As the tensions in the conflicted South China Sea are heightening, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has a fleet of the lethal attack submarine Type-093A Shang-II Class (aka 09-IIIA) muscle-flexing in the sea.
The 7000-tonne submarine has a nuclear propulsion system is predicted to be equipped with anti-submarine warfare missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles. Reportedly, the large size of the submarine will help to support noise-reducing equipment making it stealthy.
“It’s estimated load of 22 torpedo-sized weapons is fewer than any of those boats, although close to the smaller Suffren Class, reported HI Sutton for Naval News. “Within this load-out, it can carry the YJ-82 anti-ship missile, rocket mines and torpedoes.
Both the Yu-6 thermal torpedoes, which are loosely equivalent to the U.S. Navy’s Mk48, and electric torpedoes will be carried.”
He added that the submarines are equipped with YJ-18, anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles. He explained the dual leadership model on these Chinese submarines.
“Chinese submarines have a dual leadership model with the Captain joined by a political officer. These Commissars are of the same or similar (sometimes higher) rank. Generally, the commissar is responsible for the crew’s welfare and morale, as well as monitoring political cohesion. Exactly how this joint leadership will perform in combat, where quick decisions are often critical, remains to be seen.”
Pentagon’s annual report to the Congress titled ‘Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2020’ stated that China now has the largest navy in the world with a battle force of approximately 350 ships and submarines including over 130 major surface combatants. “In comparison, the U.S. Navy’s battle force is approximately 293 ships as of early 2020,” stated the report.
China’s navy “is an increasingly modern and flexible force that has focused on replacing previous generations of platforms with limited capabilities in favor of larger, modern multi-role combatants,” the report added. “As of 2019, the PLAN is largely composed of modern multi-role platforms featuring advanced anti-ship, anti-air, and anti-submarine weapons and sensors.”
Military experts hail the Type-093A submarine as the most lethal attack submarine in the Chinese arsenal which is a threat to regional powers and the US fighting for clout in China claimed the South China Sea.