Chinese, Russian 2008 Sub Patrols Revealed
I'm running late for work, so I'll just post some excerpts from an article that hit the wire this morning:
China nearly doubled the number of patrols by its fleet of attack submarines last year, surpassing Russia but still far behind the United States, the Federation of American Scientists reported Tuesday.Here's the FAS report on which the article was based. So what do you think? Are we right to be worried about rival submarine forces that are, basically, operating at the junior varsity level right now?
The report, based on declassified information provided by US naval intelligence, said Chinese attack submarines conducted 12 patrols in 2008, compared to seven in 2007, two in 2006 and none in 2005.
"While the increase in submarine patrols is important, it has to be seen in comparison with the size of the Chinese submarine fleet," said Hans Kristensen, director of the organization's nuclear information project.
"With approximately 54 submarines, the patrol rate means that each submarine on average goes on patrol once every four and a half years," he said.
The patrols may have been carried out by just the most modern and capable types of submarines in the Chinese fleet, the report said, noting that a new class of nuclear-powered Shang-class attack submarines is replacing the aging Han-class...
..."The patrol rate of the US attack submarine fleet, which is focused on long-range patrols and probably operate regularly near the Chinese coast, is much higher with each submarine conducting at least one extended patrol per year," it said.
"But the Chinese patrol rate is higher than that of the Russian navy, which in 2008 conducted only seven attack submarine patrols, the same as in 2007," it said.
China has yet to conduct a single patrol by a ballistic missile submarine, according to the report.