December 21, 2016

Needs of a future Chinese Conventional Submarine

What some considered a possible, future Chinese conventional submarine (SSK) in 2013 - when few knew the above was a Soryu cutaway. Most text above is in Chinese. Possible specifications: 3,400 t  (submerged), Length: 80 m, Beam: 10 m, Tubes: 6 x 533mm torpedo tubes, 21 heavyweight shots...AIP...Depth: 450 m, Duration: 60 days, Crew: 50. (Cutaway Image likely originated from a model builder or gamer network)

Research for my future (end 2017) book on Chinese submarines, so far indicates:

China has 15 Yuan class submarines that are active, with 4 or 5 to be built in 2017-2018.

A.  By 2017-2019 China will wish to launch a more advanced class of submarines to maintain its
      SSK numbers while replacing obsolete Ming class.

B.  Advanced class 2019 Chinese SSKs (lets call it SSK2019) may well have a higher surfaced
     displacement and larger dimensions for greater capability. This would follow the
     worldwide trend of steadily larger SSKs in each succeeding class.

Features deficient in the Yuan, tending to alter or make the weight of SSK2019 heavier, may include:

1.  old fashioned Lead-acid Batteries (desire to deploy Lithium-ion Batteries (LIBs) by 2025).
     AIP with its at least 200 tonnes weight might be deleted by 2025 if LIBs are successfully

2.  crew of only 38 are too few for long endurance or distant missions. More space for SEALs (for 
     Taiwan and Philippines operations) needed.

3.  longer ranges needed. More diesel for extended voyages to protect approaches to China's South
     China Sea, and for missions in Indian, Arctic and Western-Central Pacific Oceans. 

4.  only 6 torpedo tubes with probably only 18 heavyweight shots. Maybe more torpedo tubes or a
     Vertical Multi-Purpose Lock needed for quicker-easier deployment of UUVs, torpedos, missiles
     and mines.

5.  improved combat system with better sonars (adds weight for electronics and more operators).

6.  upgrade from MTU 386 diesels to more efficient, more powerful MTU 4000 diesels (built in
      Yulin, China). 

Would you agree a Chinese weight gain is likely or might LIBs-in with AIP-out make weight the same or less than a Yuan?



Autumn Leaf said...

It is in Chinese...

Displacement: 3050 (surface); 3400 (submerged)
length: 80m
Beam: 10m
Draught: 7.5m

Propulsion: Main: 1x Diesel, single propeller; chemical battery
Speed: 13 knots (surface); 21 knots (submerged); 10 knots snorkel

Range: 9000 nautical miles at 10 knots, 800 nm submerged at 4 knots (battery); 1900 nm at 5 knots (AIP)

Depth: 450m; support for 60 days, Crew: 50

Cruise Missiles: "Strike Eagle" Yingji-YJ82 (6 missiles)
Torpedoes: 6x533mm; 21 Torpedoes

Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

Hi Pete,
I wonder why would China build more Yuan class SSK and what is the main purpose of China getting the Kilo class SSK.

Anonymous said...

I agree that a weight gain on future Chinese SSK is inevitable, just because China will want to have sea control at least out to the 2nd island chain. Besides they will need to keep up with the bigger ROK, Japanese, Australian, Singaporean SSKs.
Are similarities with Soryu intentional? I am sure there are active hacking attacks on Japanese networks.

Peter Coates said...

Thanks Autumn Leaf

Looks like the Chinese model or gamer company gets the:
- displacements from the (right sidebar)
- dimensions inspired by Collins and Soryu
- speeds also inspired by Collins and Soryu

6 x 533mm torpedo tubes same as Soryu and Collins,

similar to 20 heavyweight shot number for Soryu and Collins.


Peter Coates said...

Nicky K.D Chaleunphone

China would build 20 Yuans for many reasons:

- in addition to the 25 (Kilos + Songs) to provide sufficient SSKs for China's 3 fleets (for many defensive and offensive roles)
- to at least be superior to Japan's eventual 22 + South Korea's 15 + a mixture of other navies (say 8 all up from ASEAN navies and the RAN)

- China cannot equal the USs 12 (or so) available in western Pacific SSNs, for a decade or more, so China is not overtly deploying more advanced SSNs than later model 093s.

China needed the Kilos to.....see data and reasons in my book to buy and read in time :)


Peter Coates said...


Yes although extra weight doesn't increase range/speed/endurance by the same proportions it does provide more combat systems, more sensitive sensors, more weapons and the extra crew needed to operate all this.

On an overt level I think similarities with the Soryu are more due the model makers or gamer members in 2013 just lifting the already 8 year old Soryu design to make it attractively unusual bold and new looking to gamer customers.

On a more confidential level though (through Chinese hacking/sig-int and hum-int *) China may have picked up many Soryu design advances eg. very deep diving pressure hull steel, active sound suppression, nose passive sonar, quiet propulsion, etc. Japan (and all SSK makers) constantly need to innovate to keep ahead of Russian and Chinese submarine secrets gatherers.

* Not always Chinese ** : Noshir Gowadia - a design engineer, one of the creators of the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber at Northrop was arrested in 2005 on espionage-related US charges. Gowadia was accused of selling classified information to China, Germany, Israel, and Switzerland.

** even Japanese with gambling or mistress debts or other blackmail-able needs for money



Anonymous said...

One reason for bigger size is sonar size, the bigger it is the better it hears. The Kilo SSK is not known to be good at hunting submarines.

Peter Coates said...

Hi KQN [at 23/12/16 6:34 AM]

Yes the limited diesel engine output of Kilos limits electricity available to the passive sonars, thus limiting these sonars' (and other sensors') effectiveness.

Having an extraordinarily large SSK, like the Shortfin with powerful but still limited diesels, seems a halfway measure. Australia, by 2025, may well make the right decision of choosing 8 Barracuda SSNs.