A submarine arms race is intensifying as China embarks on production of a new generation of nuclear-armed submarines that for the first time are expected to pose a challenge to growing U.S. and allied efforts to track them, APA reports citing Reuters.
Analysts and regional defence attaches say evidence is mounting that China is on track to have its Type 096 ballistic missile submarine operational before the end of the decade, with breakthroughs in its quietness aided in part by Russian technology.
Research discussed at a conference in May at the U.S. Naval War College and published in August by the college's China Maritime Studies Institute predicts the new vessels will be far harder to keep tabs on. That conclusion is credible, according to seven analysts and three Asia-based military attaches.
"The Type 096s are going to be a nightmare," said retired submariner and naval technical intelligence analyst Christopher Carlson, one of the researchers. "They are going to be very, very hard to detect."
The discreet effort to track China's nuclear-powered and -armed ballistic missile submarines, known as SSBNs, is one of the core drivers of increased deployments and contingency planning by the U.S. Navy and other militaries across the Indo-Pacific region. That drive is expected to intensify when Type 096s enter service.