Like Russia, China is developing a mixed submarine fleet, simultaneously composed of nuclear-powered submersibles and conventionally powered ships. Today, this conventional fleet consists mainly of Type 039 submarines, forming the Song classes (Type 039, 13 units) and the Yuan-class, this time incorporating an AIP anaerobic propulsion, and broken down into 3 Type 039A/B/C subclasses. According to Beijing's official planning, the Chinese naval forces will have 42 Yuan-class submarines by 2025, for a conventional submarine fleet of about XNUMX units. However, monitoring the constitution of this Chinese submarine fleet is particularly difficult, the ships being built and tested out of sight, and Chinese censorship being increasingly severe on the subject, including on social networks.
What is true for the conventional Chinese submarine fleet is also true for the nuclear submarine fleet, and is even more so for the design of new models of submersibles. Thus, in 2018, satellite images showed for the first time a new model of conventionally powered submarine in all likelihood. Interestingly, the ship had no kiosk, the name of the superstructure which allows, among other things, to implement the periscopic masts as well as to carry out maneuvers on the surface with better visibility. In the absence of operational variation observed so far, this prototype did not however constitute a new class, and its official designation remains to this day unknown in the West.
It seems that the Chinese naval engineers have once again repeated the maneuver, since a short video published on Chinese social networks recently, shows a brand new model of submarine at sea. surprised even the most knowledgeable experts on the subject, all considering so far that the Type 039C and its diamond kiosk similar to that of the Swedish A26 Blekinge, was the last model of conventionally powered submarines developed by Beijing. According to estimates made by HI Sutton, the most recognized of these Western experts in the public square, the new submersible is however much shorter than the Yuan, with an estimated length of around 50 m, against 77 meters for the Type 039A. In addition, the dive bars, positioned on the kiosk on all Type 039s, were moved upstream of it, in a position close to that of the submarine without kiosk (and for good reason), but also from mini-submarine MS200 30 meters long and 200 tons of diving displacement, specialized in special forces and commando missions.
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