China’s Advancing Sub Fleet Concerns U.S. Navy

China SubThe U.S. Navy sees the growth of the Chinese submarine fleet as a serious rising threat, according to a report issued by the Office of Naval Intelligence.

China’s Jin-class ballistic nuclear submarine will begin sailing deterrent patrols in 2014. It would mark the Chinese navy’s “first credible a-sea-second-strike nuclear capability,” according to the report. ONI prepared the report as part of testimony on the Chinese navy to the U.S. China Economic and Security Review.

The Chinese fleet consists of about 62 submarines. Of the 62, five are nuclear attack submarines, four are nuclear ballistic missile submarines and 53 are diesel attack subs. 

ONI officials found that China has rapidly increased the offensive weapons technology aboard these subs. A decade ago, China could only fire anti-ship cruise missiles off a few submarines. That has changed. More than half now fire the anti-ship cruise missiles.

The nuclear ballistic missile submarines will fire a JL-2 submarine launched ballistic missile that has a range of 4,000 nautical miles. It would give the Chinese the ability to fire a ballistic missile capable of hitting Hawaii, Alaska and western portions of CONUS from East Asian waters, according to the report.

Read more about the report, which was first published by USNI, here .

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to He can be reached at
  • Peter

    Maybe, just maybe, if we hadn’t spent so much money with them this would’nt happen.

    • Jeff

      Funny how ‘spending so much money with them’ resulted in us owing them $2 trillion. Such is the bankrupt model of ‘service-based’, ‘post-industrial’ economy.

      • Musson

        On the other hand, they did lend us the money to build the torpedos that can blow these subs out of the water.

      • George M

        Let’s spend their money! If there is a war which will happen some day we won’t have to pay em’ back! I don’t think it will be while I’m living (65). As sure as we live and die it will happen!

    • on the money we should have improved mexico

  • Nicky

    Maybe it’s time we start putting SSK’s in Guam and make their life very difficult

  • JohnnyRanger

    I’m sure we’d have an torpedo on the way the second we heard a missile hatch open…

  • blight_

    We still have enough subs to spare to shadow all of their SSBN’s, I presume?

  • Big-Dean

    Thank God our submarine forces pretty much have it together. I love my Navy but the black shoes are smoking LCS crack and the brown shoes are up to their knees in F-35 shit (but they are starting to see the light…)

  • superraptor

    well, if we want to have a chance in a strategic competition with China, we will have to increase our military budget and invest in our nuclear deterrence. But we are doing the opposite, that’s while we will be toast some day. And yes the F-35C needs to be cancelled. China is winning, we just don’t want to acknowledge it yet.

  • Lance

    I find the subs more of a threat than China’s inferior carrier and inferior SU-33 fighters for it. How ever I find most govern reports just a attempt to scare people to give the DOD its unlimited funs it wants where it will waste on Army crap and the JSF. More Attack subs may be needed but the Pentagon morons wont want that.

    • Rob

      There is only so much capacity in our industrial base to build submarines.

  • Israel

    China is undergoing an industrial age revolution due to their position on their economic life span. Interesting that their committed to building this fleet, maybe they’re in search for raw materials to fuel their expansion.

  • hibeam

    This is serious. Hopefully China can loan us some money so we can respond.

  • time for the US to upgrade our subs Big time, the successor to the LA class boats should be due soon.
    Must have to counter Chinese naval forces worldwide.

  • navy259

    Hopefully their Reactor Tech’s cheated on their exams as well…

  • Ty Street

    We buy their cheap products made with cheap labor that hardly gets paid, we prop up the government which tells the citizenry that Communism is working as designed, they use of our money from goods and services to build up their military so that they can threaten US interests, and then we (the Americans that started the whole process), then complain about it. Go figure!

  • Highguard

    So, you think maybe we need more/better BMD, Anti-Torp Countermeasures and Advanced Long-Range ASW Torpedoes?! Maybe?! Industry is primed but where are the lobbyists for this stuff? Are they scared of the politicians? There’s enough threats out there that we could have high tech, cottage, Military-Industrial Complex (whew the all knowing, all seeing conspirators) weapons systems being built in each state of the union. How’s that for bi-partisan national defense? The Big 9 need to start building plants in every state and plan for that and to _ _ _ _ with Acquisition Efficiency.


    Let’s just keep turning the other cheek and ignore, why there’s no Cold War happening around here.LOL!!!!

  • Stan

    Anti-submarine torpedoes? Wake up. Once China sticks ASBMs on their subs good luck getting those carrier battle groups anywhere within 2000-3000 km of them. We need directed energy weapons, the kinds that can reach to many hundreds of miles to defend our ships. Heck, I would be for a dedicated nuke-powered ship devoted specifically to missile defense.

  • Shawn

    Communist China wants to be the next Adolf Hitler and wants all natural resources like: oil, and natural gas, precious metals etc. to be in their hands to feed their more than a billion population that depended highly on smog and pollution to crank up more pirated materials from name brand developer and sell ’em to the world as their own…China is a greedy nation and most of its leaders want world domination

  • 10thdiv

    I wonder how many subs they have lost to manufacturing defects? (seriously wondering)

  • ken badoian

    Remember the 1960’s plus missile gap.

  • thank god our newest anti sub plane works… oh wait

  • Michael_AF_Ret

    I see a picture of a hull that will generate a great deal of noise. So, a patrol is likely to be on the bottom or in port. Everything about a submarine deals with stealth. Not to underestimate the Chinese; they have shown they can “steal” technology with the best. However, materials technology requires more than a how-to document. Often it comes down to just the basics. Electricity is a necessary basic. During WW2, the Manhattan Project required a significant portion of the Nation’s electrical capacity to refine uranium ore and plutonium. Allocating existing resources and acquiring resources you do not have can ‘limit’ your capacity to produce the quality necessary for military-grade materials. That is one reason that military budgets are so high. Another reason is that maintaining the serviceability of your existing assets requires money. So, seeing a submarine, on the surface, implies many things; but, it doesn’t tell me anymore than the hull floats.

  • david

    Scare tactics to get the US to spend more money (that we do not have) on our military. Reagon did this in the 80’s when he talked about how many nuc’s the USSR had. He may sure to report that they had more than we did. As it turned out he lied we had x2 more the than USSR. Let China build up a big military, let them spend themselves into debt like we are/have done. We have enough (too much) of everything. Time to cut our budget

  • Mambo

    China’s sub fleet is the least of our worries right now. This is another link in the chain of procurement. They are scared to death to let their nuke boats out of site of land. This isn’t to say that China isn’t rushing to catch up but they aren’t close yet. Nuke boat design and operation is EXTREMELY difficult as witnessed by the Russians continuing problems 50 years after they started operating the boats regularly. China has a steep learning curve before they are ready to use their fleet (use that term loosely as they don’t have anything resembling a fleet yet) effectively.

  • Dan1971

    Hmmm … and the US Navy without a modern (or even close to modern) frigate design. Oh, I’m sure the LCS will be able to handle this, and every other, threat.

  • hibeam

    In China their students are learning math and science in school. I seriously doubt they can compete with our social justice trained free stuff voters.

  • blinded1

    China is not a threat, as the US military industry and their lobbyists and the people they helped to run the public offices want we to believe. China’s military modernization is in line with its economy, its population size and land size. In term of per capita defense spending, China is far less than all US and Japan.

    Wake up people. Those who shout load about China threats makes seven-figures income, paid by you and me the ordinary taxpayers.

  • Tom

    Have things in China changed recently that those in charge want to put nuclear weapons under such limited control onboard a submarine? I would ascribe this more to the DoD making more of the Chinese threat than there really is …

  • We always have to have a boogeyman out there lurking around, it’s just the way things work to get money. The services need to prioritize their money better, maybe stop designing new uniforms every 30 days and messing around with 500 hundred different types of drones, backpack computers, on and on… this time the economy sucks, the well is dry, and I don’t want to hear about a single penny more from the taxpayer from my county government all the way up to the Fed. Find a way to deal with what you get.

  • Joe

    The only reason they even wrote this article, is because. China is the only country in the world that could put up a decent fight, and win Without using nukes. Without china the us would be seen as the country trying to take over the world. (oh wait people already think that)(lol)

  • CalRob

    Well – still wanting to buy Chinese made goods to support their military?????

  • STemplar

    Wow. They’re doing a deterrence patrol. The Ohio class passed the 1000 mission mark several years ago.

    • Tiger

      China is just following the same path we did. Minus TR in the command chair.

  • Hopefully, their systems are awash with counterfeit parts too, as well has built with designs stolen from servers with ‘spoof’d’ plans.

    China is a menace to Asia, period. They particularly want to encircle and emasculate Japan for wrongs committed in WW2. Japan may just nuke their asses someday.

  • Elmer

    Don’t worry guys it’s all made in China they can’t stand long last!….

  • DBM

    How about laying some kind of dormant mines outside of their sub bases that could be activated when hostilities seem eminent. Or just nuke them.

  • Tad

    China always surprises to the upside. At least, the Pentagon always seems to be surprised. You’d think they’d adjust their expectations upward after all the times they have expressed such surprise, but hey, look who we’re talking about.

  • Hunter76

    China will build itself up to a super power, and there’s nothing we can do about it. But remember, we never had a hot war with the Soviet Union, either.

  • Ming the merciless

    It’s time to unleash Japan from WWII disarmament and help India develop further capabilities, then let’s arm SK and Australia to the teeth (nukes included)…

    Give China a few extra problems to consider…

  • IQAF1985

    is this a justification for maintaining the US defense-spending-madness ?

  • Rob C.

    I hope this is wake up call to US Congress to get ITS act together. Grant you the Navy along with other services has had some problems developing new sea platforms and weapons systems. However, the submarine force has been one of the few shining points of it. However, they need to be able to sustain a large force if they want to deter the Chinese and make darn sure that they can’t nab more our secrets cybernetically.

  • sharkey

    I toured the USS Independence LCS 2 today. As a bubblehead all I could think about was it makes a great target. We just have to set the torpedo depth at 15 feet or less. AN impressive electronics driven vehicle for amphibious and littoral action but it seemed awfully frail to me. The crew complement is only 40+ and seemed officer heavy, several ladies too. I wouldn’t want to be serving aboard her in her first battle situation.

    • Thomas L. Nielsen

      “I wouldn’t want to be serving aboard her in her first battle situation” – are you referring to the ship, or to one of the ladies?

      Regards & all,

      Thomas L. Nielsen

  • G mail

    Ha ha ha, the one percent was so hell bent on greed and busting up organized labor by moving all the factories over seas and many into China that they jeopardized the National Security of this nation.

  • William Howard

    Keep asking money from China to pay our bill,s this is how they get us by making subs

  • gdadl

    Well thanks to Billie “I didn’t have sex with that woman” Clinton, the Chinese got a big leg up by being able to steal our Trident Missile technology … he new about … and did NOTHING about it.


    The best way to get rid of a potential enemy is to make her your friend.

  • HM2(SS)

    The worst thing that we can do is to under estimate our potential enemy. I have served in the U.S. Navy in Ohio class submarines, and I know what it’s like. If you knew what goes on under water around the world, you would probably not sleep well at night. The Chinese could easily take one of their modern, quiet submarines and slowly work their way close to the CONUS and be able to nuke us in the matter of minutes and we would not be able to do anything about it except ring our hands. If there was any area of national defense spending that needs to be prioritized, my bet would be on any kind of anti-submarine warfare.

  • mpgunner

    We always need a good “enemy” to support our defense.

    I do hope China keeps making these “targets”. They should be fun to sink, right?

  • Zack

    China spent 2 percentage of their GDP on military, which is even less than France or India in term of percentages. We have close to 5 percentage of our GDP on military consistently for decades. US is light years ahead of China. I bet this article and numerous others across all medias are sponsored by the defense contractors who distort facts and stir up fears in order to get bigger slice of our tax money. The danger is that they are also pressing our foreign policies to both portrait and simultaneously push China to be our opponent. Those greedy arms contractors need enemies to justify their evil deeds. If they have their way, the world would not be safe any more.

  • Tuhl Tyme

    Don’t worry boys…. November elections are just around the corner …. and we’re going to vote in some more career politicians … with the same old mentality …. That will fix the problem !!!! Ya Think?