Home » China-Russia in a Nuclear Sub Counter to AUKUS
Asia China News Russia

China-Russia in a Nuclear Sub Counter to AUKUS

China is making new quiet nuclear submarines with Russia’s expert assistance, an answer to the AUKUS alliance and the latest sign of the two powers’ converging strategic  interests against the United States and its Pacific allies

The project could make it harder for the US and its allies to track China’s submarines in crucial theaters including the South China Sea and represents a direct challenge to US undersea dominance in the Pacific.

This month, Reuters reported that China is producing a new generation of nuclear-armed submarines, citing evidence that its Type 096 nuclear ballistic missile (SSBN) submarine will be operational before the end of the decade. The report said that breakthroughs in the submarine’s quietness have been aided partly by Russian technology.

Recent research discussed at a conference in May at the US Naval War College and published in August by the college’s China Maritime Studies Institute predicts the new Type 096 vessels will be far more challenging for the US and allies to monitor and track.

The research said the Type 096 submarine would compare to state-of-the-art Russian submarines regarding stealth, sensors and weapons and China’s undersea capability jump would have “profound” implications for the US and its Indo-Pacific allies.

It says the advanced Chinese SSBNs will significantly complicate an already intense subsurface surveillance battle, as tracking Chinese submarines is increasingly an international effort with the Japanese and Indian militaries assisting the US, UK and Australia.

Reuters says that the covert effort to track China’s nuclear attack submarines (SSN) and SSBNs is one of the core drivers of increased deployments and contingency planning by the US Navy and other militaries across the Indo-Pacific region.

It mentions that those efforts are expected to intensify when Type 096s enter service, as the People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLA-N) is routinely staging fully armed nuclear deterrence patrols with its older Type 094 boats out of Hainan Island in the South China Sea, similar to the patrols operated for years by the US, UK, Russia and France.