China’s new mystery midget submarine may be designed for attacking Taiwan

DigitalGlobe imagery published on Google Earth showing what appears to be a midget submarine at the Wuchang shipyard in Wuhan, China. A Type 041 conventional submarine berthed at the same site in January is shown for comparison. (IHS/Google, DigitalGlobe)

DigitalGlobe imagery published on Google Earth showing what appears to be a midget submarine at the Wuchang shipyard in Wuhan, China. A Type 041 conventional submarine berthed at the same site in January is shown for comparison. (IHS/Google, DigitalGlobe)

The following is based on a translation of a report in Chinese media:

Huanqiu.com says in its report that DigitalGlobe satellite imagery showed a midget submarine being built at a pontoon in Wuchang Shipyard, a shipyard which specialised in producing China’s conventional submarines.

The photo was posted on Google Earth and was highlighted by a contributor to the Bellingcat open source intelligence website.

Judging by the photo, the midget submarine is 35 metres long and 4 metres wide with an estimated displacement between 400 and 500 tons when submerged.

Previously, Taipei Times says in its report “China’s mini-submarine ‘making neighbours nervous’” that “China is designing a nuclear submarine that incorporates a mini-submarine that could be used to land special operations forces on nearby targets, such as Taiwan.”

The report says that. according to the International Assessment and Strategy Centre senior fellow in Asian military affairs Rick Fisher, the new nuclear submarine is designed for coastal warfare.

Taipei Times quotes Fisher as saying, “Its distinctive features reportedly include a lock-out chamber aft the sail for housing a special operations forces transport vehicle”.

The report says, “The big submarine might also have a six-blade propeller instead of the usual seven blades so that it can move more quietly in shallow waters and manoeuvre close to shore.”

The report quotes Fisher as believing that China is building the nuclear submarine and midget submarine for attacking Taiwan, while Jane’s regards it as a mystery and gives its report the title “China builds mystery midget submarine.”

Source: huanqiu.com – “China building mystery midget submarine with displacement less than 500 tons” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)

 



Categories: Defence & Aerospace

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