October 16, 2016

Chinese Export of Submarines to Pakistan Now Confirmed by China


After numerous unconfirmed Pakistani reports going back to 2011 at last China has officially confirmed it is providing submarines to Pakistan. Perhaps 4 built in China and 4 built in Pakistan.

The actual type of submarine China will supply to Pakistan is unknown. 

-  if it has AIP it is most likely to be a development of China's Yuan class. In that case it may be a S20. As Pakistan has a French designed MESMA AIP system in its 3 latest French designed Agosta 90B Khalid class submarines Pakistan may be pressing for China to include AIP in the 8 future submarines..

-  if it is has no AIP (making it cheaper) it may be a non-AIP S20 perhaps derived from China's older Song class.


On October 15, 2016 the People's Republic of China’s state owned media outlet China Radio International (CRI) reported http://english.cri.cn/12394/2016/10/15/2281s942655.htmHere is part of the report:

“Submarine exports to Pakistan officially confirmed”

“On Wednesday [October 12, 2016], China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation confirmed a project to export 8 attack submarines to Pakistan, China Shipbuilding Online reports. The corporation held a conference to discuss the details of the arrangement.

The corporation's chairman, Hu Wenming, said the conference aimed to continue the spirit generated by Chinese President Xi Jinping's speeches on the Belt & Road Construction Work Symposium.

...Reuters reported back in April that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved the deal and called the deal could be "one of China's largest overseas weapons sales once it is signed".

The deal could cost between 4 billion to 5 billion USD, Reuters quoted a Financial Times report..." See WHOLE CRI report.


Daily Pakistan reported with additional details on October 16, 2016. Here is part of the report:

“BEIJING/KARACHI – China will export eight stealth attack submarines to Pakistan [by 2028.] as part of a deal signed earlier this year, according to People’s Daily.

…Four of the eight submarines will reportedly be built at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KSEW) while the remaining four submarines will be built in China.

The majority of analysts speculate that the new submarine will be a lighter export version [S20] of the People Liberation Army Navy (PLAN)’s …Yuan-class conventional attack submarine, excluding the sub’s AIP system, which might be procured independently.

According to IHS Jane’s Fighting Ships, the Type 041 Yuan-class is “a diesel electric attack submarine (SSK), potentially with Stirling air-independent propulsion, that is armed with YJ-2 (YJ-82) anti-ship missiles and a combination of Yu-4 (SAET-50) passive homing and Yu-3 (SET-65E) active/passive homing torpedoes.”

…The first four submarines are expected to be delivered by the end of 2023; the remaining four will be assembled in Karachi by 2028. The new subs are expected to form the sea-based arm of Pakistan’s nuclear second-strike triad.

The Pakistan Navy is in middle of upgrading its undersea warfare capabilities. In June, Turkish state-owned defense contractor STM won a contract for the mid-life upgrade of three Agosta 90B-class (aka Khalid-class) diesel-electric attack submarines equipped with air-independent propulsion systems.” See WHOLE DAILY PAKISTAN report.

Also of interest is Diplomat article (paysite), October 19, 2016, which mentions the outside possibility of the Chinese Type 032 Qing class (3,800 t (surfaced), 6,600 t (submerged)) as being the submarine type to be exported to Pakistan.

It is not precisely known what submarine China has designed for Pakistan. Above is a model of, perhaps the most likely, the future S20 export derivative of China's Yuan class submarine.



Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

HI Pete,
So looks like Pakistan will be the first export customer for the Yuan class SSK.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

S20 submarine (maximum speed 18knots/h, maximum depth 300 meters, non-AIP) is inferior to parent 09A submarine (maximum speed 20knots/h, maximum depth 400meters, AIP) [1, 2]. I think S20 is noisier than 09A.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_039A_submarine#Export_variant:_S20
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_039A_submarine


Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous

Yes I agree. The Chinese may well be following the typical marketing route of producing a lower specification (eg. non AIP) submarine [1] for export.

Also the Stirling AIP China's 039A (Yuan class) [2] subs are known to use, may have been provided to China by Sweden. This may mean China cannot re-export (technology transfer) this AIP to Pakistan.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_039A_submarine#Export_variant:_S20
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_039A_submarine#Propulsion

The shallower maximum diving depth of S20s may be due to use of lower yield pressure hull steel.



Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

Hi Pete,
This may Interest you. This seriously has to be the BIGGEST JOKE for the Philippines. The Philippines think they can afford Diesel/AIP SSK Submarines from Europe. They can't afford to buy Missiles, torpedos or advance weapons let alone a Diesel/AIP SSK Submarine. They seriously are kidding themselves and the the only Submarine they can possibly afford is either the Improved Kilo class SSK or the Amur/Lada class SSK from Russia. They can't afford anything coming from France, Germany or Sweden.

Planning to buy diesel-electric submarines in the world's genuine Philippines

Josh said...

The Chinese would be foolish to sell their latest technology to Pakistan, if only because the Pakistanis have proven that they can be bought by the US if the price is right. In any case making 'monkey model' exports is a tradition that both the US and USSR used going back to almost the beginning of the cold war. Particularly in the case of gear given to the Arabs, it was effectively like handing over a sample to the US in the long run once the next Arab Israeli war kicked off.

I've never heard of Sweden being a willing source of Stirling tech to China, but it might well have had its designs compromised at some juncture. Either way I'd not expect China to be at all limited in technology transfer. What might be more likely is that they are unwilling to provide their own latest tech to Pakistan or that the Pakistanis might simply prefer the French system, if not because it is superior then just for the sake of standardization. I doubt the Pakistanis will share which or even if AIP is used on what ever the final product is.


Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

The Vietnamese article http://soha.vn/ke-hoach-mua-tau-ngam-dien-diesel-xin-nhat-the-gioi-cua-philippines-20161017113644727.htm is intriguing.

The US has no used SSKs or new-builds to donate to the Philippines.

Sooo, maybe the US is using (and paying) Germany to be the proxy provider of diesel-electric subs to the Philippines?


Peter Coates said...

Hi Josh

An additional reason "the Chinese would be foolish to sell their latest technology to Pakistan" is Pakistan is heavily in debt and has no real money to pay for the subs. The Paks are relying on a low (or no) interest Chinese loan that will probably be later forgiven.

The value to China of 8 subs to Pak appears to be non-monetary, ie:

- boosting strategic pressure on India using China's Pak ally
- Chinese access to Pak ports as naval and oil/gas unloading bases
- using Pak territory to build gas/oil pipelines across to China

Yes Pak providing the US with Chinese secrets - paid for by US arms and $$ aid/bribes to Pakistan.

Yes Sweden having "its [Stirling AIP] designs compromised" by Chinese intelligence gathering, even through such mechanisms as Chinese graduate students in Sweden on the dual-use Stirling theoretical phenomenon or more directly at Swedish maritime institutes.

I think MESMA is considered unattractive - it being a crude first generation AIP. MESMA's military value illustrated with Pakistan being the ONLY user (Agostas) - no other takeup (none in Scorpenes). Also it is likely - if MESMA were used - this would again rely on France building the AIP and French advisers in Pak fitting this AIP. The Kalvari class Scorpene assembling (and Rafale buying) Indians would dissuade the French assisting Pak, I think.



Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

Hi Pete
It looks like the Philippines wants the US to finance the sale but fat chance that's ever gona happen. After that that lout mouth has been saying about the US. I think for the Philippines, their only Submarine options are the Russian Improved Kilo class SSK or the Amur class SSK. I doubt China will sell any submarines to them.