwan’s military is significantly smaller than China’s, a gap that the Pentagon noted is growing year by year.

Recognizing the disparity, the Pentagon report noted: “Taiwan has stated that it is working to develop new concepts and capabilities for asymmetric warfare.”

Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali in Washington; Editing by James Dalgleish and Leslie Adler

Source: Reuters “Pentagon warns on risk of Chinese submarines in Arctic”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China shows off its new destroyer during massive display of naval power


The new type 055 guided-missile destroyer Nanchang of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy participates in a naval parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of China’s PLA Navy in the sea near Qingdao in eastern China’s Shandong province, Tuesday, April 23, 2019.
The new type 055 guided-missile destroyer Nanchang.AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

Ryan Pickrell Apr 23, 2019, 12:02 PM

  • China celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of thePeople’s Liberation Army Navy in Qingdao on Tuesday, showing off some new weapons systems.
  • During the parade, which was shrouded in fog, mist, and rain, the Chinese navy showed off the Nanchang, the first of the newgeneration of Type 055 destroyers.
  • The new destroyers are the most heavily armed of China’s surface combatants, with 112 universal vertical-launch-system cells capable of firing anti-air, anti-ship, anti-submarine, andland-attack missiles.

China showed off a new naval weapon, the first of a new generation of hard-hitting destroyers, at a celebration of the70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army Navy on Tuesday.

During the celebratory maritime parade, the Nanchang (101), a 10,000-ton Type 055 stealth destroyer, sailed onto the scene, Reuters reported.

The ship is armed with 112 vertical-launch cells with theability to fire HHQ-9 surface-to-air missiles, YJ-18 anti-shipcruise missiles, and CJ-10 land-attack cruise missiles. The maingun is a H/PJ-38 130-mm gun, but there are reports that thisvessel could eventually be equipped with a railgun. The vessel uses X- and S-band radars, allowing it to track stealthy objects of various sizes.

Sailors stand on the deck of the new type 055 guided-missile destroyer Nanchang of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy as it participates in a naval parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of China’s PLA Navy in the sea near Qingdao in eastern China’s Shandong province, Tuesday, April 23, 2019.
The Nanchang in China’s 70th anniversary naval parade. AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

The destroyer, technically large enough to be classified as a cruiser, has a substantial payload capacity that trails the US Navy’s Ticonderoga-class cruisers but exceeds the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, which have only 96 vertical-launch cells.The ship’s primary rival is said to be the Zumwalt-class destroyers, which continue to suffer from a variety of developmental problems.

The Nanchang, which was launched in 2017, started seatrials in August 2018, China Daily reported. Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, told theGlobal Times that the public debut at the fleet review on Tuesday indicates that the vessel is now combat-ready.

Additional Type 055 destroyers are in the works. A second shipwas launched in April 2018, and two more were launched in July.These vessels, like the Nanchang, are expected to eventuallybecome heavily armed escort ships for China’s emerging carrierforce.

While the Liaoning – a Soviet heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser refitted to serve as China’s first aircraft carrier – was present at the naval parade in Qingdao on Tuesday, China’s first domestically produced aircraft carrier, which just completed its fifth sea trial, remained at the shipyard in Dalian.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy aircraft carrier Liaoning participates in a naval parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of China’s PLA Navy in the sea near Qingdao in eastern China’s Shandong province, Tuesday, April 23, 2019.
The aircraft carrier Liaoning at the Chinese naval parade.AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

A total of 32 vessels and 39 aircraft participated in China’s celebratory fleet review. Among the other vessels on display was an apparently modified version of China’s Jin-class nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines. China also showed off a new type of conventional submarine.

A Great Wall 236 submarine of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, billed by Chinese state media as a new type of conventional submarine, participates in a naval parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of China’s PLA Navy in the sea near Qingdao in eastern China’s Shandong province, Tuesday, April 23, 2019.
A Great Wall 236 submarine. AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

China’s naval modernization is being watched carefully in Washington as the US shifts its focus from the counter insurgency fight to potential high-end conflict. The Army, the Navy, and the Marines are all increasingly looking at the kind of anti-ship weaponry required to punch holes in China’s fleet, a necessary capability as China strengthens its military.

Chinese media said the Type 055 destroyer is a “symbol of [the] Chinese navy’s development.”

Source: Business Insider “China shows off its new destroyer during massive display of naval power”

Note: This is Business Insider’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.