China’s new Type 093G nuclear sub has provided the People’s Liberation Army with a potential “aircraft carrier killer,” reports the Beijing-based Sina Military. Citing Taiwan’s Defence Interntional magazine, the report said the manufacturing of two Type 093G nuclear subs — upgraded versions of the Type 093 — were completed by the Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industry Co in December, with another resting in a dry dock. The primary difference between Type 093G subs and Type 093 subs is that the former added a vertical launcher capable of firing cruise missiles and the YJ-18 anti-ship missil, the report said. China may be one of only give countries in the world with a nuclear submarine, but weak industry foundations and R&D investment means that earlier models had relatively poor specifications. The first-generation 091 Type and 092 Type subs were slow, loud and equipped with weak weapons compared to US counterparts, and it was not until the 1990s that the country’s submarine program managed to get back on track, it added.
After years of catching up, Type 093 and Type 094 subs have shortened the gap substantially by reducing noise and improving power, though Chinese nuclear reactors are still lagging behind the standards of America’s S6G, SG8 and S6W reactors. Based on available photos, the Type 093G also has a traditional teardrop shape similar to foreign modern nuclear subs, with a wing-shaped cross-section designed to improve speed and mobility as well as reduce noise. Together with the ability to equip YJ-18 missiles, conservative estimates place the attack power of the new Type 093G sub’s attack power to at least that of Western nuclear subs of the 1980s era. Taking cost and price into consideration, Sina Military believes the YJ-18 is powered by a turbojet engine as well as a solid-fuel rocket similar to that used by Russia’s 3M-54E missile, guaranteeing warhead acceleration to at least 2.9 Mach.
In addition to being an anti-ship missile, the YJ-18 serializes and universalizes the PLA Navy’s missile systems through its compatibility with vertical launchers, laying a solid foundation for building surface warships with greater stealth capabilities. Foreign media estimates that the PLA Navy curently has 3-4 strategic nuclear subs, 5-6 attack nuclear subs and 2-3 Han-class nuclear subs in service. PLA major-general Yang Yi has suggested that China needs to increase its number of large submarines to one-third of the US Navy, meaning the PLA will still need at least four more strategic nuclear subs and more than 10 attack nuclear subs. The addition of the Type 093G sub, which has a missile attack range of 300km, means it can provide strong support in taking on enemy aircraft carriers along with long-range bombers and surface warships. The Type 093 sub can also use long-range missiles to attack targets on foreign soil, laying a solid foundation for the development of the next-gen Type 096 sub. Want China Times