Tag Archives: China

Chinese Submarine Practiced Missile Attack on USS Reagan

Cruise missile targeting of carrier risked naval shootout

Song-class submarine

Song-class submarine

A Chinese attack submarine conducted a simulated cruise missile attack on the aircraft carrier USS Reagan during a close encounter several weeks ago, according to American defense officials.

The targeting incident near the Sea of Japan in October violated China’s 2014 commitment to the multinational Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea, known as CUES, designed to reduce the risk of a shooting incident between naval vessels, said officials familiar with details of the encounter they described as “serious.”

A section of the non-binding 2014 agreement states that commanders at sea should avoid actions that could lead to accidents or mishaps. Among the actions to be avoided are “simulation of attacks by aiming guns, missiles, fire control radar, torpedo tubes or other weapons in the direction of vessels or aircraft encountered.”

Navy officials recently briefed congressional staff on the incident that took place during the weekend of Oct. 24—days before the Navy warship USS Lassens sailed within 12 miles of disputed Chinese islands in the South China Sea, triggering vocal criticism from Beijing.

The Obama administration has kept details of the submarine targeting incident secret to avoid upsetting military relations between the Pentagon and the People’s Liberation Army.

Asked directly about the incident, Adm. Harry Harris, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, did not deny that the encounter occurred. “I have nothing for you,” Harris stated in an email.

Pacific Command spokesman Capt. Darryn James earlier directed questions about the targeting to the Chinese navy. James also stated that Navy ships in the region are capable of defending themselves.

“I cannot discuss submarine operations, reports of submarine operations, or rumors of submarine operations,” James said. “I can tell you that we are completely confident in the effectiveness and capabilities of the ships and aircraft of the forward-deployed naval force.”

Additional details about the submarine-carrier encounter emerged after the Free Beacon first reported the incident Nov. 3.

The nuclear-powered Reagan is currently the Navy’s sole forward-deployed aircraft carrier strike group. It arrived at its base in Yokosuka, Japan on Oct. 1 and replaced the USS Washington strike group there.

Aircraft carrier strike groups are equipped with anti-submarine warfare capabilities, including ships armed with sensors and submarine-killing torpedoes.

Disclosure of the aircraft carrier targeting comes as two Chinese navy warships arrived in Pearl Harbor on Sunday.

China’s official news agency said the ships’ visit to Hawaii will last five days. “During the fleet’s stay here, the U.S. navy and the Chinese fleet will hold receptions for each other,” Xinhua said. “Friendly sports activities, such as basketball and soccer games, will be held between the two sides.”

The Pentagon has made developing closer ties with the Chinese military a top priority, despite concerns that the exchanges are boosting Chinese war-fighting capabilities.

Members of Congress have called for curbing the exchanges in the face of Chinese cyber attacks and destabilizing activities in the South China Sea.

On Capitol Hill, Rep. Randy Forbes (R., Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on sea power, said he is concerned by reports of China’s simulated ship attack.

“If true, this would be yet another case of China trying to show us that they can hold our forces in the region at risk,” said Forbes.

“Coming on the heels of anti-satellite tests and other demonstrations, this latest incident should be a reminder of the destabilizing course that China is on and the challenges we face in maintaining a stable military balance in the Asia-Pacific region,” Forbes added.

Naval warfare analysts said the incident highlights Chinese efforts to counter U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups, the United States’ major power projection capability in the Pacific.

Retired Navy Capt. Jim Fanell, a former Pacific Fleet intelligence chief, said the submarine incident, if confirmed, would be another clear case of the Chinese navy targeting the carrier strike groups, known as CVNs.

“The PLAN submarine force is on the leading edge of the PLAN for targeting U.S. CVNs in the East Asia arena, all for the expressed purpose of being able to attack and disable them in a contingency operation” he said. PLAN stands for People’s Liberation Army Navy.

Rick Fisher, a China military specialist at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the Chinese navy operates several types of submarines capable of firing anti-ship cruise missiles.

The Song-class and Yuan-class attack submarines can fire two types of torpedo tube-launched anti-ship cruise missiles, including the YJ-82 with a range of up to 22 miles.

Eight of China’s 12 Russian-made Kilo-class submarines are armed with Club anti-ship missiles with a range of up to 137 miles. Newer Shang-class submarine can also fire cruise missiles.

“That the U.S. side would be able to determine that the submarine was conducting a cruise missile strike would indicate that the Chinese submarine was under close surveillance,” Fisher said.

“That also raises the potential that the U.S. side could determine the Chinese submarine had hostile intent, potentially leading to the launching of defensive weapons.”

Fisher said the incident was serious because a U.S.-China shootout would likely result in the destruction of the Chinese submarine and the loss of its crew. “Even though China would have been at fault for the incident, the Chinese government would likely then use it as an excuse for initiating a series of attacks or incidents against U.S. naval forces,” he said.

Additionally, the targeting “certainly runs counter to a 2014 U.S.-China agreement to avoid such incidents at sea, which could indicate that China may have little intention to honor such this or other military confidence building agreements,” Fisher said.

The Navy’s main close-in anti-submarine warfare weapon is the RUM-139C rocket-launched anti-submarine torpedo, with a range of about 17 miles.

Ben Ho Wan Beng, a military analyst at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said the Chinese military is focused on using of cruise missiles against carriers. “China seems to stress the centrality of this weapon in attacking ships,” he wrote last week in the Diplomat.

Recent improvements in Navy defenses against submarines include a new electronic combat system, a towed sensor array, and the P-8 maritime submarine patrol aircraft.

“Whether or not these and similar measures would enable the U.S. to retain a distinctive edge in the undersea combat realm vis-à-vis China remains to be seen,” Ho said.

Lyle J. Goldstein, a U.S. Naval War College expert on the Chinese military, wrote on Sunday that a Chinese defense journal recently discussed ways to sink U.S. aircraft carriers.

A Chinese military analyst recently revealed that China is closely studying a report from earlier this year revealing that a small nuclear-powered French submarine successfully conducted a simulated attack on the aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt, sinking the ship and several support ships in the simulation.

“The article illustrates how Chinese military analysts are diligently probing for cracks in the U.S. Navy’s armor,” Goldstein wrote in the National Interest.

The October showdown between the Chinese submarine and the Reagan took place as the carrier sailed around the southern end of Japan on the way exercises in the Sea of Japan along with four other strike group warships.

Days after the incident, two Russian strategic bombers flew within a mile of the carrier at a height of 500 feet, prompting F-18s from the ship to scramble and intercept them.

The October incident was not the first time a Chinese submarine threatened a U.S. carrier strike group.

In 2006, a Song-class attack submarine surfaced undetected within torpedo range of the USS Kitty Hawk.

The state-controlled China Daily praised the implementation of the CUES maritime code agreement last year as a major step in U.S.-China military relations.

Wen Bing, a researcher at the Chinese army’s Academy of Military Sciences, told the newspaper that the code of conduct and U.S.-China warship exercise at the time “demonstrate the resolve of both countries to deepen military ties and avoid a maritime conflict escalating due to a lack of communication.”

In December 2013, a Chinese amphibious warship sailed in front of the guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens and stopped, causing a near collision in the South China Sea.

A Chinese Embassy spokesman did not respond to an email request for comment.

Link – Free Bacon

China – Nuclear submarine fleet comes of age

Sailors stand at attention on the nuclear submarine, stationed at the Qingdao base.

Sailors stand at attention on the nuclear submarine, stationed at the Qingdao base.

Excellent safety record, demanding training make force exceptional

China’s nuclear submarine fleet has had a remarkable safety record for more than 40 years and gained rich experience through rigorous training and drills, its fleet commanders said.

“We are China’s first nuclear submarine force, and the 42 years since our establishment have witnessed our success in avoiding nuclear accidents,” Rear Admiral Gao Feng, commander of one of the People’s Liberation Army navy’s submarine bases, told reporters during a rare open house in Qingdao.

China's nuclear submarine conducts a drill with other submarines.

China’s nuclear submarine conducts a drill with other submarines.

This is a tremendous achievement because almost all of the other naval powers in the world, including the United States and Russia, have had nuclear accidents on nuclear submarines, Gao said.

Senior Captain Jin Xupu, deputy chief of staff of the base, said nuclear reactors at nuclear submarines are much more sophisticated than those used in nuclear power stations and require higher safety standards.

“A nuclear submarine is like a moving nuclear power station, and its reactors must be capable of resisting stormy waves.”

Soliders stand guard at the Qingdao submarine base

Soliders stand guard at the Qingdao submarine base

 Jin said crewmembers on nuclear submarines must be able to respond quickly and promptly to any kind of contingency, such as a steam leak or fire.

“It’s very difficult to handle a fire during combat because the situation is different than when the submarine stays on the surface or it is peacetime, so crewmembers must pass numerous training tests and exercises on emergency response.”

When stationed in the base, captains and their crewmembers must check equipment on the boat on a weekly basis so that hazards can be discovered and fixed before the submarine leaves the base, said Peng Weihua, head of equipment supervision at the Qingdao base.

Ever since it was founded, the elite unit has been maintaining a low profile. Military observers and analysts have had few opportunities to look inside the deterrence force.

Sun Ruiqiang, a submarine captain, gives orders during a drill

Sun Ruiqiang, a submarine captain, gives orders during a drill

 The official debut of the fleet was in 2009, when the PLA navy celebrated the 60th anniversary of its founding with a spectacular parade that included warships from China and 14 other nations.

Two nuclear submarines of the Chinese navy led the parade and attracted much attention from the international media and the public, with many foreign military observers speculating that China’s nuclear submarine force had become strong and confident enough to show its muscle.

However, the force had chosen to continue a low profile until a recent open house for Chinese journalists.

“After more than 40 years of development, now is the time for us to show the world our determination and ability to safeguard peace and tell our people about this ‘mysterious’ force,” said Rear Admiral Li Yanming, political commissar of the Qingdao base.

Officers walk past the submarine's nuclear reaction cabin

Officers walk past the submarine’s nuclear reaction cabin

With China’s advancements in technological and manufacturing capabilities together with the increasing investment in arsenal modernization, the nuclear submarine fleet has made huge strides in its long-distance patrol trainings, senior officers said.

“I think the claims of some on the Internet that we are backward and can’t defeat other nations’ navies are biased,” Gao said. “Although our boats are not as advanced as our rivals’, we have the ‘spirit of victory’, and our tactics are good enough to enable us to compete with them.”

Moreover, the training and drills are designed for and simulate actual combat, leading to submariners being well prepared for any situation, he said.

In addition, we have gained a lot of experience through confrontation with our rivals, and such occasions testify to our prowess and confidence.”

Gao’s remarks were endorsed by retired commanders.

Qu Weiping, former political commissar at the base, said: “A nuclear submarine is a symbol of a powerful nation and a guardian of national security. We are the only maritime strategic force in Asia and an important part of the navy’s emergency-response combat forces.”

Qu said he has received several foreign military delegations that have visited Chinese nuclear submarines, and they all spoke highly of the crewmembers’ performance. Although he is unable to compare the skills and abilities of foreign submarines’ crewmembers with his own submariners, “I am convinced our men are able to rival any of their foreign counterparts”.

He said the world record for longest voyage of submarine, 90 days, was set by one of his boats, and the distance it traveled is one and a half times the length of the equator.

Wang Ping, a retired officer at the base who had been political commissar on a nuclear submarine, said he had taken part in receiving a visiting delegation of French naval officers.

“Back then, our vessel and equipment were backward compared with theirs, but they were impressed by the good condition of our equipment and my officers’ excellent ability to operate and maintain them,” he said.

Officers said their dreams have become realities as more advanced submarines and weapons are delivered to them.

“When I first joined the nuclear submarine force, becoming a captain was my dream,” said Senior Captain Yang Su, deputy commander of the base.

“And now, what I dream is to navigate our most advanced, modern nuclear submarine to sail around the world to promote peace and friendship

Source – China Daily

The Poseidon adventure: China’s secret salvage of Britain’s sunken submarine

A new book details how Mao’s navy raised the wreck of HMS Poseidon, which went down with the loss of 21 lives in 1931

HMS Poseidon, a state-of-the-art submarine launched in 1929. It sank only two years later

HMS Poseidon, which was a state-of-the-art submarine when the Royal Navy launched it in 1929 but sank only two years later off Shandong province

When the British submarine HMS Poseidon sank off China’s east coast 82 years ago after colliding with a cargo ship, the dramatic underwater escape by five of its crew members made headlines around the world.

But the episode was soon overshadowed by the communist insurgency already raging on the mainland, the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, and eventually the outbreak of the second world war. The world moved on, the wreck of the Poseidon lay 30 metres beneath the sea, lost to history.

Until now. A new book reveals that China secretly salvaged the submarine in 1972, perhaps to abet its then-incipient nuclear submarine programme.

Steven Schwankert, an American author and diving-company owner in Beijing, spent six years obsessively piecing together the submarine’s story; his book about the experience, Poseidon: China’s Secret Salvage of Britain’s Lost Submarine, was released this month.

“When you start something like this, you say I’m going to start at point A and end at point B. Then suddenly you realise that point B doesn’t exist, so you have to go to point C,” said Schwankert. “The challenge wasn’t to find the submarine per se, but to prove that the story of the salvage was correct.”

Although Schwankert never found the exact reasons behind the salvage, he has a few guesses: perhaps fishing nets were getting caught on its periscope, or China, then deep into the Cultural Revolution, simply needed the scrap metal. Or perhaps the Chinese navy’s underwater special forces salvaged the wreck as practice.

“In 1972, China’s nuclear submarine programme was just getting started,” he said. “If you have that kind of a programme, one of the first things you need to know is: if we lose this thing, can we recover it?”

On 9 June 1931, HMS Poseidon – one of the Royal Navy’s state-of-the-art submarines – was conducting routine drills near a leased British navy base off the coast of Shandong province when it collided with a Chinese cargo ship, tearing a hole in its starboard side.

Although 31 of its crew members managed to scramble off before the submarine went down, 26 were trapped on board. Eight were stuck in the submarine’s torpedo room, and over the next hour, they used a predecessor to modern scuba equipment to reach the surface – the first time submariners had used breathing apparatus to escape a stricken boat; until then, crew members had been taught to simply wait for help. Five of the men survived.

The incident made the front page of the New York Times, inspired a feature film, and changed maritime practice – the Royal Navy began adding escape chambers to submarines and expanded its research into treatment of decompression.

Schwankert first learned about the Poseidon while planning an underwater expedition to wrecks from the 1884-85 Sino-Japanese war.

He was fascinated by the vague descriptions of the Poseidon and sepia photographs that he found online, and set out to learn more, believing that the wreck remained on the seabed near Weihai, a port city in Shandong province. After a year of investigating, he began to have his doubts.

By combing through Chinese-language Google search results, Schwankert began to find online articles mentioning the salvage, including one on the website of the Shanghai salvage bureau. On one online forum, he found testimony from a man who allegedly saw the wreck being hauled on to the shore while swimming in the ocean.

China’s foreign ministry confirmed later that the submarine had been salvaged, but refused to provide any details. “Some people have suggested that I go out there and look at the site anyway. I said how can you do that? How can you prove a negative?” Schwankert said. “Every indication is that they brought up the whole thing.”

Source – The Guardian

Development of China’s fourth-generation nuclear submarine completed

Hong Kong media prattle about China's fourth generation nuclear submarines: MHD propulsion Speed ​​100

Chinese navy next 096 strategic missile submarines

At the recent 2013 Four Northeastern Provinces Cooperation Leaders’ Conference held in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, Tan Zuojun, vice governor of Liaoning Province and former general manager of China State Shipbuilding Corporation, revealed that development of China’s fourth-generation nuclear submarines and other high-tech weapons and items of equipment in the Northeastern Provinces of China had been completed. The news attracted considerable attention.

The fourth generation nuclear submarine features high performance and low noise

Military expert Du Wenlong pointed out that the main characteristic of the fourth generation nuclear submarine would be its high performance. Compared with earlier submarines, modern attack submarines differ significantly in offensive power, possessing both anti-submarine capabilities and also strong potential for anti-ship action and attacks on land-based targets. He pointed out that the fourth generation nuclear submarines of the United States and Russia already have these capabilities; China’s fourth-generation nuclear submarines too will be equipped with the appropriate torpedoes, along with missiles suitable for use against other sea-going or land-based targets. In addition, the Chinese submarine will have low noise output, a key indicator for measuring a modern nuclear submarine’s underwater survival capacity, as well as its ability to remain hidden during maneuvers, or undetected while launching an attack. He pointed out that the fourth-generation nuclear submarine will possess effective noise damping features, such as a quieter nuclear power plant with less vibration, and a more advanced hull muffler system, so that it will be difficult to detect even if within range of enemy sonar.

On the question when the fourth-generation nuclear submarine will enter service, Du Wenlong said that completion of development and completion of construction are two different phases – the cycle from completion of development to manufacturing, and then to fitting out and launch, can be very long, perhaps several years. Progress is determined by two factors: one is technical indicators, and the other is strategic need.

A significant enhancement of nuclear counterattack capability

Analysts believe that continual development of attack submarines and strategic nuclear submarines at times of peace, adding better performance and greater combat ability, can enhance strategic deterrence capability. China’s strategic nuclear forces are weapons to deter third parties from becoming involved in local conflicts. China firmly adheres to the principle of non-first use of nuclear weapons, but the existence of strategic nuclear submarines will give China a stronger voice and more room for maneuver in the case of any crisis. In addition, Song Xiaojun points out that the United States, Russia, Britain and France all possess modern strategic nuclear submarines as a symbol of their status as ‘Great Powers’; it is natural that China should be unwilling to lag behind.
Source – English People Daily


Declining Power – USN Submarine Force

Admiral: U.S. submarine forces decline as forces of China, Russia, Iran advance undersea warfare capabilities

Russian sailors participating in joint Naval exercises with China / AP

Russian sailors participating in joint Naval exercises with China / AP

China, Russia, and Iran pose regional and strategic submarine threats and are building up undersea warfare capabilities as the Navy is cutting its submarine force by 30 percent, the admiral in charge of Pentagon submarine programs told Congress on Thursday.

Rear Adm. Richard Breckenridge, director of Navy undersea warfare programs, said the decline of U.S. submarines is placing a key U.S. military advantage at risk.

“Our adversaries are not standing still, and so even though we have an advantage and we have a lead, we can’t sit on our lead,” Breckenridge told a hearing of the House Armed Services seapower subcommittee.

“We have to continue to move or we do have the potential within 20 years of losing this crown jewel, this advantage that we have in the undersea domain,” he said.

Breckenridge then outlined advances in the submarine warfare programs of China, Russia, and Iran.

China’s submarine warfare power is advancing in both numbers of submarines and growing sophistication and missile capability.

Beijing’s submarines currently are “predominantly a maritime, regional undersea force,” he said.

“They predominantly use their undersea forces to threaten the presence of our surface ships, to be able to shoulder off the positive, stabilizing influence of our naval forces in an anti-surface warfare dimension,” Breckenridge said.

However, he warned that China’s submarine programs are “growing towards more of a global strategic undersea force.”

China’s new Jin-class missile submarines are equipped with JL-2 missiles that “will put them into the stage of using the undersea for more than just maritime regional control,” he said.

China’s navy is also building conventionally armed, guided-missile submarines, he said.

“I think that the capability, the quality of their submarines will improve as we march forward a couple of decades,” Breckenridge said. “But right now, there is a capacity challenge that’s unique to what the Chinese navy has.”

Defense officials revealed to the Free Beacon in July that the first sea patrols of China’s new strategic missile submarines will begin next year, the first time Beijing will send strategic missile submarines far from its shores.

Currently, China has three Jin-class submarines each equipped with 12 JL-2 missiles. China calls the Jin-class the Type-094.

The National Air and Space Intelligence Center reported in July that the JL-2 will give China for the first time the capability to target portions of the United States from locations near China’s coasts.

After deploying at least five Jin-class subs, China currently is working on a more modern version missile submarine called the Type-096.

The Pentagon’s annual report to Congress said China has placed a high priority on building up its submarine force and currently has more than 55 submarines, including two new Shang-class attack submarines and four improved variants of that sub. It is building a new Type-095 guided missile attack submarine in the next decade, the report said.

The Chinese also have 12 Russian-made Kilo-class submarines, some armed with SS-N-27 anti-ship cruise missiles, 13 Song-class and eight Yuan-class attack submarines. Up to 20 Yuan-class subs will be deployed in the future.

Breckenridge said Russia is building two new classes of advanced submarines called the Borei-class nuclear missile submarine and a conventional, guided-missile class called Severodvinsk. He said the Russian submarine program is at the “global strategic level of power.”

“It is more than just a region,” he said. “It is the ability to control the seas, it is the ability to do land attack from covert positions. It has a much larger utility than just a maritime sea-control, sea-denial perspective alone, and the Russians have always maintained a very capable submarine force.”

While the U.S. Navy currently has the advantage over Russia in submarine warfare capabilities, “they are a close second with regard to their capability and with regard to their shipbuilding industry and the capabilities they’re putting into their new classes of submarines,” he said.

Three Borei-class submarines are now deployed and at least five more could be built, he said.

“There’s been talk of a higher number of SSBNs [strategic missile submarines] within their force,” Breckenridge added. “But that machine is running. Those very good quality ballistic missile submarines are being produced in Russia.”

The Severodvinsk class of guided missile submarines will have an “eight-pack” of missile tubes, twice the number on U.S. Virginia-class attack submarines.

“So they see the importance of the concealment of the undersea to bring potency with that, that can be threatening at a strategic level,” Breckenridge said. “And again, we are mindful of that and we are prepared to be able to counter that.”

Tehran’s submarine force of three Russian Kilo-class submarines, one indigenous Nahang-class submarine and an estimated 12 Ghadir-class midget submarines, poses a regional threat.

“If you look at Iran, they, like many other countries, use the undersea domain from a purely maritime, sea-denial local region type of influence, much like we did in World War II in the Pacific,” Breckenridge said, “to hold at risk predominantly surface warships.”

“It is a disruptive force, a challenging force and one that we deal with regard to our ability to project stabilizing influence around the globe,” the admiral said.

Rick Fisher, a China military affairs analyst with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the “capacity” challenge mentioned by Breckenridge is real.

“The Chinese Navy may have up to 53 somewhat older to quite modern non-nuclear propelled attack submarines plus five more nuclear powered attack submarines for a total of 58,” Fisher said, adding that the force could be much larger.

“A possible force of 92 Chinese submarines means that U.S. Navy today is facing a very formidable challenge that requires that U.S. submarine levels remain well above 50 ships in order to prevent rapid combat attrition,” he said.

Breckenridge said the submarine programs of the three potential adversaries are advancing and “we have to be mindful of to make sure that we as a nation preserve this unique advantage that we have in the undersea domain.”

By contrast, the U.S. submarine force will decline by 25 percent over the next 15  years as a result of a “gradual consequence of a long list of choices made over many years,” he said.

The total number of submarines will drop from 75 to 52, a 30 percent decline, he said.

The missile-firing strike payload volume from submarines will decline by over 60 percent as the result of retiring guided-missile and attack submarines, he said.

The forward-deployed submarines around the world will decline by over 40 percent, despite building two Virginia-class attack submarines per year, he said.

To address the growing need for submarine power with the declining force, Breckenridge said the Navy has four priorities for its submarine strategy.

They include sustaining the sea-based nuclear deterrent with a new missile submarine to replace Ohio-class submarines. The follow-on has been delayed for 20 years and “it is now time to make the necessary investments to support procurement of the first Ohio replacement in 2021,” Breckenridge said. “There is no allowance for any further delay.”

To prevent the worsening decline in attack submarines, the Navy must continue the two-per-year pace of Virginia-class submarines, add a new more efficient missile launch payload module to Virginia submarine, and restart production of torpedoes.

Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Randy Forbes (R., Va.) said during the hearing that defense spending cuts are harming the Navy.

“It’s apparent to me that the largest threat to the United States Navy is of our own making,” Forbes said of the defense spending crisis.

“I continue to believe that the undersea warfare capabilities provided by our United States Navy provide a preeminent role in the control of the global commons,” Forbes said. “These capabilities provide the United States with the key asymmetric advantage over any potential aggressor. Even in a time of declining resources, it’s crucial that our nation continue to retain our strategic advantage in undersea warfare.”

Source- The Washington Free Beacon

Our submarines are free to navigate international waters: China

Our submarines are free to navigate international waters: China
Our submarines are free to navigate international waters: China
BEIJING: Amid the long-simmering territorial row between China and Japan, Chinese military has asserted that its submarines are free to navigate international waters.

Chinese submarines are free to navigate international waters, including the Northwest Pacific, which is also visited by other nations’ maritime forces, spokesman for China’s Ministry of National Defence, Geng Yansheng, said yesterday.

Geng also criticised the so-called “China Military Threat”, as described by some Japanese media, as an act of “intentionally creating tension with an ulterior political motive,” state-runXinhua news agency reported today.

“Such act is irresponsible and not conducive to peace and stability in the region,” he said.

Geng made the remarks in response to a question regarding some Japanese media outlets’ recent, frequent reporting on the voyages of China’s Yuan-type submarines in Japan’s contiguous zones.

Japan’s coastguard recently said that the Chinese maritime surveillance vessels were spotted inside the 12-nautical-mile zone off the Senkaku islands, which China calls the Diaoyus, in the East China Sea.

The move marked the latest in the decades long standoff between Beijing and Tokyo as they jostle over ownership of the resource-rich islands.

Last September, Japan nationalised three islands in the chain, angering China.

Source – Economic Times


Japan – Military to respond to submarines entering territorial waters, PM Abe warns

Military to respond to submarines entering territorial waters, PM Abe warns

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has once again issued a warning against any intrusion into Japan’s territorial waters, this time referring to foreign submarines that will attempt to pass through underwater. This is in response to the Defense Ministry’s report that a foreign submarine was spotted just outside the contiguous zone, south of Kumejima Island in Okinawa Prefecture on Tuesday.

The contiguous zone is a 12 nautical mile strip outside territorial waters so the submarine still did not violate any international laws. Rules state that vessels can pass freely through the waters given that their intentions are peaceful. Submarines are required to surface and display their national flags if they are already navigating in territorial waters. There is still no indication from what country the spotted vessel was but Ministry officials have said that they probably belong to the Chinese Navy.

Abe told the parliament that submarines entering territorial waters is a “serious issue” and would require maritime security action. This indicates that the Ministry could direct Japan’s Self Defense Forces to move if there would be any confirmed intrusion. This incident, while not violating any laws, is too close to reports of three Chinese government ships that were near the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands last Monday. The Japanese Coast Guard says that this is the 43rd incident of Chinese ships entering Japanese waters since September 2012.

While observers do not believe that China would mount any actual attack or military move on the waters, it is just further proof of them boasting their naval and military capabilities. They have been criticized for showing off an aggressive stance against countries that have a territorial dispute with them, particularly Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan.

Foreign submarine  spotted near Japanese territorial waters

Foreign submarine spotted near Japanese territorial watersA foreign submarine was detected in a contiguous zone just outside Japanese territorial waters south of Kumejima Island in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan’s Defense Ministry revealed on Tuesday. Ministry officials did not elaborate on the submarine vessel’s country of origin, but a government source revealed that the sub likely belonged to the Chinese Navy.

“I was prepared to order ‘maritime security operations’ immediately upon getting approval from the Prime Minister (Shinzo Abe), if the submarine entered Japan’s territorial waters,” Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters on May 13. Under the current Self-Defense Forces Law, Onodera has the authority to order Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) units to conduct whatever was necessary to protect Japanese lives and property at risk, and to maintain the nation’s security at sea. These circumstances, often termed as “maritime security operations,” allow the SDF to use weapons in lawful self-defense and emergency evacuation of citizens. The last time such an order was made was in November 2004, when a Chinese submarine entered Japan’s territorial waters – the area around the Sakishima island chain in Okinawa Prefecture. The latest case did not involve any incursion into Japanese territorial waters, but Onodera is believed to have mentioned such information as a stern warning to any country that may have been involved.

It is known that international law does not prohibit submarines from entering contiguous zones such as in this incident. It is a calculated tact by Japan’s Defense Ministry to make the latest incident public because of the fact that the passage through the contiguous zone was over a prolonged period of time, which made it very unusual. Tense maritime situations have been par for the course with China and Japan as the territorial dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu island chain continues to drag on. On Monday, three Chinese maritime surface ships broke the 12-nautical-mile rule and approached one of the islands, which according to the Japanese Coast Guard was the 43rd incident where Chinese ships in the area entered Japanese territorial waters since September 2012. This incident, including the submarine issue, is causing further tension in an already escalating situation.

Source – JDP

China buys 4 submarines, 24 fighters from Russia

China has agreed to buy 24 Su-35 fighters and four Lada-class submarines from Russia in recent arms purchase deals signed shortly before President Xi Jinping‘s just-concluded visit to Russia, China Central Television reported on Sunday.

The deals raised concern among some regional players and media. Chinese observers said the reaction was “unnecessary” because the purchase is not directed at any third party.

A Russian Su-35 fighter jet. The Su-35 is currently the most advanced Russian fighter jet in mass production.  [File Photo]

The purchases represented “the first time in nearly 10 years” that China had bought large military technological equipment from Russia, the report said.

The four submarines will be jointly designed and built by both countries, with two of them to be built in Russia and the other two in China.

“The Su-35 fighters can effectively reduce pressure on China’s air defense before Chinese-made stealth fighters come online,” the report said.

Li Hong, secretary-general of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said the recent purchases and joint building plan serve as an indicator of the evolution of the overall Sino-Russian strategic partnership.

“It is the natural, well-deserved fruit of bilateral defense cooperation, and both sides have made it clear that the bilateral strategic partnership is not targeting anyone,” Li said.

As for some countries and their speculation on the intentions behind the arms deals, Li said China is not the only country that has signed big arms deals with Russia recently.

Shengyang Aircraft Corporation, a Chinese civilian and military aircraft manufacturer who is engaged in the production of J-11BS fighters and the development of J-15 and J-16 fighters, will not participate in the production of Su-35 fighters. [File Photo]

Geng Yansheng, a spokesman of the Ministry of National Defense, said last month that Sino-Russian cooperation on military technology is not directed at a third party, and that it will facilitate peace and stability in the world and the region.

The enhanced agenda of bilateral defense cooperation also has seen Xi, who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission, visit Russia’s Defense Ministry on Saturday.

Xi is the first Chinese head of state to have made the tour, and he said the idea of visiting the ministry was proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The world is still unequal, unbalanced and tumultuous, with challenges of both “traditional and nontraditional” threats, as well as the further spreading of turmoil in some areas, Xi said.

China and Russia, in the face of complicated international situation, should strengthen their coordination, and work with the international community to deal with all kinds of challenges and threats, he said.

Meng Xiangqing, deputy director of the Strategic Research Institute at the National Defense University of the PLA, said the meetings have shown a profound development of both countries’ armed forces in the field of “pragmatic cooperation” in addition to friendly gestures.

On Sunday, Chang Wanquan, Chinese State councilor and defense minister, said during a meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that wide-ranging and multilayer defense cooperation has become a cornerstone of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership.

“Given the complex international scenario today, China-Russia strategic cooperation and coordination will not only benefit the two peoples, but also help promote world peace and stability,” he said.

Shoigu, for his part, hailed the “unprecedented high level” of the Sino-Russian strategic partnership. The consensus reached by the top leaders has shown the direction of future development of bilateral ties, he said.


A file photo of a Su-35 fighter jet. [Photo: bbs.ychouse.cq.cn]

Two of the submarines will be built in Russia, and the other two will be built in China. [File Photo]

A file photo of a Lada-class submarine. [Photo: armystar.com]


Source – China.org.cn

Suspicious buoy drop highlights Asian submarine tensions

Chinese People’s Liberation Army–Navy (PLA-N) ships earlier this week dropped a number of mysterious buoys around a group of islands in the East China Sea, and although Beijing says they are to monitor ocean conditions, suspicions abound.

The islands are the disputed string called Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China and have for many years been the centre of an increasingly nationalistic tussle between the two powers.

Multiple military planes and ships belligerently traverse the area, inflaming tensions, but submarines have mainly been overlooked.

The buoys may really be for a scientific experiment, as Chinese foreign ministry officials claim, but it is more likely they are part of an expanding system of submarine detectors or sonobuoys China is using to monitor Japanese submarines.

Some were dropped just 300m from Japanese-controlled waters.

While surface tension and conflicts are featured in the news media, beneath the waves submarines are almost forgotten.

Submarines more active

Submarine detection is difficult in the noisy and shallow waters typical of the South China Sea and the East China Sea. Acoustic energy from passive and active sonar technology is more likely to reflect off the seabed than in deeper waters, such as in the Philippine Sea.

Both countries have a number of different classes of submarines but the Chinese diesel-electric vessels are noisier than Japan’s more advanced similarly powered craft.

But the PLA-N’s newest Jin-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) are a mighty addition to Chinese undersea capabilities. While only two are assumed to be operational, and China is struggling with nuclear power at sea, they add serious firepower to its fleet.

And they may soon be equipped with JL-2 nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles, which, according to initial estimates, can reach the United States, meaning America’s nuclear deterrence strategy would be undermined.

A submarine’s stealth makes it ideally suited for operating in restricted or sensitive waters, making them ideal for the tense waters around the Senkaku/ Diaoyu islands.

The reason for such tension becomes very clear on a map. Geographically, they occupy an extremely strategic position for both Japan and China.

They are a gateway for China into the greater Western Pacific. Controlling them would effectively allow the PLA-N to break out of the claustrophobic South China Sea, a result they desperately desire.

Likewise, keeping them in Tokyo’s hands would help Japan pen China into their territorial waters and put a temporary lid on Beijing’s expansionist dreams.

Beijing’s strategy

China’s development of a world-class submarine fleet is in its infancy, but even now Beijing can quietly project power a significant distance from its shores.

This is why the outcome of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands dispute is so important for both nations. Controlling them would give Chinese submarines unfettered access to the Western Pacific and increase Beijing’s strategic options in the Eastern Pacific.

It would also open up the rest of the Pacific for exploration by its submarines, possibly sailing with nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles.

Only the US and Russia possess similar capabilities. Adding a third nation to the list will radically alter the strategic nuclear leverage America has enjoyed in the Pacific since the end of the Cold War.

Ultimately, Tokyo will not end its submarine patrols around the disputed islands, despite the Chinese sonobuoy drop. Submarines are an integral part of the monitoring of major sea routes to Japan.

With heightened military movements in the region the chance of an accident increases. And with so much firepower in close proximity should the US become involved – along with widespread and popular nationalism in both Japan and China – the need to tread carefully to avoid escalating hostilities is paramount.

Source – National Business Review

China – Naval officer questioned over submarine espionage probe

// TAIPEI–A rear admiral was questioned by military prosecutors last week in connection with an investigation into alleged leaks of submarine nautical charts to China, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Monday.


The rear admiral was summoned as part of an inquiry into a suspected espionage case involving Chang Chih-hsin, a former chief officer in charge of political warfare at the Naval Meteorology Oceanography (METOC) Office, MND spokesman Maj. Gen. Luo Shou-he said.

Luo did not reveal the name or position of the naval officer or further details of the case, because of the need to maintain confidentiality in the ongoing legal case.

The Chinese-language United Daily News (UDN) first reported the new twist in the case Monday.

It said that a senior naval officer in active service was questioned for a full day and overnight last week and has since been transferred to Navy Command Headquarters to facilitate follow-up inquiries after serving as commander of a fleet.

Military sources said the Navy has assigned another officer to take over the rear admiral’s job.

The Defense Ministry confirmed last October that Chang Chih-hsin was arrested a month earlier on suspicion of obtaining classified information through former military colleagues and using it for illegal gains, but it denied that his actions had resulted in the exposure of military secrets.

According to the latest UDN report, Chang, along with a lieutenant at the Naval Fleet Command and a retired missile officer in the Navy, has been detained and indicted on charges of leaking military secrets for illegal gains.

The report further said the trio had told prosecutors that they interacted closely with an active service naval real admiral.

After investigating the claims and collecting evidence for several months, military prosecutors decided to summon the suspect for questioning last week, the report said.

Although the senior officer was released after questioning, military prosecutors are still investigating his possible role in the case, the report said.

The newspaper quoted military sources as saying that if the officer was found to have been involved in spying, it would represent the worst espionage scandal since the “Lo Hsien-che” case.

Lo, an Army general who was lured by a honey trap into spying for China during his time at Taiwan’s representative office in Thailand, was sentenced to life in prison and has been in jail since July 2011.

Although relations across the Taiwan Strait have improved significantly over the past five years, China has not renounced the use of force against Taiwan, and it continues to actively spy on the self-governed island it claims as its own, often through active or retired Taiwanese military officers.

Source – The China Post