Tell Murdoc that this isn’t troubling:
A Chinese submarine stalked a U.S. aircraft carrier battle group in the Pacific last month and surfaced within firing range of its torpedoes and missiles before being detected
The sub, a Type 039 Song-class diesel-electric boat, is one of the Chinese navy’s newer models, designed and built in China. China also operates Russian-built Kilo-class diesel subs.
China’s military build-up, and naval build-up in particular, should concern us. And within the naval build-up, the obvious strategy to heavily utilize submarines should be very troubling. The use of subs, especially ultra-quiet diesels, will threaten our carrier operations as this incident demonstrates.
Any sort of war in the Pacific region, whether an attack on North Korea or a defense of Taiwan or Japan, will rely very heavily upon our carrier air power. If the threat of submarine attack keeps our carriers from working where we want them to be working, we will have ceded initiative to the enemy.
Assuming this report in the Washington Times is accurate, a very loud wake-up call has just been sounded. Carrier groups operate with a nuclear attack sub, and the fact that this diesel snuck in under our noses is telling.
There are two things here that need to be noted.
Secondly, we need to become more adept at tracking (and therefore attacking) diesel-electric subs. In Contracting out aggressor work (08 Oct 2005) MO noted that we were going to hire a Swedish Gotland-class diesel boat for some exercises, and in Diesel sub aggressor we saw some of the results. I also posted a pic that should scare the living daylights out of our admirals.
Also, in The fleet we need: A look at alternative — and affordable — futures for the U.S. Navy Armed Forces Journal looks at some options.