China has made progress in building its latest Type 096 ballistic missile submarines, alarming the US and its allies.
There is growing evidence that China will be able to operate these submarines by the end of the decade thanks in part to technological advances from Russia, according to a defense research analysis.
“The Type 096s are going to be a nightmare,” stated one of the researchers, a retired submariner and naval technical intelligence analyst, Christopher Carlson. “They [submarines] are going to be very, very hard to detect.”
The U.S. Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute conducted research that was presented at a conference in May and then published in August with the conclusion that the new warships would be much more difficult to track.
The opinions of seven analysts and three military attachés based in Asia support that conclusion.
Defense specialists are concerned that the Type 096’s remarkable stealthiness, enabled partly by copying developments based on Russian technology, could make it highly challenging to detect, increasing concerns about a potential escalation in the undersea arms race.
China’s Type 096 – The silent submarine
The People’s Liberation Army Navy is developing the Chinese Type 096 submarine, also called the Tang-class, a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine of the future.
It will have cutting-edge quieting technology for improved stealth, a length of roughly 140 meters, and a submerged displacement of 20,000 tons.
It is anticipated to succeed in the Type 094 Jin class. It is anticipated to dramatically increase China’s nuclear deterrence capabilities by transporting the JL-3 SLBM, which has a more than 9,000 kilometers range.
Despite its intriguing traits, little is known about its specifics because of its ongoing development and covert nature.
Rising cooperation against China’s advanced submarines
As the United States, Japan, India, Australia, and Britain step up their anti-submarine warfare exercises and surveillance capabilities, China’s upcoming Type 096 submarine debut is reminiscent of the rigorous sub-hunting operations of the Cold War era, noted a Reuters report last week.
These countries are working more closely together as they track China’s underwater activities and get ready for the difficulties posed by its highly developed submarine fleet.
The latest AUKUS agreement between Australia, Britain, and the United States of America emphasizes the importance of keeping a technological lead in underwater warfare to balance out the expanding Chinese naval presence.
According to Alexander Neill, a defense expert based in Singapore, “China is on track with a new generation of submarine ahead of the first AUKUS boats.”
And “even if they are at parity in terms of capability, that is highly significant,” added Neill, an adjunct fellow at Hawaii’s Pacific Forum think-tank, describing the current situation as “fascinating.”
While it’s plausible that Chinese engineers have made the breakthroughs mentioned in the report, direct transfer of the newest Russian technology is still doubtful, according to Vasily Kashin, a Chinese military expert stationed in Moscow.
“China is not an adversary of Russia in the naval field,” said Kashin. “It is not creating difficulties for us, it is creating problems for the US.”
Kashin also made it apparent that, except for the 2010 deal relating to nuclear reactors, there isn’t any official agreement between Beijing and Moscow.
Despite the possibility that China acquired some Russian technologies after the Soviet Union’s collapse in the 1990s, rather than having access to the most advanced Russian systems, China’s technological gains are probably the product of modified Russian designs or possible “espionage,” he added.
Source : InterestingEngineering