May 25, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9355

Chinese Commentator: China's Type 096 Nuclear Submarine, Paired With The JL-3 Third-Generation Intercontinental Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles, Will Be 'China's Best And Most Powerful Underwater Weapon'

May 25, 2021
China | Special Dispatch No. 9355

China's new Type 096 strategic ballistic missile submarine incorporates the most modern propulsion, stealth, and missile launching technology that exceeds those of the Russian and American fleets, and has anti-ship attack capabilities, according to a writer under the pen name Dr. Hou on the Chinese question-and-answer website Zhihu, on March 11, 2021.

Dr. Hou stated the Type 096, paired with the JL-3, the third generation intercontinental submarine-launched ballistic missile, will be China's "best and most powerful underwater weapon which can compete shoulder to shoulder with U.S. nuclear submarines." He added: "If launched from the submarines in the West Pacific, the JL-3 can put all the cities on the West Coast of the U.S. within their attack range."

He concluded that the Chinese government is closing its gaps in the strategic triad: "One day, we will definitely see the glory of our achievement."

Below is the article:[1]


'Type 096 Is The Most Advanced Strategic Nuclear Submarine We Currently Know'

"China became the fifth country in the world to deploy a nuclear submarine with the successful launch of its first submarine 'Long March 1' (also known as Chang Zheng 1) on December 26, 1970. As a complicated project of engineering with 46,000 parts and 1,300 different materials involved and without a single imported screw used, it was researched and developed 100% independently. Since then, the path to the construction of Chinese made submarines have been paved.

"The most discussed about and yet the most controversial submarine in recent years is the Type 096 submarine. How powerful is this submarine that the Chinese look forward to seeing it built? Can it become a 'cutting-edge weapon' to defend its national dignity?

"Type 096 is the most advanced strategic nuclear submarine we currently know. There are two general categories of nuclear submarines. One is the attack nuclear submarines with torpedoes, anti-submarine missiles and cruise missiles as the main weapons. The other is the strategic nuclear submarines, equipped with ballistic missiles armed with attack weapons that we commonly call nuclear weapons.

"So, only the powerful strategic nuclear submarine can be called the real 'killer weapon of the great power.' It is also the 'capital' that all global powers are desperately pursuing.

"The Type 096 nuclear submarine is about 150 meters long and about 20 meters wide, with its maximum diving depth reaching 600 meters, which is 200 meters deeper than the 094 nuclear submarine.

"Its hull shell is made of high-strength composite alloy steel, with a new type of anechoic coating of silencer tiles affixed to it, which means that the sound and noise can be reduced and deadened to its maximum. Therefore, the hull lowers the noise profile to less than 100 decibels when the Type 096 sails underwater, almost silent beneath the surface.

"The noise volume of Russia's Borei-class nuclear submarines is 108 decibels and with the most advanced U.S. submarines, it is still 105 decibels. So, judging from the noise profile, China had reached the very top, an unprecedented breakthrough for our country.

"The achievement of such a feat benefits from the invention by Academician Ma Weiming. Under the leadership of Admiral Ma Weiming, China has successfully developed the technology of propulsion called a Rim-Driven Propeller or RDP, also known as a Rim-Driven Thruster or Rim-Driven Pump-jet, making it possible to maximize the submarine's speed and noise reduction.

"For submarines, high speed is very important, but the most crucial factor is the acoustic dampening techniques to make them as silent as possible. You cannot afford to let others detect your existence hundreds of miles away. Otherwise, it is hard to achieve 'making a kill while invisible' in the ocean.

"Admiral Ma Weiming once publicly demonstrated the principal prototype of new submarine propulsion, the Rim-Driven Propeller, in an interview with the CCTV.

"The technology of RDP removes the driveshaft, hub and gearbox of typical mechanical pumps and propellers, making the vibration and noise caused by driveshaft disappear, thereby giving the submarine even more stealth.

"In this aspect, we have moved ahead of the United States as a military superpower. The only submarine in the U.S. utilizing the RDP technology is the Virginia class nuclear-powered cruise missile fast-attack submarines, but only in an auxiliary function.

"As Admiral Ma Weiming said, 'If you want to lead, move ahead of the U.S.'"


'If Launched From The Submarines In The West Pacific, The JL-3s Can Put All The Cities On The West Coast Of The U.S. Within Their Attack Range'

"As to the displacement and speed, the Type 096 is not willing to play the second fiddle. Its full load displacement is about 16,000 tons, and the maximum speed reaches 35 knots while submerged.

"Compared with the Type 094 submarine, the Type 096 nuclear submarine maintains one outstanding advantage. To a great extent we got rid of the 'hump' on the submarine, also called the 'turtleback' design. As the word turtleback indicates, it is the hump part of the [upper hull], the size of it determined generally by the number of ballistic missiles deployed aboard.

"When the Type 094 was designed, the pressure hull technology of our country was not mature enough. When the giant ballistic missiles were installed into the submarine, part of them were still exposed outside the hull. To ensure the streamline shape of the hull, reduce the navigation resistance, and more importantly, to ensure the safety of the missiles, the turtleback fairing had to be added to the hull.

"Even so, compared to the cylindrical teardrop streamlined submarines, there was still increased resistance and the appearance was not very appealing.

"In recent years, however, the construction hall for building nuclear submarines at Bohai Shipyard in Huludao has been expanded as our country mastered the pressure hull technology. Therefore, it is most likely that the Type 096 nuclear submarine has gotten rid of the turtleback design.

"The Type 096 is outfitted with much more advanced weapons, which will be the JL-3, the third generation intercontinental submarine-launched ballistic missiles of our country.

"JL-3 or Ju Lang 3, known also as Giant Wave 3, has been upgraded from the DF 41 or Dong Feng 41, also known as East Wind 41, a land-based and road mobile solid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missile. JL-3 can be armed with a single or multiple nuclear warheads and has a maximum flight range of 12,000 kilometers, about 7,500 miles. It will be the key leg of China's nuclear triad.

"According to the Washington Times, China has successfully conducted the first flight test of the JL-3 submarine launched intercontinental ballistic missile. It means that the strong partnership and pairing of the Type 096 and the JL-3 will be China's best and most powerful underwater weapon which can compete shoulder to shoulder with U.S. nuclear submarines.

"If launched from the submarines in the West Pacific, the JL-3s can put all the cities on the west coast of the U.S. within their attack range."

'Whatever The Gap That Is Left, We Need To Try To Catch Up Quietly Because We Have Been Left Behind Too Far'

"Besides, the Type 096 will be equipped with two vertical launching cells, capable for firing the YJ-83 subsonic anti-ship cruise missiles, enhancing its capability of attacking large surface warships.

"The thirty Yu-11 rocket-propelled torpedoes carried by the Type 096 are capable of underwater attacks, making the nuclear submarine fully functional with all necessary weapons that a submarine should have.

"Many people cannot help but compare the Type 096 with the U.S. Ohio class strategic nuclear submarine. But actually, the comparison is sort of meaningless to me.

"It is well known to everyone how powerful the U.S. is. The U.S. started to construct the Ohio class nuclear submarine back in 1976, so much earlier than us. The eighteen Ohio class upgraded nuclear submarines are still in active service.

"Although they can no longer carry out cruising duties for strategic nuclear deterrence, as long as they are there they represent the confidence of the United States in playing its role of deterrence. Furthermore, the U.S. has many other submarines.

"When we examine and face the gap between the U.S. and China, however, we also need to have more confidence in our own country. Ten thousand years is too long, seize the day and the hour. We have been trying to do our utmost best. Whatever the gap that is left, we need to try to catch up quietly because we have been left behind too far. Rome was not built in a day."

'Type 096 Nuclear Submarine Is Capable Of Combat Operations In The Polar Regions'

"The Type 096 nuclear submarine is capable of combat operations in the polar regions, according to some expert analysis. If so, China will have much more say in the affairs of the polar regions because we have the strength and capital to compete.

"For many years, China has been feared by the United States and respected by countries all over the world. The reason of it is not only we have not neglected to promote the development of all countries while developing our own, but also China has become strong enough and its comprehensive national power is gradually increasing.

"Our national strength has been achieved not by blowing our own trumpet, but by going all out steadily by generations of military industry workers and by the great efforts of all hard-working and dedicated citizens.

"So far, the official specification and data of the Type 096 has not been disclosed or reported clearly. We do not even know much about its specific status of whether it is still under development or already in active service. We can only speculate based on some isolated remarks and bits of information revealed by some experts.

"But based on our country's tradition of 'equipping one generation, testing one generation and pre-researching one generation,' when the Type 094 was reported affirmatively, it was apparent that the Type 096 nuclear submarine was ready to go.

"After all, military technologies need to be kept secret. Just like the U.S., we do not know how many high-tech weapons the United States possesses. Just waiting patiently is probably the best thing that we can do."

'We Have Come A Long Way, But Never Gave Up'

"Actually, while gathering information on the Type 096 nuclear submarine, I came across quite a lot of negative comments on the Type 096, some ridiculed it, some degraded it while others overlooked it.

"Indeed, nowadays some gap still exists between China and the United States and some other military powers. But this gap needs to be faced squarely rather than belittled through colored glasses. It is certainly better to have something than nothing, and moving forward is always better than making no progress.

"In the 1960's and 1970's and for the cause of the motherland, a group of people went into the deep and lonesome mountains of Jiajiang, in the Southwest Sichuan, to secretly research nuclear power reactors.

"Overcoming the difficulties of lack of technical data, no assistance and poor conditions in all aspects, they managed to develop the "source of power" for nuclear submarines, laying the groundwork for building China's nuclear fleet.

"We are not soldiers who protect our homes and our country, nor can we contribute to our important military industry. There are people out there securing our stability in society, but why can we not have more confidence in our motherland?

"We have come a long way, but never gave up. One day, we will definitely see the glory of our achievement."

[1], March 11, 2021.

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