China’s Noisy Subs

Three posts of interest to China naval gazers (as opposed to a Chinese navel gazers), two from the Federation of American Scientists, here (filled with juicy links) and here, and one from Arms Control Wonk’s Jeffrey Lewis. In a nutshell, China’s navy has made some impressive progress. But their latest-generation nuclear-powered and nuclear warhead-capable submarines are too noisy to pose a credible second-strike deterrent given U.S. and Japanese anti-sub capabilities. That makes it, according to Lewis, “a very impressive submarine — for the 1960s.” He also raises some questions about China’s strategic approach to their use.

Hopefully we’ll never get a chance to find out how usable a force China’s military buildup has actually delivered. But it’s an interesting question to ponder.