January 24, 2017

YUAN 2 - Naming first principles. Numbers not Dynasty Win.

Emperor Kublai Khan founded the Yuan Dynasty in 1271 but doesn't represent a submarine class terribly well.
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Following yesterday’s YUAN 1 article it struck me that it seems useful to look at the name “Yuan” submarine from first principles.

Dynastic Names Unhelpful

It seems the West/NATO was a little too clever in "reporting" naming Chinese submarines after Chinese dynasties. A downside includes an implication the Chinese PLAN is an age old mystically-minded outfit.

Here is an aging list of NATO reporting names for ships and submarines http://www.ais.org/~schnars/aero/nato-shp.htm which includes the dynastic “HAN Class”, “MING Class”, and “XIA Class”.

Western audiences (except for specialised enthusiasts) have no inkling of the sequence or characteristics of each successive Chinese dynasty.

In any case Chinese submarine dynasties are out of order. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuan_dynasty (right sidebar scrolling about 1/5 way down) where you will see "Song" dynasty followed by "Yuan" (so far, so good) but then followed chronologically by “Ming” dynasty. This is unhelpful as the first Ming submarine was launched in 20th century terms long before the first Songs or Yuans).

Also "Yuan" is a unit of currency.

Sequential Numbers and Letters Much Better

Instead Chinese submarine developments have less to do with old dynasties and more to do with incremental submarine improvements that respond to:
-  modern naval requirements,
-  naval engineering solutions/realizations, and
-  related technical developments in submarine components 
   (eg. electronics, weapons, AIP, batteries and diesels.)

Incremental improvements are best reflected in numbers and letters rather than dynastic names.

There is no single Yuan model. Instead each succeeding "Yuan" submarine incorporates gradual improvements (hence Type 039A, 039AG, 039B and 039B (upgraded), S20, and S26T

Better than "Yuan" is using Type “41” as a collective term for all China's AIP submarines (and then A, B, C as subsets). This provides a clean break from the non-AIP Songs (Type 039s)

So far as I can see the “Type” numbers are of Chinese PLAN origin, judging by:


Confirmed by this Chinese site http://news.xinhuanet.com/mil/2011-08/11/c_121845981.htm (right-click mouse to Translate to English)

Submarine Classification
Nuclear submarines
“Long March” followed by a number*
Ballistic and cruise missile armed conventional submarines
“Expedition” followed by a number*
Conventional submarines
“Great Wall” followed by a number*


 * but seems to be Westernized to “Type” followed by:
-  a Mandarin Chinese numeral? translated to Arabic numeral? and 

There is a consideration that politicians and navies prefer to use evocative names when describing submarine classes to other politicians, long-suffering Finance Ministers and the public. Evocative names seem a cheap drawcard to induce the public, as tax payers, to part with $100s millions per submarine and in Australia $Billions PER submarine. 

Submarines should be demystified, de-romanticized as they are chiefly weapons of war rather than memorials to obscure, ancient, dynasties or metal fish.

Pete

January 23, 2017

YUAN 1 - Submarine Table - China's Type 039A/B, 041. Work in progress.

The following Table, based on frequently contradictory Sources, is a work in progress. The ultimate, probably, unattainable aim, is to build a table as complete as the SORYU TABLE


1. Model
2. No.
3. Shipyard
4. Launched
5. Commiss
ioned
Remarks
039A
330
31 May 2004
2006
East Sea

039A
331
2007
2009
East Sea

039A
332
Wuchang
2007
2009
East Sea

039A
333
Wuchang
2008
2010
East Sea

039B
334
Wuchang
2010
2011
East Sea

039B
335
Wuchang
2010
2011
East Sea

039B
336
Shanghai?
Changxing
2010
2011
East Sea

039B
337
Shanghai
2011?
2012
East Sea

039B
338
Wuchang
2011?
2012


039B
339
Wuchang
2011?
2012


039B
340
Shanghai?
?
2012
North Sea

039B
341
Shanghai?
?
2012
North Sea

039B
342
Wuchang
Dec 2013?
2015



343
Wuchang

2015



344
Wuchang
Dec? 2016




345
Wuchang
Dec? 2016




346

Dec? 2016




347






348






349




Completing 20 for China
Export
Models






Wuchang

2023

4 to be export to Pakistan
S20P

Wuchang

2023

to Pakistan
S20P

Wuchang

2023

to Pakistan
S20P

Wuchang

2023

to Pakistan
S26T

Wuchang


S26T

Wuchang

2026

for Thailand
S26T

Wuchang

2026

for Thailand
S20P

Karachi shipyard

2028

4 to be built in Pakistan
S20P

Karachi

2028

Pakistan
S20P

Karachi

2028

Pakistan
S20P

Karachi

2028

Pakistan















SOURCES

A.  The most reliable data may be at column 5. “Commissioned”. This is drawn from Page 17, Table 1, “PLA Navy Submarine Commissionings” in Ronald O'Rourke's In China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress, June 17, 2016, CRS 7-5700  RL33153 https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL33153.pdf  (PDF 10 MB).
Column 3 is a puzzle with most Shipyard entries being Wuchang in far northeastern China but there are a few mentions of Shanghai, Changxing Shipyard, east central coastal China.
- The O'Rourke, CRS Table 1, disagrees with many sources on number of Yuans Commissioned in 2011 and 2012.

B.  Right-click mouse to translate Taiwanese source 039A / B meta-level diesel attack submarines http://www.mdc.idv.tw/mdc/navy/china/039ab.htm . Then scroll 1/3 down, after all the photos, to see a Table with model, number, shipyard, launch, commission, fleet. Also see much information with specs and many more details model by model.

C.  Sources: Global Security (January 2017) for some lauch, commission and export details., 

D.  Much analytical information I haven't assessed yet at Submarines: Chinese Kilo Evolves Beyond the Original https://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htsub/articles/20170121.aspx of January 21, 2016 . With higher estimates of Yuans built and projected.


All of these Sources are useful to visit and revisit to build a more accurate Table(s).

Once the Yuans are more settled are China's Songs, Kilos, Mings, the odd Qing, SSNs then SSBNs.

Pete