China is rapidly replacing its obsolete submarine force with a modern one on priority as it visualises its submarine force as a critical element of regional deterrence, particularly when conducting counter-intervention against modern adversaries.
Latest Acquisitions. China, since the mid-1990s, has acquired 12 Russian-made Kilo class non-nuclear-powered attack submarines (sss) and four new classes of indigenously built submarines which include a new nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (ssbn) design called the Jin class (type 094); a new nuclear-powered attack submarine (ssn) design called the shang class (type 093); a new ss design called the yuan class (type 039a); and ss design called the song class (type 039/039g). us believes that the type 093 ssn design will be succeeded by a newer ssn design called the type 095 which might provide China with a more clandestine, land-attack option. it was also reported by Oni that an improved version of shang class ssns will replace six of the aging han class ssn. Chinese nuclear- and non-nuclearpowered submarines are relatively acoustically quieter than similar Russian submarines. China is also having a new joint-design and production programme with Russia for diesel-electric submarines based on the Russian Petersburg/lada class.
Arming the Submarines. ChinaÕs submarines are armed with one or more of asCMs, wire-guided and wake-homing torpedoes and mines. eight of the 12 Kilos purchased from Russia are armed with the lethal Russian-made ssn-27 sizzler ASCM. in addition to other weapons, shang class ssns may carry LACMs. although ASCMs are a key threat but wake-homing torpedoes are also a concern because they can be very difficult for surface ships to counter. ChinaÕs ageing Ming class (type 035) submarines may be used as or as a decoy.
Submarine Force Level. by the end of 2012, China was expected to have a total of 40 indigenous relatively modern attack submarines. this was apart from the acquisition of 12 Kilos from Russia. basing on the current rate of growth, Oni estimates that by 2020, China will have a force of 74 submarines which will include 11 with nuclear-power. Some estimate that this figure may go up to 80.