China to Start Producing Nuclear-Powered Attack Submarines This Year
China's new submarine factory on the Yellow Sea will start producing nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) beginning this year.
Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industrial Corporation (BSHIC), which is the only nuclear submarine maker in China, is reportedly just doing some finishing touches on the new plant. The site's new assembly area measures over 430,000 square feet, providing enough space for two parallel production lines.
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One half of each production line will be used for assembling and attaching submarine modules, while the other half will be utilized to complete the hull with quieting measures like anechoic tiles. Such efficient strategy will allow the plant to work on four SSNs simultaneously.
After an SSN finish production, it will be rolled off the line and into the ocean. The assembly hall could also cater construction of the next generation Type 096 nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN). Although official specs are unknown, the Type 096 may carry 24 SLBMs and could feature a hull similar to Western SSBNs.
Later this year, the plant will also start production of the first third generation Type 095 SSN. The submarine will have a substantially reduce acoustic signature and will feature a single/hybrid pressure hull, pumpjet propulsion, advanced nuclear reactor, vertical launch system cells, and greater number of advanced sensors like a new active/passive flank array sonar and low and high frequency towed sonar array.
BSHIC, which is based in Huludao, Liaoning Province, has previously built Type 091, 093 nuclear attack submarines (SSN) and Type 092 and 094 SSBNs. Currently, China has at least four Type 094/094A SSBN and five Type 093/093G attack submarines.