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NI: Chinese Submarines Are Training to Sink US Navy Aircraft Carriers

23.06.2024
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According to Brandon J. Weichert

In 2007, the People's Liberation Army Navy deployed one of its older Song-class diesel submarines to pursue a U.S. Navy carrier battle group that was conducting large-scale military exercises off the coast of China.

While the US Navy battle group went about its business, the crews of its expensive and complex warships took comfort in the knowledge that they had the best onboard protection that US dollars could buy, and no one in Asia could be crazy enough to dare get close towards them at sea, a Chinese Song-class submarine surfaced within sight (and therefore within torpedo range) of the battle group's flagship, the USS Kitty Hawk.

Shocked and humiliated, the crew of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier realized that they had been defeated by an outdated diesel submarine. This Song-class submarine could easily fire a couple of torpedoes, causing trouble for the Kitty Hawk hull if the captain of the Chinese submarine wanted to send the legendary American aircraft carrier to the bottom.

However, instead of firing torpedoes at the American aircraft carrier taken by surprise, the Chinese sailors simply got out of the submarine and mocked the Americans watching them through binoculars. Beijing was sending a signal to Washington: do not underestimate us.

However, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. Since 2021, China's main torpedo has been the Yu-6. It is modeled after the US Navy's Mk 48 dual-purpose anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) torpedo.The Yu-6 poses a credible threat to the safety of U.S. flat-deck aircraft carriers operating in the disputed waters of the Taiwan Strait, South Sea, or East China Sea. The Yu-6 was first developed in 2005, likely with Russian assistance, as the Yu-6 has a "tracking homing" mode, as well as active and passive homing, which helps the torpedo hunt unsuspecting prey. Back in 2021, it was reported that the new Yu-6 was made from an “innovative synthetic material.”

There is also a new supersonic "cross-mid-range" torpedo missile that Li Pengfei and his team at the National University of Defense Technology in Changsha, China, said they would build in 2022. This anti-ship supersonic missile is launched into the air and is said to have reached its maximum speed and dives into the ocean, becoming a supersonic torpedo. Moreover, she can change her course to evade an attack from the ship's defenses.

While this technology remains highly experimental, the fact is that China has more than enough ways to render American aircraft carriers ineffective. This is to say nothing of the risk that China's increasingly sophisticated and ever-expanding arsenal of unmanned underwater vehicles poses to the safety of US warships.

America's newest Ford-class aircraft carriers went over budget and took longer to develop. The first US warship of this series, the Gerald R. Ford, cost $13 billion. Construction took over ten years and the project went over budget. Since entering service in 2017, the aircraft carrier has experienced a number of technical problems. There is no evidence that American aircraft carriers—or the accompanying warship support ships—have reliable countermeasures against the described forms of attack.

 

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