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 Yuan 040 SSK, News & Pictures
Posted: Dec 30 2004, 12:09 AM


Group: Admin
Posts: 2,631
Member No.: 1
Joined: 11-November 04

Chinese Yuan Class Submarine

Yuan Class Diesel-Electric Submarine

China’s Wuhan Shipyard has recently (May 2004?) launched a new generation conventional diesel-electric submarine (SSK), which is named Yuan class by the U.S. intelligence. It is estimated that the programme might have begun in 2002, with first boat laid down at Wuhan Shipyard in later 2003 or early 2004. Photos of this submarine were first seen on Internet in July 2004, and soon Washington Times reported the existence of the submarine programme. The detailed information on this submarine is still unknown, but some resources suggested that the new submarine may be comparable to the improved variant of the Russian Kilo class (Project 636) in term of size and general performance.

At least one boat is confirmed to be under construction at Wuhan Shipyard, China’s primary manufacturer of conventional diesel-electric submarines. In the past the same shipyard also built the Type 039/A (Song class), Type 035 (Ming class), Type 033G (Wuhan-A class) and Type 033 (Romeo class) diesel-electric submarines for the PLA Navy. From the photos of the submarine it can be seen that Yuan class may have been based on, and derived from China’s indigenous Type 039/A (Song class) and the Russian Kilo class SSK. Other reports indicated that the boat may be fitted with air-independent propulsion (AIP) system but this cannot be confirmed.

Yuan class has a tail with diving planes similar to those of the Type 039A, and a Kilo-style teardrop shaped hull with a raised hump on top, which suggests that the submarine may be as quiet as Kilo class. Apart from indigenously developed submarine weapon systems such as indigenous active/passive-homing torpedo and the YJ-8 (C-801) submarine-launched anti-ship missile, Yuan class may also be capable of launching the latest Russian weapons (or their Chinese copies) such as the TEST-71MKE wire-guided torpedo, the 53-65KE wave-homing torpedo, and even 3M-54E Club supersonic submarine-launched anti-ship missile.

Yuan class

Unconfirmed reports suggested that Shaanxi Diesel Manufactory is currently building the German MTU 16V-396 diesel under license. The same diesel is used to power the German Type 212 diesel-electric submarine. The electronic systems onboard Yuan class may include CCD camera, infrared/thermal image camera, laser range-finder, surface-search radar and radar warning receiver. Various weapon systems and sensors are integrated by a digitised combat data command and control system.

user posted image


On Espionage, Submarine Warfare and China

uly 20, 2004

by Tom Marzullo
In the decades to come, we will be looking at another submarine warfare technology race with the Chinese, like the one that was coming up to parity with Russia… that is if China does not implode fiscally like Russia did. But alas, the Chinese communists do appear to be more adaptable to the capitalist world than the Soviets who spawned them.

But as the old saying goes, “All is fair in love and war” so we should expect the kind of lucrative, below-the-radar actions that China has indulged in recently as it has rapidly expanded its nuclear arsenal and strategic delivery systems.

The Chinese continue to be working diligently towards the development of their own submarine production capability as shown by the recent publicity regarding the new ‘Yuan’ class submarine that appears to be a merger of Chinese and Russian technology. The strategic imperative that drives their interest and investment-heavy is not only that surrounding Taiwan, but also the longer term goal of establishing a two ocean capability on the Pacific and Indian oceans… but that particular long-term strategic goal and its implications will be discussed further in a future MND piece.

One of the absolutely unmistakable indicators of Chinese adaptability and interest in acquiring western technology is their 1991 treatise on Industrial and Technology Espionage concerning the cost-effective application of internally coordinated methods and sources for such information. This document, no longer openly available in China and presently classified by them, lays out a systematic plan for vastly improving their ability to steal the fruits of western research and development… that plan is now over a dozen years into its application phase and so what we can derive from it is a realistic picture of how the Chinese conduct themselves today.

Today, the United States faces a situation in which we are driven to abandon much of the maintenance and improvement of submarine technology as the sheer fiscal demands of the ‘War On Terror’ moves funding away from naval issues to land-based category, especially improving our special operations capacities. This is judged to be an acceptable opportunity cost today, but in doing so we are incurring two major categories of future expense and disability.

The first is the rapid deterioration of the hard-won industrial base that produces our submarines and associated hardware, such as sonar-buoys. The building ways in Newport News, VA and Groton, CT are already languishing from lack of work and their workforce’s expertise is migrating to other industries, so that within a decade we will be faced with virtually starting over again.

The second (and less visible) category is our technological superiority itself… This is not only being leaked away through the open-source venues that make up the bulk of most intelligence collection, but also through surreptitious collection efforts. As always, new opportunities present themselves as the industry downsizes and financially strapped workers are being targeted to obtain the seemingly unconnected classified data points that when assembled and analyzed will save the Chinese both precious time and billions in R&D costs. The engineering of the new Yuan-class submarine already indicates that the Chinese are no slouches at combining the very best of the available technology to home-grow their own designs.

In a much earlier piece I discussed the capabilities and previous successes in industrial and military espionage found in most of the staffs to the United Nations of various nations that found it both cost-effective and convenient. Russia and China are not the only countries that engage in these practices as many overtly allied countries also participate… France is also notable for it’s special bureau tasked with extracting industrial and technological information.

It might help to note that the UN and the various staffs rife with intelligence gatherers are only a hundred miles or so away from Groton’s submarine production facilities... just a pleasant drive away from all that extremely valuable information that the Chinese have made such concerted and lengthy efforts to obtain in an efficient manner.

The bottom line here is that we can dependably predict that the Chinese have already and will continue to profit exquisitely by such activities, while we are slowly but surely allowing our capacities to rot on the vine through neglect. We have long discussed the need for defending against such intelligence depredations, but doing something tangibly effective has thus far eluded us.

When the bill comes due for these choices, it may be far more than mere money that will have to be paid.

Tom Marzullo
Tom Marzullo is a columnist/physicist/educator who is a former US Army Special Forces combat soldier and US Navy Submariner with special operations experience in both services. He was the leader of the Internet-based effort by Special Forces veterans that debunked the false CNN/TIME magazine nerve gas story, 'Tailwind' and has provided testimony before the US Senate on military and intelligence matters. He resides in Colorado.


Yuan Class AIP (Chinese Article):

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