Tags: PLA | Navy | Obtains | New-Generation | Submarines

PLA Navy Obtains New-Generation Submarines

Thursday, 21 November 2002 12:00 AM

By mid-2001, Huludao Military Shipbuilding Plant, in northeastern Liaoning province, finished construction of one submarine or, more probably, two submarines of this kind; this submarine (or these submarines) participated, in August 2001, in PLA's large-scale Dongshan maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait.

For about a year, no new information about the "093" project was available. Finally, several weeks ago the author got an opportunity to read the article "PLA missile forces" in the June 2002 issue of the Taipei-based journal Zhonggong Yanjiu (China Communism Research). The most interesting theses of the article are as follow:

(end of Zhonggong Yanjiu theses)

Let's be grateful to Russian cruise missile designers in Reutovo (an eastern suburb of Moscow), Dubna (a town about 150 km north of Moscow) and Yekaterinburg (a major city in the Ural zone), as well as to St. Petersburg-based Rubin Bureau, the major designer of Russian – and Chinese – nuclear and diesel-electric submarines.

They were initially supposed to construct the "093 project" submarine as an improved variety of the Soviet Victor III nuclear attack submarine equipped with the following major weapons:

Probably the PLA has no intention of constructing additional "093 project" submarines, which belong, in general, to the world level of the 1980s. However, in 2003-2005, the PLA would get several more Song-class submarines equipped – if the data of U.S., U.K. and Taiwanese military intelligence are reliable – with mid-range HN-2C LACMs.

By mid-2002, three major Russian shipyards – Severnaya Verf in St. Petersburg, SevMash plant in Severodvinsk (near Arkhangelsk city on the White Sea) and Komsomolsk-na-Amure Shipyard – started construction of eight units of the "super-Kilo 636" diesel-electricl submarine for PLAN needs. These submarines will be at least as noiseless as Victor III/"093 project." The major weapons of this upgraded submarine include:

According to the initial contract, construction of the "super-Kilo 636" should be finished in 2006. However, some Hong Kong sources claim that (a) PLAN will get these eight submarines by 2005 and (b) Wuhan Shipyard, the major Chinese constructor of diesel-electric submarines, will obtain at the same time the "super-Kilo 636" manufacturing technology.

That's not all.

In the second half of 1999 to the first half 2000, there were a lot of messages regarding PLA Navy interest in purchasing Russian Akula-class "noiseless" submarines. However, PLAN interests in this area had shifted somewhat by 2002.

In December 2001, the Russian Navy commissioned its second (by other sources, first) "upgraded Akula" or Akula II-class nuclear attack Gepard. It is considered the most advanced in the Russian Navy inventory of nuclear attack submarines. Gepard weaponry includes:

At the same time, one or two Akula I submarines remained unfinished – for the same reason – at Komsomolsk-na-Amure Shipyard. However, Akula I, as a "slightly obsolete" model, is presently of no particular interest to the PLA Navy.

Very probably, in 2003-2005, the PLA Navy will concentrate efforts on purchasing Akula-II submarines from Russia. Some sources give $2 billion as the possible bargaining figure. At the same time, Huludao Shipyard could get the technology to manufacture Akula II.

Some reports in early November in the Hong Kong media confirm this conclusion.

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By mid-2001, Huludao Military Shipbuilding Plant, in northeastern Liaoning province, finished construction of one submarine or, more probably, two submarines of this kind; this submarine (or these submarines) participated, in August 2001, in PLA's large-scale Dongshan...
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2002-00-21
Thursday, 21 November 2002 12:00 AM
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