Submarines: Chinese Boat Gets Real Close to U.S. Carrier


November14, 2006: The U.S. Navy is being tight lipped about reports that, on October 26th, a Chinese Song class submarine got within missile range (8 kilometers) of the U.S. carrier Kitty Hawk. The Chinese sub was spotted when it surfaced. The American carrier is supposed to be protected from this sort of thing by anti-submarine helicopters, and an SSN (nuclear attack submarine.) The Song class boats are the most modern diesel-electric subs in Chinese service. Displacing about 2,000 tons on the surface, the 246 foot long, Songs carry anti-ship missiles and torpedoes. The first Song entered service nine years ago. The boats can be very quiet when moving underwater, even though the Chinese have not yet mastered the most recent silencing techniques. Similar Australian subs have frequently gotten within attack range of American carriers. So have diesel-electric boats from other nations.

While the Chinese have a reputation for poorly trained crews, the sixty sailors on the Song boats may be the new exception. Chinese subs have been seen at sea much more frequently over the past few years. That kind of experience, and an American carrier group that had never known Chinese subs to operate that far out on the high seas, may have become lax enough to let it happen.


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