Can China Catch Up With U.S. Nuclear Submarine Tech? | U.S. vs. China
在核潜艇技术方面，中国能赶上美国吗？美国 vs 中国
Decades behind, China is now in the process of modernizing its ballistic missile submarine fleet to strengthen its nuclear deterrence capabilities. Can its new Type 096 submarines and JL-3 missiles compete with the U.S. Navy’s quieter Ohio class SSBNs and larger Trident II missiles?
WSJ compares China’s and the U.S.'s fleets and explains what impact each has on the global stage today.
Truth is no one knows how capable the Type 096 will be until its in the water. However, China has made astonishingly rapid improvements in their combat system capability in the last 10 years. If that trend is an indication of what China is capable of in submarine construction quality, then we have a peer competitor in Asia. In submarine warfare, quality of construction and the training of the sailor is everything.
SSBNs are among the most closely guarded secrets in any nation’s military. It’s difficult or impossible to get any real info on these things, making comparisons like this difficult.
The more proper comparison is between the SSBN of one country and its opponent's detection ability. You don't need to be quieter than your opponent's SSBN, but just quiet enough to evade detection.
Having a fleet of capable submarines is one thing. Having a Navy of proficient sailors who can employ all that capability is quite another.
Thanks WSJ for calculating the survivability of submarines in a nuclear war.
The START treaty has been suspended and isn't in effect any longer. It also only covers the US and Russia so China does not need to comply. Future nuclear weapon limitation treaties will need to include all three countries, at minimum.
I believe that 4 subs in the Ohio class SSBN have been retired as ballistic missile subs - including the Ohio. They have been converted in to cruise missile launchers (SSGN).
Quietness depends on how far it can be heard, and that in turn depends on the operations. China’s nuclear subs are mostly in the South China Sea. Once a nuclear boomer slips through the Philippines into the Pacific, it would hard to track it.
They can catch up with the technology but the U. S. has actually been using an active Navy since John Paul Jones. That’s a lot of years of experience.
Yeah… look. Once countries have nukes, none of them would realistically seek to use them regardless of how quiet their subs are.
Would they want to risk a nuclear war with the enemy?
Nobody wins in a nuclear war. Even if one has stealthier nukes than the other, a single missed silo, strategic bomber, submarine or mobile missile launcher could spell doom for the attacking nation.
From the launch of China's first nuclear submarine in 1974 to now, China has only built about 24 of them, including attack nuclear submarines and ballistic missile submarines, while the U.S. Navy has built more than 250 nuclear submarines of various types from 1958 to now. From hundreds-tons to tens-of-thousands-tons... So, technically comparing the 094 class with the Ohio class is meaningless, just like comparing the driving skills of a novice driver with a 30-year-old professional driver...The result is obvious ...
What is really meaningful is whether a country's nuclear submarine can meet the strategic goals of each country...while the goal of the United States is to "govern" the world, and China's goal is to protect himself...after all, no matter how advanced US Nuclear submarines is, it can't avoid 9/11, nor prevent a lunatic like Trump become the person who "presses the nuclear bomb button"
I don't get why the analysts are comparing how quiet both subs are against each other. What they should be worried about is if the Chinese subs are quiet enough to do what they are required to do.
A direct comparisons between SSBNs is kinda pointless, SSBN are not designed to face off against each other.
unclear ballistic subs is where china is lacking behind, but china is very advanced in conventional AIP subs. and also, the US economy should enter a recession, although we dont know how serious it will be, but we already seeing banks failures, usually, defense budget will take a hit during economic hardships, meanwhile in china, they get steady funding. still, it takes a lot of time to close the gap but ballistic sub is ballistic sub
Obviously having SSBNs has an important deterrence value, but it's really not going to change much if the nuclear missiles start flying (we'll all be in bad shape). So unless you can take out every enemy SSBN plus intercept every enemy ICBM, you're still in a world barely worth living in.
Just cause the question was even posed, that basically means they can, just a matter of time
Why would you go nuclear sub when you can go straight to space hypersonic nuclear missiles orbiting the Earth ready to come down anytime? After the first nuke, we can assume that all nukes will be flying everywhere making Earth uninhabited.
No one can catch up with the Lord of War: USA
The PLA Navy is acquiring their next generation nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines just as the US Navy is acquiring their next generation ballistic missile submarines too.
While the US new Columbia class SSBN are doubtless impressive and superior overall in capabilities, the PLA Navy new Type 096 will be capable enough to do the job. Type 096 is rumored to be significantly quieter than the preceding Type 094 in class which are rather noisy. This might make them roughly equivalent to the Soviet Union’s 1970s era Delta I class submarines. That puts them behind the US but still potentially capable enough to get within striking distance of the US coasts.
It only takes a single submarine-killer missile to sink the submarine just as it takes only a single carrier -killer missile to sink an aircraft carrier!
They may catch up if they can steal the tech.
Kobe A5 Wagyu
China SSBN being loud is intentional.
1. It is to scare away marine animals away from the ship, so they don't dmg the ship.
2. SSBN is an outdated military tactics, in the past, most balisitic missiles cannot reach half of the world, so they have to get closer for an effective range.
But with the modern technology of ICBM.
Most ICBM now have over 10,000 KM range, capable to circle the world.
China's Dongfeng 41 (CSS-20) for example, has an estimated range of 12,000 to 15,000 KM.
The longest-range ICBM in the world.
I suspect the U.S. Navy has subs that can literally,using electro-magnetic fields, fly thru the water.
No need to worry too much, we will get there and we already have pretty reliable systems such as DF41. Just build a few more hundreds of them. Not a big deal.
Imagine if Australia had purchased Chinese submarines .
While US is busy spending billions to counter china
WSJ basically assures Americans(and self-congratulating): don't worry, no matter what, we can still beat China in a nuclear war. Heh, nothing is too difficult for others if American can do. Soviet used to have equally advanced subs if not more. China is late comer to the club, but logically, there is nothing to prevent them to catch up on this, it wo't be too long, if you consider how fast them have developed.
In short, yes but it will take at least 2 decades to reach parity.
What ever is going on more defense spending is needed.
Great piece. Informative and easy to understand. To answer the title of this piece...it seems the only way China catches up is by stealing designs and or reverse engineering stolen stuff. Just look at the J-20 stealth aircraft and put it side by side with the F-22...you can immediately see striking similarities. The only difference is the canard fins just behind the cockpit. The J-31 stealth fighter looks even more like the F-35. I am glad that the Chinese have not been able to copy the Ohio Class SSBN or any other US Navy submarine. I hope it stays that way.
Meanwhile in Australia we sell our Ports to China to help pay for submarines to protect us from china …
all nato countries and partners should invest much more to defence and fast before its too late