I would like to point out there is no direct evidence that the Chinese really ever intended to serial build any boomer design in the sense "serial" is normally understood where a sizeable number of nearly identical boats is built in a short span of time. They may have always intended to create a fleet of several small classes of just around 2 boats each, separated by 7-10 years, evertually reaching a steady state of around 7-8 operational boats in 4-5 classes. (assuming operational life for each class of 30 years) This is not most cost efficient, but it does avoid block absolescence. Once the steady state is reached, in 20 years and at least 2 more new classes of SSBNs or so from now, they would be in a state where they will usually have a few boats bordering on obsolescence by international standards. But most of the time, on average, they would also have a few boats that's newer, and presumably more advanced, than boats in other navies that relies on serial building a single class of SSBN, like all the western navies now.
Having 8 boats of 4 classes is very efficient in terms of cost, development and ongoing maintenance.
IMHO, you are trying to have it both ways, Schumacher. Here's why.
The Type 094 design is actually not "very new." Do you remember when the Type 094s were built?
The first one was seen at dock side (meaning it had been launched) in what, 2006? The second in 2007. They probably were each under construction for at least two years before being seen, if not more. This means the Type 094 design was finalized at least ten years ago. It is not only not "very new," it is not "new," at all. The money they have put into the Type 094 is indeed "sunk" money.
Yes it is expensive. But the Type 094 is a better deterrent than the single Type 092...and they are training crew in operations.Making & keeping something like SSBNs operational are huge costs in itself, if they're not effective deterrent, the right thing to do would have been not to operate them at all, despite the sunk costs.
No. Don't know where you get the idea of having 8 boats in 4 different classes translate to very efficient in term of cost, development and ongoing maintenance. Unless these boats and each class shared huge number of similar components and modules and they could interchange these components among the 4 classes easily, it will be a logistic nightmare. And it is definitely not cost efficient and development will be long and expensive because you are going to divide your limited number of manpower, talents (engineers, scientists, etc) to develop four different classes of submarines, rather than gathering all your brain and industrial power to develop only one single class of submarine... then move on to develop the next and the next.
As to ongoing maintenance... anyone with engineering background would tell you that to maintain one single system is always easier as compare to having large number of different systems... and unless of the above points discussed.
The reasons for so many different type of submarines (or seemingly so many different type of submarines) are of the following,
1) different mission suites
2) Most submarines are actually incremental improvement over previous class and they actually shared components that can be inter-use
3) China is still moving around, searching and improving their submarines system until they pinpoint one that they are really satisfy then they will start to mass produce that one type. and at this stage, we are seeing quite a number of types of submarines because the Chinese had not settle on THE ONE.
That should have been:
Having 8 boats of 4 classes is very inefficient in terms of cost, development and ongoing maintenance.
High noise level information of 092 and 094 SSBNs are from US intelligence community, what creditable data do you have to suggest they're wrong?