June 29, 2022
While China’s newly unveiled third aircraft carrier represents the country’s expanding naval might, a recent CNN report outlines other Chinese naval vessels that represent a more significant threat to the US and its regional allies.
Although this aircraft carrier appears to be a clear signal to Beijing’s adversaries, other Chinese Naval ships pose a more significant threat to the United States and its allies in the Indo-Pacific, CNN said on Sunday (June 26).
Beijing’s Powerful Destroyers and Submarines
The Type 055 destroyer poses the greatest threat to the United States and its allies in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Type 055 destroyer was introduced in 2017 and is big enough to be classified as a cruiser by NATO criteria. It has 112 vertical launch tubes that can fire various missiles, including anti-ship long-range land-attack projectiles.
These stealth-guided-missile destroyers with a displacement of 13,000 tons are the most potent surface combatants in the world.
The report noted that the United States should be concerned about China’s Type 39A/B submarines, of which 17 have already been produced.
The submarines have air-independent propulsion (AIP), which allows them to remain underwater for extended periods without needing to surface to acquire the air required for the diesel combustion that powers their batteries.
“When operating on batteries, AIP-equipped submarines are almost silent, with the only noise coming from the shaft bearings, propeller, and flow around the hull,” said US Navy officers Michael Walker and Austin Krusz in a 2018 US Naval Institute’s Proceedings magazine article.
According to CNN, the submarine can launch “wake-homing” torpedoes, which track after a target ship before detonating close to its steering and propulsion systems. Wake-homing torpedoes are particularly challenging to counter since surface ships detect submarines and torpedoes using sound waves.