CHINA TOPIX

Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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China Claims to be World’s Top Builder of Nuclear Submarines

Noisy beast

(Photo : PLAN) Type 094 SSBN.

China is now the world's leading builder of nuclear powered submarines and has the capacity to build at least four boats simultaneously, claims state-owned media outlets.

State-owned Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. (BSHIC) located at Huludao Port in southwestern Liaoning Province on the northern coast of the Bohai Gulf, has built a new plant and ancillary facilities to "mass produce nuclear submarines."

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This new plant is "about two nuclear submarines so long." This "super engineering" feat will also require a very large steel plant.

Chinese media noted the United States can only build two nuke subs simultaneously while other advanced western countries can build only one at a time.  China, however, is now capable of building four nuclear submarines at one time.

The annual shipbuilding capacity at BSHIC is estimated at 4,000,000 DWT. Also among the facilities at Huludao are two 300,000 DWT dry docks; a 150,000 DWT class semi-dock building berth and a 50,000 DWT flooding dock.

State media revealed BSHIC will build the lead ships in China's newest class of nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) -- the Type 096 -- and the newest class of nuclear attack submarine (SSN) -- the Type 095.

Both new submarines will be built using modular fabrication techniques. China intends to double the production of its SSBNs and SSNs in two to three years, according to state-owned media.

While official specifications of the Type 096 are unknown, speculation says this boomer might carry 24 submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), or double the number carried by its predecessor, the Type 094. The Type 096 might also feature a hull similar to Western SSBNs.

The main feature of the Type 095 SSN will be its substantially reduced acoustic signature. These boats will also come with an improved hull and will be driven through the water by a pump jet propulsion system.

Compared to the Type 093, the Type 095 will have vertical launching system (VLS) tubes to launch its anti-submarine and anti-ship missiles. It will also have more advanced sensors such as a new active/passive flank sonar array and low and a high frequency towed sonar array.

The People's Liberation Army Navy Submarine Force (PLANSF) operates four Type 094/094A SSBNs and five Type 093/093G SSNs.

China currently has about three submarine production lines that can build five to six SSBNs and SSNs submarines at one time. This means China might be building 10 to 12 submarines at one time in the next three years.

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