Type 09V/09VI (095/096) Nuclear Submarine Thread


ZeEa5KPul

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After all, there are certainly more than a few cases in the recent past and present where China has mass produced certain major air and naval products despite being significantly inferior to other leading platforms in the wold at the time (though logical for China's overall strategy and MIC context).
Such as?
 

ZeEa5KPul

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054A, J-10A, ZTZ-96 are among the most obvious and clear cut.
The ZTZ-96 is a low end tank by design. I don't follow the Ground Force too closely so I don't know if they're still procuring these, but they were never a high end capability. The Type 09-V is very much a high end capability.

The J-10A has been superseded, so it's more like an early Type 052 variant.

The 054A is disappointingly still being procured. I would have liked to see the 054B/057 begin production now, but it seems it needs more time in the oven. However, it's somewhat like the ZTZ-96 in being a "supplemental" capability, with the bulk of work in high intensity naval combat being done by destroyers. I guess the PLAN decided it was more important to get those in shape before the frigates, and so long as the frigates can plug into the battle network properly they'll be fine. But once again, this does not apply to a high end capability like an SSN.
Depending on how much one wants to define "extent of competitiveness," platforms that have gone into production with the use of past generation powerplants would arguably also include aircraft like Y-20 and J-20.
That's a bottleneck due to a specific technology that's thankfully starting to clear up. There's nothing in submarine construction as frustratingly challenging and demanding as making monocrystal turbine blades. Besides, China's shipbuilding is far more developed than its turbofans. I would argue that even its nuclear reactors are far more developed than its turbofans - it actually makes and sells nuclear reactors, whereas it has yet to sell a single commercial turbofan to even a captive customer.
 

ougoah

Colonel
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Despite Bltizo being right on, Zeak is probably going to be proven correct re 095. It will be more like a 055 DF-41 etc analogy compared to mass produce a very cheap but effective and capable enough "legacy gen" platform to serve in numbers.

For that role 093 improved is probably going to be produced in numbers as a capable enough SSN between improved LA class and Virginia hopefully in terms of stealthiness (technologies and manufacturing demands that are well below China's current abilities) and above Virginia in terms of subsystems. Let's remember that Virginias although improved and updated throughout the years were still designed in the 1980s and 1990s. There are many aspects that an improved 093 would probably be weaker to Virginia's and even improved LAs due to inherent design limits but some that would be updated e.g. latest computing, communications, sensors, CEC, command control modules etc.

095 would represent at least 1.5 steps above and the first boat or first two if built together like PLAN's other projects would be tech verification platforms and they will want to push the boundaries in every domain where realistically doable. Probably also to test some leapfrog equipment and technologies e.g. shaftless EM drive or new reactor technologies etc. It doesn't need to be step by step and for PLAN they can't afford to do it step by step and introduce a 2010s Virginia equivalent in 095. It'll be 20 years behind the US in a step they ought to be taking with improved 093 to narrow the gap but unlikely to reach that level.

As said before, acoustic stealthiness is all in the propulsion and manufacturing tolerances and design of propulsion and transmission. The hull design for acoustics, materials, dampening and shielding etc are all well understood principles and no longer theoretical or practical challenges for modern Chinese academics and industries. The only potential bottleneck is the miniateurised reactor. Well China's had 40 years miniateurised reactor design and put it into service in the 1980s. Granted those would be FAR from competitive with leading western ones but this is 40 years in the works and since then the commercial reactor tech has benefited from learning French, Russia, and American 2nd, 3rd gen reactor and plant designs despite doing its own 2nd and 3rd gen designs that slowly took lessons and weaned off a combination of first tier western designs. Now China the only one to commercially build a 4th gen pebble bed reactor and this would have been decades in the works. Not to mention exporting 3rd gen designs that combine Chinese designs and lessons with those first tier western and Russian ones.

Military field is probably even ahead in terms of national priorities and funding. Improving miniateurised submarine reactors has been at least 40 years in the works with at least two types and possibly many subvariants and improvements along the way for those two types.
 
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Tam

Brigadier
Registered Member
Speed trumps perfection. This phrase was coined by an epidemiologist (forgot who) but it describes the motivation for China speed. I must add that this is how the US and the Soviet Union won over Nazi Germany. You might also say that's how the US and the Soviet Union did their stuff during the Cold War, putting out a lot of imperfect products then fixing and upgrading them during the product lifetime, while hyping their products, covering their flaws and denigrating each other through propaganda.

Not sure about the J-10A as during its time, having a slotted array PD radar doesn't make it obsolete when the majority of the world's fighter aircraft including the US and Japan are equipped the same, plus it has the ability to use an active guided missile which at that time, many fighters still lacked [Japan's F-15s at that time didn't.]

Type 054A and ZTZ-96 are perfect examples and so is the Type 056X corvette series. One can say the Type 039A/B as well.

Despite the need for speed, there is still a fixed, quantitative and qualitative set of goalposts and standards that are set that also has a minimum, and the product must past that, or its back to the drawing board. So the system won't mass produce lemons either, e.g. LCS.
 

FriedRiceNSpice

Senior Member
Type 054A and ZTZ-96 are perfect examples and so is the Type 056X corvette series. One can say the Type 039A/B as well.

Its hard to say for the 054A because it is difficult to draw upon many foreign examples for which an apple to apples comparison is possible.

The only major navy I can think of for which a fair comparison would be possible would be the RN, or possibly the "destroyer escorts" of JMSDF. which also operates frigates along with destroyers. Comparing a 054A to the frigates of the European or Russian navies, where frigates are much larger and more expensive is comparing apples to oranges. Frigates in those navies are the primary surface combatants of those navies, while the 054A's mission set is more geared towards traditional frigate duties.
 

Bltizo

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The ZTZ-96 is a low end tank by design. I don't follow the Ground Force too closely so I don't know if they're still procuring these, but they were never a high end capability. The Type 09-V is very much a high end capability.

The J-10A has been superseded, so it's more like an early Type 052 variant.

The 054A is disappointingly still being procured. I would have liked to see the 054B/057 begin production now, but it seems it needs more time in the oven. However, it's somewhat like the ZTZ-96 in being a "supplemental" capability, with the bulk of work in high intensity naval combat being done by destroyers. I guess the PLAN decided it was more important to get those in shape before the frigates, and so long as the frigates can plug into the battle network properly they'll be fine. But once again, this does not apply to a high end capability like an SSN.

Yet, all of those platforms are examples of platforms that were mass produced, despite being noticeably or significantly inferior to other leading platforms in the world at the time.
You asked for precedent, and I provided it.

Therefore, if 09V is also mass produced as we expect, we cannot discount at this stage that 09V might still have some noticeable and operationally relevant characteristics compared to leading platforms in the world as well.
Personally I expect 09V to significantly close the gap with other leading platforms, but we do not have the evidence or the past precedent to make a confident claim at this stage as to what what extent 09V will be sufficiently competitive in with other leading world SSNs.

Emphasis on the underlined part.


That's a bottleneck due to a specific technology that's thankfully starting to clear up. There's nothing in submarine construction as frustratingly challenging and demanding as making monocrystal turbine blades. Besides, China's shipbuilding is far more developed than its turbofans. I would argue that even its nuclear reactors are far more developed than its turbofans - it actually makes and sells nuclear reactors, whereas it has yet to sell a single commercial turbofan to even a captive customer.

And how do we know that other bottlenecks (not necessarily only propulsion related) may not also exist for 09V?
Certainly, it is possible and likely that they've made significant advancements in many domains of SSN relevant technologies to produce a competitive product, or at least one that is operationally relevant and useful.

But to reiterate what I wrote above -- we do not currently have the evidence or past precedent to confidently make a claim as to what extent 09V will be sufficiently competitive with other leading world SSNs.
I certainly expect 09V to make significant advancements, and it is likely to produce an SSN that the PLAN assesses would produce a significant advancement in operational capabilities against other leading world SSNs.

However, Saibotz wrote "to what extent" might 09V be able to rival those other leading SSN designs, and the only correct answer is that we can make some educated guesstimates, but otherwise we cannot confidently say at this stage.

"We don't know" is a perfectly adequate answer.
 

FairAndUnbiased

Junior Member
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And how do we know that other bottlenecks (not necessarily only propulsion related) may not also exist for 09V?
one evidence point: China does not have a strong civil aviation industry but has a leading edge civil shipbuilding industry. The barrier to entry for shipbuilding is not as high as civil aviation but it is still very high - see how even Russia, which has a civil aviation industry, couldn't do much in shipbuilding even in the Soviet days.

in addition, much of the skills in civil shipbuilding translate to naval shipbuilding. less skills in civil aviation translate to tactical aviation since there's factors like maneuverability, acceleration rate, flying with imbalanced loads, etc. that don't matter for civil aviation but matter greatly for tactical aviation.
 

Bltizo

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one evidence point: China does not have a strong civil aviation industry but has a leading edge civil shipbuilding industry. The barrier to entry for shipbuilding is not as high as civil aviation but it is still very high - see how even Russia, which has a civil aviation industry, couldn't do much in shipbuilding even in the Soviet days.

in addition, much of the skills in civil shipbuilding translate to naval shipbuilding. less skills in civil aviation translate to tactical aviation since there's factors like maneuverability, acceleration rate, flying with imbalanced loads, etc. that don't matter for civil aviation but matter greatly for tactical aviation.

The point of contention is not whether a capable civilian shipbuilding industry has a positive influence on the development and production of capable nuclear submarines (of course it has a positive influence).

The question is whether the extent of competitiveness of the 09V compared to other leading global SSN types is something that we can confidently make a statement on at this time, in this case, specifically in regards to whether there we can confidently rule out one or more technological bottlenecks that may or may not be present between 09V and other leading SSN types.
 

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