Chinese Type-033 Submarine

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.”




Basic Romeo-Class design


4 Responses to “Chinese Type-033 Submarine”

  1. 1 SCOTT the BADGER
    March 14, 2010 at 02:01

    Alas, that we have the national leaders that we now have, that are only concerned with getting thier way, and getting it now, no matter what the long term consequences. They really are children that have never grewn up, and have destroyed our military with thier childish belief that if we treat them nice, they will like us. That way, the money can be spent on what they want, in reforming society in thier own image of perfrction. Even worse, they feel, rather than think.

    The Chinese don’t seem to have any of those problems, thier leaders have set goals, goals that may not be fullfilled for a long time, but that they feel are well worth attaining. With our current leaders having the attention span of children, we are in very deep trouble.

    The contentment of the PLAN with a mix of SS and SSN make perfect sense to them. They know that in any naval war, we’ll be the ones coming to them. Chinese oeanographic ships have been very busy in the Pacific for a long time now. They know the currents, the bottom topography, the conditions that tend to prevail in thier Areas of Operations. When our SSNs coma alooking, there will be PLAN subs waiting for them. Ultra quiet SSes hiding in the thermoclines, or in the shallows, waiting to get a shot at a VIRGINIA, or a SEAWOLF. The remaining 688s will have thier hands full defending the Carriers.

    How can we get our hands on the ships and planes we need? The SSNs in proper numbers, a modern DD, as we have a total of Zero DDs right now, and VP squadrons in a proper number. As long as the money can be spent better on buying votes, and gien to evil organizations like ACORN, I doubt if they will ever be seen.

  2. March 14, 2010 at 02:28

    True dat. Part of our problem is also that our flags, who are acting as program managers, are also looking to their futures with the understanding that a successful program where the Navy buys lots of these “whatevers”, will also almost certainly result in post-Navy employment (at a good salary) for the flag officer involved.

    Thus the deck is often stacked in favour of the Flag with the best PR guys on staff, and the Navy may not always get the best item at the best price.

    Part of this may be rectified by making it so that any Navy folks who worked on “X” program are forbidden from employment with the company producing it for a certain number of years.

    I wish I had a good answer, but I don’t. Sigh.

    But back to your point, absolutely. The PLAN doesn’t have to worry right now about a meeting engagement with us. They know we’ll have to come to them, and the logistics trail will be long and fragile, and very susceptible to submarine warfare.


  3. 3 virgil xenophon
    March 23, 2010 at 15:08

    Tim, it perhaps is appropriate to rpt here a comment I once made at Lexs’ place. Did you know I once ran into the retired O-6 Canoe U grad last CO of the last conventional attack sub in the Navy at the Jiffy Lube on N. Carolleton Ave in New Orleans circa 2004? His daughter was an EA-6 driver. (“Don’t get me started about women in the Navy” was his answer, LOL!!) Had a really interesting conversation with the guy about conventional boats and running on surface at night in crowded waters as best way to remain undetected. Said they used to rig boat with lights to look like fishing Dhow. Funny how some things stick in one’s brain. The JL guys were trying to sell him a bunch of additional services he didn’t want and he was letting them know in no uncertain terms he wasn’t having it. It was the command presence of his voice–I just KNEW he had to be ex senior military! Looked at his ring finger–sure enough–the Academy ring. LOL!! Went over and introduced myself. The rest, as they say, was history. GREAT guy to talk to. Can’t imagine what he’s thinking these days the way things are going…

  4. March 24, 2010 at 02:57

    Yeah, the really nice thing about a conventional boat is how quiet they are when they go sinker. Nice story there. If you should see him again, tell him thanks from me too!


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