Japan has increased anti-submarine
patrols in international waters, just outside Japanese territorial waters.
Chinese submarines are apparently exercising there more frequently, looking for
Japanese, South Korean and American warships to play tag with. The U.S. has
also redirected more of its space based naval search capabilities to assist the
class diesel electric and Han class nuclear powered boats were detected and tracked
recently. One of each of these was spotted stalking the American carrier USS
George Washington, as it headed to South Korea for a visit.
rapidly acquiring advanced submarine building capabilities, and providing money
(for fuel and spare parts) to send its subs to sea more often. Moreover, new classes of boats are constantly
appearing. The new Type 39A, or Yuan class, looks just like the Russian Kilo
class. In the late 1990s, the Chinese began ordering Russian Kilo class subs, then
one of the latest diesel-electric design available. Russia was selling new
Kilos for about $200 million each, which is about half the price other Western
nations sell similar boats for. The Kilos weigh 2,300 tons (surface
displacement), have six torpedo tubes and a crew of 57. They are quiet, and can
travel about 700 kilometers under water at a quiet speed of about five
kilometers an hour. Kilos carry 18 torpedoes or SS-N-27 anti-ship missiles
(with a range of 300 kilometers and launched underwater from the torpedo
tubes.) The combination of quietness and cruise missiles makes Kilo very
dangerous to American carriers. North Korea and Iran have also bought Kilos.
have already built two Yuans, the second one an improvement on the first. These
two boats have been at sea to try out the technology that was pilfered from the
Russians. A third Yuan is under construction, and it also appears to be a bit
different from the first two. The first Yuan appeared to be a copy of the early
model Kilo (the model 877), while the second Yuan (referred to as a Type 39B)
appeared to copy the late Kilos (model 636). The third Yuan may end up being a
further evolution, or Type 39C.
the Yuans was the the Type 39, or Song class. This was the first Chinese sub to have the teardrop
shaped hull, and was based on the predecessor of the Kilo, the Romeo class. The
Type 39A was thought to be just an improved Song, but on closer examination,
especially by the Russians, it looked like a clone of the Kilos. The Yaun class
also have AIP (Air Independent Propulsion), which allows non-nuclear boats to
stay underwater for days at a time. China currently has 13 Song class, 12 Kilo
class, one Yuan class and 32 Romeo class boats. There are only two Han class
SSNs, as the Chinese are still having a lot of problems with nuclear power in
subs. Despite that, the Hans are going to sea, even though they are noisy and
easily detected by Western sensors.