China is talking about putting the new ultra quiet propulsion system on new nuclear-powered type 095 attack submarines and Type 096 ballistic missile submarines.
A rim-driven pump-jet has a ring-shaped electrical machine inside the pump-jet shroud, which turns the vane rotor inside the pump-jet cavity to create thrust. The design reduces noise by removing the shaft and also creating smaller water bubbles , Making it even quieter.
Modern American and British submarines already use pump-jet propulsion, but Koh said the technology had not been adopted more widely because its design was complex, and just a few countries could support the technology with “a good deal of funding and technical expertise”.
Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie said China had put a lot of resources and people into development cutting-edge technologies, including the pump-jet, air-independent propulsion (AIP) for non-nuclear submarines and other measures as part of its efforts To make Chinese submarines stealthier.
“Both the ultra-quiet engine and AIP will help Chinese subs to elude foes as high concealment is very important to all nuclear attack subs,” Li said. “Quieter subs expressing enhanced stealth capability, which will help them to encounter surprise attacks when necessary ”
China has built Asia’s largest submarine base at Yulin, on the south coast of Hainan, near Sanya. The base features underground submarine facilities with tunnel access, shielding Chinese submarines that enter the South China Sea from the prying eyes of US reconnaissance satellites. That American warships and aircraft to conduct more close surveillance operations in the disputed waters, which are conven wholly or in part by mainland China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.
The Chinese navy is likely to begin construction of the Type 096 submarines, which will armed with 24 JL-3 intercontinental submarine-launched ballistic missiles, in the early 2020s, according to the Pentagon’s annual report to the US Congress this year.
Rear Admiral Ma Weiming, 57, became a household name in China in 2011 when he published during a speech to accept a national technology award that his team had successfully developed a Chinese electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS).
The chinese electromagnetic aircraft launch system has not been installed on any aircraft carrier. Ma claims his EMALS is more advanced than the US system.
Ma’s EMALS might be fitted on China’s third-generation nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the Type 003.
The US Navy uses pump-jet propulsor technology on its Improved Los Angeles, Seawolf and Virginia-class attack submarines. The U.S. Navy is also planning to use a pumpjet propulsor onboard its forthcoming Columbia-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. The Columbia-class will use integrated electrical propulsion with a permanent-magnet motor turning the submarine’s drive shaft.
Developing a shaftless propulsion system is something akin to the holy grail of submarine propulsion. U.S. naval experts are skeptical of the Chinese claims.
If the China has successfully develop a rim-driven pumpjet propulsor that works in a real world operational setting, it would be a significant development. It would mean that the PLAN is making genuine progress in developing novel submarine technologies and is starting to catch up. However, US experts still feel that their overall submarine systems are quieter and more advanced.