December 12, 2015

Scale of the threat to US supercarriers from China's submarines

The Chinese Navy consists of approximately 26 destroyers (21 of which are considered modern), 52 frigates (35 modern), 20 new corvettes, 85 modern missile armed patrol craft, 56 amphibious ships, 42 mine warfare ships (30 modern), more than 50 major auxiliary ships, and more than 400 minor auxiliary ships and service/support craft. During 2013, more than 60 total naval ships and craft
were laid down, launched, or commissioned. US Naval Intelligence expects a similar number by the end of 2015. In 2013 and 2014,

China’s attack submarine fleet consists mainly of diesel-electric boats (SSKs) ­– there are 57 of them, as well as five nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs). Of these, the more modern ones include two Shang SSNs, 12 Kilo SSKs, and 12 Yuan SSKs.

SSK was the United States Navy hull classification symbol for a diesel-electric submarine specialized for anti-submarine duties. SS indicated that the vessel was a submarine, and the K suffix that it was a hunter-killer.

The tyranny of geography [a large ocean] and China's operational and technological deficiencies, would make it difficult for China to find and track U.S. carriers in the event of a conflict in the western Pacific. However, new ocean-surveillance satellites could potentially alleviate the shortcoming. And if the Chinese submarine does get to shoot at the U.S. flattop, doing so with torpedoes rather than anti-ship missiles might offer a better chance of mission success.

Anti-surface warfare (ASUW or ASuW) is the branch of naval warfare concerned with the suppression of surface combatants.

Anti-submarine warfare (ASW, or in older form A/S) is a branch of underwater warfare that uses surface warships, aircraft, or other submarines to find, track and deter, damage or destroy enemy submarines.

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