For decades the Russian Navy’s mighty Pr.941 Typhoon Class submarine has been the largest ever built. And size is relevant, both for political messaging as well as military reasons. Giant submarines can have greater stealth (due to space for quieting), greater survivability, and can operate for longer.
But the Typhoon’s reign is over. The Chinese Navy’s (PLAN – People’s Liberation Army Navy) latest submarine is even larger.
Launched earlier today at the Bohai Shipyard in Huludao, China, the new submarine is believed to be the Type-100 ‘Sun Tzu’ class. The timing, together with its type number, appear to refer to the 100th year anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The vessel is approximately 210 meters (690 feet) long and about 30 meters (100 feet) across. This compares to a paltry 175 meters (574 feet, sources vary) and 23 meters (75 feet) for the Typhoon Class. Although figures for the new submarine’s displacement are not known, it is almost certainly greater than the 48,000 ton Typhoon.
To put this into perspective, the new super submarine is three-to-four times the size of the U.S. Navy’s Ohio class boomer.
And while the Ohio class carries 24 ballistic missiles, the Chinese submarine can carry 48. The Typhoon class only carried 20 although that was partly a political decision. This undoubtedly makes the new class the most heavily armed in the world. It is possible that some of the missile silos will be used for carrier-killing anti-ship ballistic missiles.
In the bow are at least 8 Intercontinental nuclear-powered nuclear-armed hydrosonic torpedoes. These weapons are similar to the Russian Navy’s Poseidon weapon. These have an effectively unlimited range and will be very hard to counter with current weapons. Its development, so soon after Russia moved forward with Poseidon, suggests that Poseidon has been exported. Or that some degree of a technology transfer has taken place.
The shift to a massive submarine may hint, like Typhoon, at an Arctic role. China regards itself as a Near-Arctic country and may intend to use the ice cap to protect its at-sea nuclear deterrence.
Despite being the largest submarine in the world, its dimensions are just within the boundaries of Suezmax. This means that it is still small enough to squeeze through the Suez Canal. This will be critical as China increasingly looks to the Mediterranean as the frontier with Western powers.
On the back is an open hangar which is about the same size as a special submarine previously identified. The ‘sailless’ submarine (it’s official designation is not known) has been built in Shanghai. Possibly its purpose is to be carried by the Type-100.
One potential use for this is to provide layered self-defense for the host submarine. Another possibility is that it tis is for severing undersea internet cables in times of war. It has been suggested that this tactic could be used to bring about the immediate collapse of Western economies.
The new submarine is expected to be the centerpiece of a massive military paraded in Beijing as part of the CCP’s 100 years celebrations in July. More than anything, this previously unreported submarine is a sign of the changing times. April 1st 2021 will go down in history as the start of a new era in submarines.
Important Update: APRIL FOOLS’! The Type-100 submarine is fictional. This article is a joke in the tradition of April 1st being April Fool’s Day. We hope that you enjoyed it. All other articles on Naval News are serious news, we only do this once per year.