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After nearly 50 years since the first Type 091 SSN was commissioned, China is finally on the verge of producing world-class nuclear-powered submarines. This report argues that the propulsion, quieting, sensors, and weapons capabilities of the Type 095 SSGN could approach Russia’s Improved Akula I class SSN. The Type 095 will likely be equipped with a pump jet propulsor, a freefloating horizontal raft, a hybrid propulsion system, and 12-18 vertical launch system tubes able to accommodate anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles. China’s newest SSBN, the Type 096, will likewise see significant improvements over its predecessor, with the potential to compare favorably to Russia’s Dolgorukiy class SSBN in the areas of propulsion, sensors, and weapons, but more like the Improved Akula I in terms of quieting. If this analysis is correct, the introduction of the Type 095 and Type 096 would have profound implications for U.S. undersea security.
China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S Naval War College
Newport, Rhode Island
China, China Maritime Studies Institute, CMSI, People’s Liberation Army, PLAN, nuclear, submarines, nuclear submarines, ssn, undersea warfare, ssbn
Carlson, Christopher P. and Wang, Howard, "China Maritime Report No. 30: A Brief Technical History of PLAN Nuclear Submarines" (2023). CMSI China Maritime Reports. 30.