Chinese Submarine Fleet Stirs
The Federation of American Scientists has issued an analysis of Chinese submarine deployment numbers over the last 25 years, based on FOIA information from the Navy. Here's how the story starts:
China's entire fleet of approximately 55 general-purpose submarines conducted a total of six patrols during 2007, slightly better than the two patrols conducted in 2006 and zero in 2005.The analysis by the FAS is pretty good. Basically, they say that the Chinese submarine force lacks proficiency in open-ocean operations, but considering that the force's mission is coastal defense, that might not mean the attack sub force is ineffective. We'll have to see which direction the numbers go in future years to see if the Chinese are really trying to develop a blue-water Navy by 2020.
The 2007 performance matches China's all-time high of six patrols conducted in 2000, the only two years since 1981 that Chinese submarines conducted more than five patrols in a single year.
The new information, obtained by Federation of American Scientists from the U.S. Navy under the Freedom of Information Act, also shows that none of China's ballistic missile submarines have ever conducted a deterrent patrol.