As many readers are aware, China is considered by a large percentage of strategic thinkers as the greatest current rival to the United States. It is AW1 Tim’s opinion that China is already involved in a Cold War with the United States, and that it has been for at least the past 30 years. China is patient, and where we think on quadrennial-review terms, and 10-year shipbuilding plans, China is looking decades down the pike. China is the Turtle to The US Hare. We all know how that turned out.
One of China’s accomplishments through the PLAN is submarine construction. Although the majority are conventionally-powered by Diesel and, lately, AIP systems, they are still a good boat for what the PLAN wants to do. Trust me, they might be noiser when running the engines, but when they go sinker, electric motors are pretty doggone quiet. If we have to go into the Chinese littorals, then they will be in their element.
It is currently believed that China has some 60 conventional submarines still in their fleet. That’s a significant number, and allows for flexibility of use, something that our diminishing numbers of SSN’s don’t.
Anyway, the Chinese Type-033 submarine is a vastly improved varient of the old Soviet Romeo-Class boat, itse;f derived from the German WWII-era Type XXIII. China built some 84 Romeos, and 30+ of the Type-033, with more alleged to be on the ways.
At least one of this class was lost a few years back with all hands. According to reports, the vessel submerged, but the diesel engines failed to quit operating, and they quickly used up all the oxygen inside the sub.
Regardless, you can read about the class in the following links. As Stalin remarked “Quantity has a Quality all it’s own.”