Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New attack sub docked at China's navy base in Hainan Island

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. [pause] Time to die.

New attack sub docked at China's navy base in Hainan Island

BEIJING (Kyodo) -- At least one new Type 093 nuclear-powered attack submarine was docked at a Chinese navy base in Sanya, Hainan Island, in early September, a photograph obtained by Kyodo News by Wednesday showed.

While it was reported in China that the People's Liberation Army Navy deployed the "Shang-class" submarine in late 2006, the photograph marks the first time for the whereabouts of the submarine to be visually confirmed, according to Ping Kefu, a Hong Kong-based military analyst.

Ping said the PLA appears poised to advance the navy to the Indian Ocean and South China Sea and to form an aircraft carrier fleet in the future at a time when the navy seeks to expand its sphere of influence in the East China Sea, including areas around the disputed Senkaku Islands, and the South China Sea.

The islands -- administered by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan -- become the source of a recent diplomatic row between Tokyo and Beijing, the worst in years.

The photograph, taken on Sept. 2, shows two nuclear-powered submarines docked at a quay in the base, which belongs to the South China Sea Fleet in Zhanjiang, Guangdong Province.

One submarine was confirmed to be a Type 093. Experts believe the other is also a Type 093, but said it is difficult to determine because the image for the second one is unclear.

It was found in 2008 that the PLA Navy deployed a Type 094 "Jin-class" ballistic missile submarine capable of loading nuclear missiles at the same base.

An expansion in deployment of nuclear-powered submarines by the navy is likely to increase a sense of alert by Southeast Asian countries that have territorial disputes with Beijing in the South China Sea, and India.

Measuring about 110 meters in length, the Type 093 submarine excels in striking power and silence in navigation, according to military experts.

It is said to perform on par with Russia's Victor III-class submarine.

China began construction of the PLA Navy base in Sanya around 2002 because water in surrounding areas is deep, making it difficult for submarines to be detected, the military experts said.

The country has nearly completed a large underground facility for nuclear-powered submarines, and the navy appears to be moving major vessels into the base.

The experts believe the base will be a strategic point for an aircraft carrier fleet in the future.

However, the PLA so far has released little information about the base.

(Mainichi Japan) October 20, 2010

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