China’s Advances in Stealth Submarines Poses Risk for US

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China’s progress in building its latest Type 096 ballistic missile submarines is alarming the US and its allies. China’s submarines are remarkably stealthy, and there are increasing concerns about a potential escalation in the undersea arms race.

A defense research analysis shows growing evidence that China will be able to operate these submarines by the end of the decade thanks in part to technological advances from Russia, with researchers stating that they will be very hard to detect.

According to Interesting Engineering, the People’s Liberation Army Navy is developing a Type 096 submarine (also called the Tang-class), a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine. It will have cutting-edge quieting technology for improved stealth, a length of roughly 140 meters, and a submerged displacement of 20,000 tons.

As many countries (including the United States, Japan, India, Australia, and Britain) step up their anti-submarine warfare exercises and surveillance capabilities, and are working closely together as they track China’s underwater activities and get ready for the difficulties posed by its highly developed submarine fleet.

The latest AUKUS agreement between Australia, Britain, and the United States of America emphasizes the importance of keeping a technological lead in underwater warfare to balance out the expanding Chinese naval presence.

Nevertheless, according to Vasily Kashin, a Chinese military expert stationed in Moscow, while it’s reasonable that Chinese engineers have made the breakthroughs mentioned in the report, direct transfer of the newest Russian technology is still doubtful.

Kashin stated that China is not an adversary of Russia in the naval field, adding that “it is not creating difficulties for us, it is creating problems for the US.”

He also stated that there isn’t any official agreement between Beijing and Moscow, concluding that China’s technological gains are probably the product of modified Russian designs or possible “espionage.”