March 3, 2014

China's Submarines - Excellent Danish Report

An crucial characteristic of submarines is quieting . See quieting improvements for diesel-electric propelled Chinese and Russian submarines (above) and nuclear propelled (below)The green area indicates submarines that would be relatively easy for navies to detect vs. red which would be difficult to detect. (Image Credit: US Office of Naval Intelligence, 2009) reproduced at

Morten Hetmar Vestergaard wrote an excellent paper in late 2013 that has been published by several institutions including the Royal Danish Defence College. His paper is Overseas or Submarines? Understanding and Explaining China’s Naval Modernisation and Maritime Strategy. He presented it at the International Society of Military Sciences Conference, København, Denmark, November 12-14, 2014.

The paper is at

More details about the paper are at including the paper's Abstract which is:

"The rise of China in recent decades has taken place on an unprecedented scale and at a breathtaking a pace. Few, perhaps none, have gone so far so fast from weakness to strength. Especially the modernization of China’s Navy has been a focal point of debate regarding the evolving security environment in Asia. Deduced from defensive and offensive realism, this paper makes theoretically informed hypotheses and predicts corresponding naval force postures expected in each hypothesis. The hypotheses are then tested on the empirical data to explain China’s strategic behaviour and procurement patterns in the maritime domain. The findings are significant particularly in the development of two major constituents of the Chinese Navy, namely submarines and principal surface combatants. In these areas, the development of capabilities has taken place at a dramatic pace and breadth. The paper concludes that the naval capabilities of China have evolved in a manner exhibiting a power-maximising strategic behaviour in line with the revisionist disposition of great powers in offensive realism that accordingly corresponds with the predicted posture. As a whole, the empirical data presented in this paper is consistent with a tendency in the modernization of China’s Navy to establish itself as a dominant power in its maritime region."

The following are some details in the paper:

Pages 10 and 11 - details about China's SSBNs.

Pages 11 to 13 - details about China's SSKs  including the Ming, Romeo and Song classes. 

Pages 23 to 24 - China's Anti Ship Ballistic Missile derived from the DF-21.

Pages 26 and 27 concern the Yuzhao-class (Type-071) Landing Platform Dock 
(LPD) noting that China's Changbaishan of that class sailed between Indonesia and Australia in February 2014.

Pages 27 to 30 - details of China's Kilo, Ming, Romeo, Song and Yuan SSKs,

Pages 33 and 34 - Chinese SSNs and again SSBNs including a graph of the increasing quietness of Chinese and also Russian nuclear submarines (also reproduced in the second graph above).

Appendix A pages 43 to 46 - provide class, displacement, laid down, launched and commissioned details of all of China's submarine types.

Appendix B pages 47 to 51 - provide class, displacement, laid down, launched and commissioned details of all China's surface combatants.


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