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Troubling if true (UPDATED)

Chinese sub surfaces in midst of carrier group:

American military chiefs have been left dumbstruck by an undetected Chinese submarine popping up at the heart of a recent Pacific exercise and close to the vast U.S.S. Kitty Hawk - a 1,000ft supercarrier with 4,500 personnel on board.

By the time it surfaced the 160ft Song Class diesel-electric attack submarine is understood to have sailed within viable range for launching torpedoes or missiles at the carrier.

According to senior Nato officials the incident caused consternation in the U.S. Navy.

The Americans had no idea China's fast-growing submarine fleet had reached such a level of sophistication, or that it posed such a threat.

One Nato figure said the effect was "as big a shock as the Russians launching Sputnik" - a reference to the Soviet Union's first orbiting satellite in 1957 which marked the start of the space age.

The incident, which took place in the ocean between southern Japan and Taiwan, is a major embarrassment for the Pentagon.

The lone Chinese vessel slipped past at least a dozen other American warships which were supposed to protect the carrier from hostile aircraft or submarines.

And the rest of the costly defensive screen, which usually includes at least two U.S. submarines, was also apparently unable to detect it.

According to the Nato source, the encounter has forced a serious re-think of American and Nato naval strategy as commanders reconsider the level of threat from potentially hostile Chinese submarines.

Would love to hear from our military readers on this one to gauge reaction and to better understand the seriousness of it.

UPDATE: My apologies folks... this story is 3 years old and was covered by Jay Tea way back then... must drink more coffee before submitting first post of the morning...


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Comments (10)

I believe the widely circul... (Below threshold)

I believe the widely circulated video that accompanied yesterday's mystery missile launch off the coast of LA contained speculation by Robert Ellsworth that the launch could have been a signal by the US military to other nations, that we still have the capability to park a submarine off the coast of any nation and launch ICMS's at will.

This story seems to definitely put legs on Ellsworth's speculation.

Anyway, I think that such an explanation is far more believable than "it was just an airplane contrail."

That was a news item from 3... (Below threshold)

That was a news item from 3 years ago - check the date.

I agree with Bryce, this ar... (Below threshold)

I agree with Bryce, this article is ancient. I recall Spook86 of formerspook.blogspot.com talking about this incident a few years back.

That being said, it did raise eyebrows at the time because diesel/electric subs do run quieter than nuclear ones when they are just running on batteries. However their quiet range is limited.

I'm reading this article an... (Below threshold)

I'm reading this article and I'm thinking "what they did it again to the same carrier group"...ah,now I feel better b/c Rich screwed up

Rick I guess we all take tu... (Below threshold)

Rick I guess we all take turns.

Right, it old news. On the... (Below threshold)

Right, it old news. On the other hand, I rather doubt that it happened the way we are led to believe. But, maybe so.

The Chinese have invested in conventional, ( i.e. battery/diesel) submarines, because they are quieter than nukes when running on battery. Since they operate pretty much in home waters; e.g., no long transits, they can accept the limitations that go with the type. So, it is possible, I suppose that a Chinese sub was lucky enough to be lying very quietly just in the path of a carrier group, and then became active as it approached overhead. Of course, I assume that in a peace-time environment the carrier group was not trying to obscure its own movements.

Of course, I assume that... (Below threshold)

Of course, I assume that in a peace-time environment the carrier group was not trying to obscure its own movements.

There's not much a large surface group can do to obscure its movements.

Subs can wait and listen almost silently.

The U.S. Navy is down to about 260 warships and subs as it's been bled for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Carriers are highly vulnerable without multiple screens of escorts and subs.

I hope we don't learn a hard lesson in the Straits of Taiwan.

Ummkay ... and still more p... (Below threshold)

Ummkay ... and still more people are saying that the mysterious smoke plume near LA yesterday was in fact a jet contrail viewed under unusual conditions. But it still looks like a rocket launch to me.

Oh well. It's getting harder to know which "experts" we should be listening to these days.

Although old news, lying in... (Below threshold)

Although old news, lying in wait, then jumping up to yell "Surprise!" is one thing.

To navigate and maneuver while not being detected is quite another. And with diesel/electrics - sooner or later, you gotta come up.

I remember this story. The ... (Below threshold)

I remember this story. The line, "The Americans had no idea China's fast-growing submarine fleet had reached such a level of sophistication, or that it posed such a threat." made me laugh. Our Navy has been saying for years that the world fleet of diesel/electric subs pose a grave danger. There are hundreds of them and it only takes a torpedo or two to put a dent in your battle plan.
As far as the unexplained event off our coast, I watched the video of the "missile" and it looks exactly like an airliner I saw coming out of the sunrise a decade ago. I'm not saying that it was an aircraft, just that I have seen that atmospheric effect before. Because of the angle the jet appeared to be moving a lot faster than it was and the rising sun reflected off it's body like a torch. I though it was a missile until it passed overhead and I could see it was a jetliner.






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