Tuesday, March 08, 2005

New Chinese SSBN, the Type 094

China has a new class of SSBN, the Type 094, that is expected to be operational in a year or two. Chinese Defense Today reports that this new submarine will have significant improvements over the old Type 092 Xia class SSBN (of which there is only one). These improvements will be in quieting, sensor systems, and in the propulsion plant. This is expected, why else develop a new class of submarine. The Xia is simply not a credible threat to the United States or Russia. It operates in Chinese territorial waters and is vulnerable to anti-submarine warfare (read LOUD). With the help of Toshiba they have significantly reduced that vulnerablilty (as have the Russians).

Carrying sixteen JL-2 missiles the weapons system will be able to target approximately three fourths of the United States from waters just to the northeast of the Kiril Islands. These missiles have a range of 8000 KM (4971 miles). As the Washington Times reported in 1999, the JL-2 will be the first strategic system to use secrets stolen from the U.S. during the 1990's. From the Statement of U.S. Rep. John Spratt (D-SC - Release of the Select Committee Report - Technology Transfers to China
The most significant technology that Hughes transferred to China was not the structural fix proposed for the fairing, but the "tutorial" they gave their Chinese counterparts in failure analysis and diagnostic techniques. The same is true of Loral. This assistance, according to the Department of Defense, is likely to make their rockets and their missiles more reliable; and this was a "defense service" under the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations that would not have been approved if a license had been sought. The gain is hard to quantify because it goes to reliability, and not the range, payload, or accuracy of Chinese rockets and missiles.

What have we learned from all of this? For one thing, we have learned that the culture of compliance with export control rules is weak, especially in these cases where the satellite makers have so much riding on a successful rocket launch. Self-interest overrides self-policing. We need tighter rules, closer oversight, tougher sanctions, more monitors, better training, and more export control officers. But we are lucky to learn this lesson without having lost very much. Our losses in this case were not comparable, for example, to the Toshiba case, where we lost the technology that is our submarines' secret to quietness. [emphasis mine - ed.]
This will be the first Chinese strategic weapons system that will be a real threat to the United States.

Today FOXNews has a report via the Associated Press, Commander: China Building Military Quickly;
Admiral William Fallon — who commands U.S. forces in the Pacific — told the Senate Armed Services Committee that China's military might is growing exponentially. He calls that "disconcerting" and "unprecedented" — and he said much of the growth has come in the areas of maritime strength and aircraft attack capability.

No comments: