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Defence & Aerospace

China to build 15 more Yuan-class submarines with German engines

Chinese Submarine in the Indian Ocean

Chinese Submarine in the Indian Ocean

The Hindustan Times said in its report on April 9: China is scaling up its underwater capabilities, and the Indian Navy‘s submarine force levels will be the lowest in its history by 2015, a confidential defence ministry report has revealed.

In comparison, “China may plan to construct 15 additional Yuan-class attack submarines, based on German diesel engine purchases.

“It is said the Yuan-class submarines could be equipped with air-independent propulsion systems to recharge their batteries without having to surface for more than three weeks, a capability currently unavailable with the Indian Navy,” said the newspaper.

In addition, China is purchasing advanced submarines from abroad. It has ordered 4 Russian Lada-class submarines, which are believed to be 8 times less noisy than Kilo-class ones.

China will purchase German engines to build 15 more Yuan-class submarines The “confidential” report said: By the end of 2015, “the Indian navy will be left with merely six to seven submarines, including India’s first and only nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine INS Arihant, as it begins phasing out the Russian Kilo-class submarines and German HDW Type 209 submarines.”

“The report warned India had ‘never before been poised in such a vulnerable situation’ and the undersea force levels were ‘at a highly precarious state.’

“The size of India’s submarine fleet will roughly be the same as that of the Pakistani navy in two years. ‘As this critical (undersea) capability is eroded, there is an inverse increase in both capability and strength of the Chinese and Pakistani navies,’ the [confidential] report stated.”

The newspaper says, “Six Scorpene submarines are currently being built at the Mazagon Dock Ltd in Mumbai with technology from French firm DCNS under a Rs. 23,562-crore project codenamed P-75.

“But the first of these boats will not be ready before 2016-17, though it should have been commissioned into the navy last year. The report said the delay had set off a capability gap that will widen in the coming years.”

In comparison, China now has 13 Song-class, 12 Kilo-class, 7 Yuan-class and 18 Ming-class submarines. China only has 3 Han-class nuclear attack nuclear submarines as regarding nuclear submarines, China still faces many challenges.

Nevertheless, Han-class attack nuclear submarines have been launched, that type of submarine is very noisy and easy to be discovered by Western sensors. From 1974 to 1991, China built 5 Han-class submarines, two of which have been decommissioned.

China has also commissioned 4 relatively new Shuang-class nuclear submarines, but they are similarly noisy. At the same time, the Chinese navy have designed and built Type 039 Song-class submarines, which was designed and manufactured with stress on silencing effect.

That class of submarines have been developed very quickly, and the newest 4 Song-class submarines have been designated as Yuan-class (type 039A or 041) submarines. According to the Indian report, in consideration of China’s purchase of German diesel engines, China perhaps plans to build 15 additional Yuan-class submarines.

It is said the Yuan-class submarines could be equipped with air-independent propulsion systems to recharge their batteries without having to surface for more than three weeks, a capability currently unavailable with the Indian Navy,” said the newspaper.

Type 039 submarines emerged for the first time in 2001. China has built 13 of them, but in 2008, an obviously different Type 039 submarine emerged. That type of submarine is referred to as Type 039A or 041 submarine.

Having built two Type 039A submarines, China built two submarines of a type derived from Type 039 with the code name of 039B. That evolution is going on. At present, China already has 6 or 7 Type 041 Yuan-class submarines (including at least three different types).

The newest version of that type of submarine is obviously equipped with an air-independent propulsion system and new type of electronic equipment, and is undergoing internal improvement.

The quick evolution of the Type 039 submarine is perhaps an example of the incorporation of Russian submarine technology in the design ideas and new technology in that type of submarine.

Since China began to build submarines in the 1960s, China has always been doing this. However, the design of the newest Type 41 indicates that the Chinese navy’s engineers have already had more creative ideas.

It is believed that two or even more Yuan-class submarines are equipped with the air-independent propulsion system that enables them to stay for as long as two weeks under water. Western countries’ air-independent propulsion systems enable submarines to stay under water for two weeks or longer, but the functions and reliability of Chinese ones are a little inferior to similar Russian or Western ones.

China will keep on improving its air-independent propulsion system just as it is doing in other areas of military technology.

The Song-class submarine is very similar to he Russian Kilo-class submarine in appearance. Both Types 039 and 041 are 1800-ton grade, carry a crew of 60 and are installed with 6 tornado tubes. That is also very similar to the Kilo-class submarine, which is only a little larger.

In the late 1990s, China began to purchase Russian Kilo-class submarines. At that time, it was the most advanced submarine available to China. The first two Type 041 submarines are obviously copies of the early type (Type 877) of Kilo-class submarine, but the next two seem to be copies of the relatively new Type 636 submarine.

The newest Yuan-class submarines still look very similar to the Kilo-class submarines, but there may be evolution to make them similar to Lada-class submarines. Type 039 is the first Chinese submarine with a teardrop hull.

The Type 041 submarine is regarded as an improved version of the Song-class submarine, but upon careful observation, especially on the Russian perspective, that type of submarine looks like a copy of the Kilo-class submarine.

Russian people believe the entire project of Song/Yuan-class submarine is China’s long-term plan to successfully copy Kilo-class submarines. If that is the case, Chinese efforts seem quite successful.

Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Foreign Media: China Will Buy German Engine to Build 15 More Yuan-class Submarines”

About chankaiyee2

Author of the book "Tiananmen's Tremendous Achievements" about how with the help of Tiananmen Protests, talented scholars with moral integrity seized power in the Party and state and brought prosperity to China. The second edition of the book will be published within a few days to mark the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Protests All the parts in the first edition remain in the second edition with a few changes due to information available later and better understanding. There are also some changes for improvements of style. The new parts are Chapters 12-19 on events in China after the first edition was published: The fierce power struggle for succession between reformists and conservatives; Xi Jinping winning all elders’ support during his mysterious disappearance for 2 weeks in early September, 2012; and Xi Jinping Cyclone. Chan Kai Yee's new book: SPACE ERA STRATEGY: The Way China Beats The US An eye-opening book that tells the truth how the US is losing to China. The US is losing as it adopts the outdated strategy of Air-Sea Battle while China adopts the space era strategy to pursue integrated space and air capabilities: It is losing due to its diplomacy that has given rise to Russian-Chinese alliance. US outdated strategy has enabled China to catch up and surpass the US in key weapons: Hypersonic weapons (HGV) that Pentagon regards as the weapon that will dominate the world in the future. Aerospaceplane in China’s development of space-air bomber that can engage enemy anywhere in the world within an hour and destroy an entire aircraft carrier battle group within minutes. Anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, anti-ASAT weapons, stealth aircrafts, drones, AEW&C, etc. The book gives detailed descriptions of China’s weapon development based on information mainly from Chinese sources that the author monitors closely. U.S. Must Not Be Beaten by China! China is not a democracy. Its political system cannot prevent the emergence of a despotic leader or stop such a leader when he begins to bring disasters to people. A few decades ago, Mao Zedong, the worst tyrant in world history did emerge and bring disasters to Chinese people. He wanted to fight a nuclear war to replace capitalism with communism but could not bring nuclear holocaust to world people as China was too weak and poor at that time. If a despot like Mao Zedong emerges when China has surpassed the US in military strength, world people will suffer the misery experienced by Chinese people in Mao era. China surpassing the US in GDP is not something to worry about as China has the heavy burden to satisfy its huge population, but China surpassing the US in military strength will be world people’s greatest concern if China remains an autocracy. US people are of much better quality than Chinese people. What they lack is a wise leader to adopt the correct strategy and diplomacy and the creative ways to use its resources in developing its military capabilities. I hope that with the emergence of a great leader, the US can put an end to its decline and remain number one in the world. China, US, space era strategy, air-sea battle, space-air bomber, arms race, weapon development, chan kai yee


14 thoughts on “China to build 15 more Yuan-class submarines with German engines

  1. Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.


    Posted by OyiaBrown | April 11, 2013, 9:47 pm
  2. “China will purchase German engines to build 15 more Yuan-class submarines”.
    Germans gave outdated technology to China!!! Its a lowest class German engines which they sold to PRC. PRC /PLAN did not realise this!!! It is highly unlike the Germans will sell top of the line submarine engines to a communist country.


    Posted by henry | August 20, 2013, 6:55 pm
  3. the solution is simple for India. It must build up their own sub fleet….no one is stopping them…some are urging for one reason or another.


    Posted by silversurfer | October 30, 2013, 2:36 am


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