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PLA navy’s ‘sharks’ get stealthier, China on verge of producing ‘world-class’ nuclear submarines: Report

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NEW DELHI: China’s nuclear-powered submarines, nicknamed ‘Sharks’ by the PLA navy, are becoming more stealthy and capable, according to a recent report by the US Naval War College. The report claims that China is on the verge of producing “world-class” nuclear submarines that can rival the Russian Akula-I class SSN in terms of propulsion, quieting, sensors and weapons.
The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is rapidly modernizing its submarine fleet, with a focus on stealth. The PLAN’s new submarines are becoming increasingly difficult to detect, posing a growing threat to US and allied forces in the Indo-Pacific region.
One of the key areas of focus for the PLAN is the development of quieter submarines. Noise is one of the biggest challenges for submarine designers, as it can easily give away a submarine’s position. The PLAN is using a variety of techniques to reduce noise, including new propeller designs, hull materials, and silencing technologies.
The PLAN is also developing submarines with more advanced sensor systems. These systems will allow the submarines to detect and track enemy ships and submarines at greater distances. The PLAN is also developing new weapons systems for its submarines, including torpedoes and cruise missiles.
The combination of stealth, advanced sensors, and powerful weapons is making the PLAN’s submarines a formidable force. The PLAN’s submarine modernization program is part of a broader effort to build a more capable navy. The PLAN is also developing aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships, and other surface warships. The goal is to create a navy that can project power throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
China is reportedly developing its third-generation nuclear submarines, the Type 095 (Sui-class) SSN and the Type 096 (Tang-class) SSBN. The Sui-class is expected to be comparable to the Russian Akula-I class SSN in terms of quietness and performance. The Tang-class is expected to carry JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) with a range of over 10,000 km, which would enable China to target any part of the US mainland from its coastal waters. These submarines are likely to be built at the new Wuchang Shipyard in Wuhan, Hubei Province, which has a large indoor dry dock that can conceal the construction process from satellite imagery.
In addition to the technical challenges of designing and building stealth submarines, the PLAN also faces the challenge of training its crews. Submarine operations are complex and demanding, and the crew must be able to operate the submarine effectively and efficiently. The PLAN is investing heavily in training its submarine crews, and it is likely to continue to do so as it expands its submarine fleet.
The PLAN’s growing submarine fleet is a major concern for the United States and its allies. The submarines could be used to launch attacks on US bases and ships, or to disrupt shipping lanes. The submarines could also be used to gather intelligence on US and allied forces.
The United States is taking steps to counter the PLAN’s submarine threat. The US Navy is deploying more advanced sonar systems and developing new anti-submarine weapons. The US is also working with its allies to improve undersea surveillance in the Indo-Pacific region.
The competition between the United States and China for dominance in the Indo-Pacific is increasingly taking place underwater. The PLAN’s stealthier submarines are a major new challenge for the US Navy, and the two countries are likely to continue to invest heavily in undersea warfare in the years to come.
(With inputs from agencies)





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