China to Manufacture More of Nuclear-powered Submarines over Conventional Ones

A top Chinese official made these remarks in a report commemorating the 70th founding anniversary of the PLA Navy's submarine force.
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 08:52 AM, June 19, 2024
  • 848
China to Manufacture More of Nuclear-powered Submarines over Conventional Ones
Chinese submarine

China has shifted its submarine manufacturing focus towards nuclear-powered vessels, prioritizing them over conventional diesel-electric propulsion.

“The force is now emphasizing the development of nuclear-powered boats while still maintaining conventional ones,” Wen Xuexing, a captain at a submarine detachment of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, said.

He made these remarks in a report by China Central Television (CCTV) commemorating the 70th founding anniversary of the PLA Navy's submarine force.

Wen's unit, recognized as the PLA Navy's first submarine unit and referred to as a "seed unit," is responsible for testing and training, as stated by CCTV.

"Now, the country's submarine force development comprises both nuclear-powered and conventional boats, with nuclear-powered vessels as the primary focus," Wen emphasized, highlighting that China's nuclear-powered submarines now conduct regular patrols at sea.

"We have achieved historic breakthroughs in terms of maritime verifications regarding torpedo and missile attacks. This signifies enhanced combat capabilities, extended operational reach, and heightened confidence in our missions," Wen added.

The CCTV report featured a rare clip demonstrating a live torpedo striking the stern of a target ship, resulting in a powerful explosion that devastated the vessel.

According to Wen, PLA Navy submarines enable the Chinese people to foster economic development in peace, free from concerns of invasion.

Submarine-related developments and operations are often deemed sensitive by navies worldwide due to their stealth requirements, resulting in limited public knowledge. However, a controlled level of public exposure can also serve as a deterrent, a Chinese military expert, who requested anonymity, explained to the Global Times on Monday.

While China's submarine technologies historically lagged behind global standards, recent breakthroughs suggest significant catch-up efforts, the expert noted.

Media reports indicate that the PLA Navy currently operates Type 039 series conventional submarines, Type 09III nuclear-powered attack submarines, and Type 09IV nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, with more advanced models in various stages of development.

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