America’s submarine advantage eroding amid China’s advances

(From The National Interest)

In January 2011, the cover of the Chinese naval magazine 现代舰船  [Modern Ships], which is published by giant state-owned shipbuilding conglomerate CSIC, carried a simple and elegant headline: “056来了” [The 056 has arrived]. In an impressive display of shipbuilding muscle, Beijing has proceeded in the 4.5 years that followed in building nearly 20 of this new type of light frigate or corvette.

chinese sub

For an interesting comparison, the U.S. Navy has launched less than half that number of its own small surface combatant, the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) over a longer span of time.  Never mind that LCS still lacks for an anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM), so it is quite clearly “out-sticked” by the Chinese variant. But what is really impressive about the Type 056 is its ability to fill in a much needed niche-capability in China’s naval arsenal:  the requirement for a small, cheap, versatile, rugged and well-armed patrol ship to show the flag in proximate maritime disputes. Read More

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