China is building some “fairly amazing submarines” and now has more diesel- and nuclear-powered vessels than the United States, a top U.S. Navy admiral told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday, although he said their quality was inferior.
Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, told the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee that China was also expanding the geographic areas of operation for its submarines, and their length of deployment.
Mulloy said the quality of China’s submarines was lower than those built by the United States, but the size of its undersea fleet had now surpassed that of the U.S. fleet. A spokeswoman said the U.S. Navy had 71 commissioned U.S. submarines.
In its last annual report to Congress about China’s military and security developments, the Pentagon said China had 77 principal surface combatant ships, more than 60 submarines, 55 large and medium amphibious ships, and about 85 missile-equipped small combatants.
The US Navy has a 30 year shipbuilding plan and there are Department of Defense (DoD) and Navy guidance documents. The USA is plans to get 2 to 3 submarines per year for the next 20 years.
Congressional Report of China Navy Modernization
If China went from 52 subs in 2012 to more than 71 in early 2015 then China must have gotten about 10 per year in 2013 and 2014. China’s military budget is increasing at about 10 to 15% per year for the next ten years or more. This means that China can sustain a 10+ submarine per year acquisition rate indefinitely.
SOURCES – Congressional report on China Navy Modernization, US Naval Technology Roadmap, Reuters