WASHINGTON – The three largest maritime powers in the world are all developing their next generation of nuclear submarine fleets, accelerating the underwater arms race between the United States, China and Russia. At least, analysts say that America remains by far the most dominant submarine force, even as their boss rivals work feverishly to overcome US-American benefits. Each country seems to have different strategic goals, with the US seeking greater costs and operational efficiency, while the Chinese and Russians are focusing heavily on technological advances and achieving more stealth.
As tensions in the South China Sea escalated, these three countries, boasting the world's largest navy, are aggressively preparing for possible submarine or nuclear conflicts by using nuclear ballistic submarines (SSBNs) and assault submarines. Develop or perfect boats (SSNs). These nations have been waging territorial disputes in these waters, and China has intensified its submarine-intensive military exercises as a demonstration of power.
The US has probably underestimated the number of attack submarines in the Pacific with increased potential for conflict in the region, warned James R. Holmes, a professor of strategy at Naval War College.
"You need to divide the number [of total ships] by two, three, or even more to realistically estimate how many ships are available on any given day, with the remainder in overhaul, training, or post-deployment relaxation," said Holmes. "Divide the number of SSNs in the Pacific by three and look at the map, which are very few boats to manage events in the world's largest body of water."
Almost half of the 106.4 billion US -Dollar planned Navy ships between 2019 and 2023 will be used for nuclear ballistic and assault submarines, according to the Long Range Navy design plan. The spending plan envisages $ 32.9 billion for the construction of ten attack submarines and $ 16.7 billion for a new nuclear ballistic submarine.
The attack submarines are equipped with various cruise missiles aimed at closer land and sea targets. They are specifically designed to attack and sink other submarines, surface combatants and merchant ships.
The nuclear ballistic submarines are equipped with nuclear weapons that can trigger a retaliation or preemptive strike almost anywhere in the world. Taken together, these two submarine types are the overweight of what is likely to be the future of underwater warfare.
"The surface of the ocean – and the sky above it – is an extremely dangerous place in this rocket and drone era, while the ocean has remained largely opaque despite advances in sensor and computer technology," Holmes said.
Mutual Assured Destruction
SSBNs, or "boomers," hide in the ocean and can fire nuclear ballistic missiles at an enemy somewhere in the world, even if the rest of a nation is a nuclear triad of Air and ground rockets is destroyed. They are the guarantors of mutually assured destruction in the event of a nuclear war.
Some analysts say that these boomers will become increasingly critical for the national security strategy of all three nations over the next decade.
"There is no higher priority for the US Navy than SSBN recapitalization," said JD Williams, a retired Marine Corps colonel and senior defense researcher at RAND Corporation, who plays an important role in Navy big-picture decisions.
The United States is building the first Columbia class SSBN to replace the Ohio class, and the Navy expects the command ship to be completed by 2027. The Navy was to have 12 Columbia-class boomers in the 2040s, according to General Dynamics, a naval submarine contractor.
Meanwhile, Russia expects to complete four Borei II submarines by 2025, and in a few years China will begin to build Type 096 submarines capable of both reaching speeds in excess of 300 km n 30 knots – or about 10 knots faster than the new Columbia class SSBN. While the United States focuses most on lifelong savings from the upgraded Columbia-class nuclear reactor, speed and camouflage are critical to both Russia and China's next generation of boomers.
"At present, the US advantage is reassuring, so I'm not surprised that Russia and China are trying to fill that gap," said Bradley Martin, a senior political scientist at RAND and a retired marine captain, about submarines -Camouflage. "The US is already at a background noise level, and you can not become much calmer than that."
Assault Submarines for Versatility
The US, Russia and China are in intense competition to advance to the next generation of the most advanced Develop SSNs
Because attack submarines carry cruise missiles, they are the most important and versatile naval weapon in any frontal attack. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhead over long distances with high accuracy and to hit both land and sea targets ,
The US has built 13 Virginia-class assault submarines and expects 15 more by the end of 2018. China and Russia are also expanding their attack submarine fleets, albeit more slowly. China is currently building two more submarines of the type 095 and has five more planned, while Russia is expected to have six more of its Yasen M-class submarines by 2020.
While America's new attack submarines are expected to have longer deployment times and greater flexibility, Russia and China are focusing more on avoiding detection. Russia wants stealthier and heavily armed SSN as China delves into calming technologies.
Russia's weaker industrial base may, according to some analysts, dampen the high submarine improvement plans
"The Severodvinsk is much quieter than anything we have been encountered and it has everyone terrified, "said naval expert from Washington, Christopher Cavas. "But the problem is that Russia's industrial base is simply not very good, they come with these brilliant designs, but the ships are not shiny."
In 2000, a Russian cruise missile submarine – Kursk – and killed all 118 sailors on board. The Russian government shut down the ship due to a faulty weld that caused a gas leak and caused an explosion.
Despite improvements in Chinese and Russian submarines, the US Navy said it is confident its investments will ensure America's next-gen submarines remain the dominant fleet in the world.
"Virginia-class nuclear-powered assault submarines are equipped with enhanced coastal environment capabilities, sensors, Special Operations Forces (SOF) capabilities, and impact options, providing an ideal platform for the modern security environment that requires asymmetric capabilities Combat current and future threats, "said Lt. Lauren Chatmas, Navy spokesman.
Cavas agreed and said the Virginia submarines remained in a class of their own.
"The truth is that nobody else has the front-end of Virginia," said Cavas. "In addition to these capabilities, they have a completely new reconfigurable weapon room for more flexibility – we're ahead of the Russians, and the Chinese really have nothing of the same order here."
The Pentagon is also trying to break through its submarine fleet to improve new technologies like underwater drones. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is working on an underwater "truck" called Hydra, which can pick up and release unmanned aerial drones to carry out missions when it reaches a specific location.
Hydra is still evolving, and DARPA has provided funding to Boeing last year to provide continued support in its construction, and Boeing expects its ongoing contract to expire in early 2019.
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