Nuclear attack submarines from China are following Britain’s new aircraft carrier across the Pacific.
It was revealed today that Chinese nuclear attack submarines attempted to shadow the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth as it steamed into the Pacific.
Anti-submarine sonar operators aboard the frigates protecting the Carrier Strike Group, however, discovered them. As the carrier group departed the South China Sea and headed into the Pacific Ocean, personnel in the operations rooms of HMS Kent and HMS Richmond discovered two 7,000-tonne Shang class submarines armed with cruise missiles. The carrier was trailed for a brief time before being discovered by sonar radar, since the Royal Navy had expected action from Chinese submarines and Beijing’s intelligence gathering spy ships.
Within six hours of leaving the South China Sea, operators aboard the frigates, which were working in a sweep pattern, ‘pinged’ – naval terminology for locating a sub-surface contact – after leaving the area over which Beijing insists it has sovereignty of the sea lanes after building several artificial islands.
“China is rapidly expanding its submarine fleet, and we must not underestimate them, but they lack the combat experience that US and UK submarine squadrons gained during Cold War operations in the Atlantic’s deep dark spaces,” a naval source said last night.
“Beijing is deploying submarines to reinforce their wider intent to move towards superpower status and dominate trade and security across the Pacific – in violation of international law.” Beijing operates six new second generation submarines, officially known as the Type 093 class, which entered service in 2006. They have an 85-person crew and can stay at sea for 80 days while delivering supersonic ship-killing missiles.
A third Shang boat is believed to have been discovered by a Royal Navy Astute class submarine as it patrolled ahead of the task force in what submariners term ‘running silent,’ a practice in which the crew makes no noise and allows operators to locate any sub-surface contact.
Most warships and submarines may be identified by the sound produced by their propellers – a distinguishing feature that is unique to each submarine – which is referenced in a “digital library” of submarine sounds.
China presently has 66 submarines, which it is deploying to project power. This is more than the US Navy and the Royal Navy combined. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”