|Builders:||China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation Bohai Shipyard, Huludao|
|Operators:||People's Liberation Army Navy|
|Preceded by:||Type 091|
|Succeeded by:||Type 095|
|Planned:||6 - 8|
|Completed:||at least 4 confirmed |
|Displacement:||6,000 - 7,000 tonnes submerged|
|Propulsion:||pressure water nuclear reactor|
|Armament:||6 torpedo tubes
The Type 093 (NATO reporting name: Shang, Chinese designation: 09-III) is a nuclear-powered attack submarine class deployed by the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy. These boats are expected to replace the older Type 091 (NATO: Han class) SSNs currently in service. The Type 093 are armed with various torpedoes and anti-ship missiles.
The lead boat in this class was launched in 2002. Construction of the Type 093 submarines is being conducted at the Bohai Shipyard in Huludao. Six to eight boats are expected to be built. The improved Type 093G variant has also been launched.
China’s new generation nuclear submarine program can be dated back to the early 1980s, when the PLA Navy issued the requirement for a new nuclear attack submarine (SSN) as the successor to its first-generation Type 091 (NATO codename: Han class) nuclear attack submarine. The submarine development program, codenamed Type 093, was officially approved by the PLA leadership in July 1983. However, the development program only made very limited progress in its early stage due to enormous technical difficulties, especially the nuclear reactor and onboard weapon systems.
Rumors were that the original Type 093 design was inferior to existing Western and Soviet nuclear submarines even before its blueprint could be finished. As a result, the submarine design team had to give up the original design to meet the revised requirements from the PLA Navy. Development was speculated to have been suspended until the mid-1990s, when St. Petersburg-based Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering began to assist the Chinese design team in the Type 093 development. Supposed Russian involvement in the program has played an important role in reviving the Type 093 project, which finally commenced construction in the late 1990s. Exactly how much help the Chinese design team received from Rubin Design Bureau is unknown, but could have included assistance in some critical areas such as overall hull design, engine and machinery quieting, combat system design, and weapon system and countermeasures outfit.
This rumored Russian-assisted new Type 093 design was speculated to have general performance comparable to that of Russian Victor-III class, SSNs originally introduced in the late 1970s by the Soviet navy, as well as early versions of the American Los Angeles class submarine. Some have gone as far as saying it is comparable to early Alfa class submarine SSNs.
However, Russian involvement in the 093 project cannot be confirmed by any source, the extended re-fits to the 091 Han-class SSNs appeared to be the reason of delaying the development of the Type 093, not the rumored cause of encountering massive technical difficulty nor waiting for the supposed Russian involvement. In a matter of fact, during a visit to China in early 2000s, the Russian chief designer of the Kilo class submarine (also designed by Rubin Central Design Bureau, which China bought 12 of in total) was reported to have been denied the request to even visit either the Song class or the 093 class submarine program, and later according to interview made by Pinkov of Kanwa Defence Review, the Rubin Design Bureau denied that they had any kind of involvement with the Chinese nuclear sub program. Recently released photos have put the theory of relation to the Victor class and Russian design help of the 093 class in doubt as the Type 093 does not seem to be influenced by the Victor design.
The U.S. Navy intelligence and Pentagon predicted that the PLA Navy would have around 3~4 Type 093 submarines by 2010, other sources suggested that eventual production could reach 6 to 8 units. The exact number to be built may well depend on the results of the ongoing sea trial for the first hull, which has been carried out at the PLA Navy’s Huludao submarine base since 2003.
A new modification of the Type 093 (sometimes referred to as the Type 093G) has been launched, incorporating new technologies such as retractable diving planes and a modified hull for acoustic stealth.
The Type 093 is estimated to be roughly 7000 t displacement when submerged. The Type 093 is estimated to be 110 metres (360 ft) long with a beam of 11 m and can dive to a maximum depth of 400 metres (1,300 ft). It is estimated to have a noise level of "110 decibels" and have an endurance of 80 days. It is thought to have a seven-blade asymmetric propeller. This submarine is the first to incorporate flank linear array sonars designated as H/SQG-207 in its design, and this linear flank array was designed by the 715th Institute, with deputy chief designer Mr. Li Qihu (李启虎), who was the chief designer of H/SQ-2 262/262A/262B/262C/H-SQG-4 sonars used to upgrade Type 035, 033, both 091 and 092, 035G, and 039 submarines.
The Type 093 is expected to be armed with six 533 mm and/or 650 mm torpedo tubes that will launch wire, acoustic, and wake-homing torpedoes as well as anti-ship and land attack cruise missiles. This could include the submarine-launched version of the YJ-83 anti-ship missile. Currently the YJ-83 is not believed to be nuclear tipped. Nuclear deterrence missions are delegated to the 092 Xia class and 094 Jin class SSBN.
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