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Type 039C AIP conventional submarine

Construction of conventional submarines appeared to have halted in in 2013. Then at the end of 2016 three more of these Yuan class subs were seen under construction. China apparently resumed construction of Type 039 Yuan-class diesel-electric attack submarines (SSK) after a three year hiatus, IHS Janes Defense Weekly reported on 05 January 2017. Images posted on Chinese online forums showed three Type 039 Yuan-class boats in various stages of completion fitting out at the Wuchang Shipyard in Wuhan, central China. The last of the three subs, built by China State Shipbuilding Industrial Corp (CSIC), was reportedly launched on 12 December 2017.

After the naval review of the ship, close-up high-definition photos of the new domestically-made conventional submarine 039C appeared on the Internet in early 2019. Compared with the previous 039A or 039B, the appearance of the 039C type has been significantly optimized. Among them, the submarine command platform enclosure and the hull are equipped with a rounded and excessive fillet structure, which can reduce the resistance and noise in the underwater submarine state. On the Virginia-class nuclear submarine of the United States, the Type 212 submarine of Germany and the Canglong-class submarine of Japan, the superiority of the enclosure and corner filling has been fully confirmed. In addition, the surface of the 039C's hull is fully equipped with anechoic tiles, and the appearance is extremely smooth and neat, which means that the stealth performance of this type of boat is further enhanced.

The two most critical factors that determine the underwater submarine capability of a submarine are hull shape design and power system. At present, from 039A to 039C, the external optimization of this domestic advanced conventional submarine has reached a relatively ideal level. In other words, if you want to continue to tap the underwater submarine potential of the 039 series platform, it is almost time to make drastic improvements to the power system.

The Lithium battery system for submarines has the advantage of greatly improving underwater navigation time and high-speed start-up time and greatly reducing maintenance items by extending the lifetime more than twice as long as lead acid battery system used in existing submarines. Lithium batteries are small in size and high in energy, and their performance is much superior than existing lead-acid batteries. Specifically, the energy density of lithium batteries is three times that of lead-acid batteries, and the capacity of high-speed navigation can reach twice the latter; the energy of low-speed economic navigation is also about 1.3 times that of the latter. With lithium batteries, the probability of exposure to submarines can be reduced. 2.5 times. Therefore, lithium batteries are considered to be one of the development directions of conventional submarines in the new century.

China had not announced plans to use such batteries on its submarines, but this may be expected in the near future. GS Yuasa, the Kyoto-based developer and manufacturer of battery systems, said in a 21 February 2017 press statement that lithium-ion batteries will be mounted on two Soryu-class boats currently in build for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). The first such boat was commissioned in March 2020. In South Korea, it was announced in late 2018 that the Jang Bogo-III Batch-II submarine will be equipped with a lithium battery system developed through domestic research.

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Page last modified: 24-12-2021 18:52:30 ZULU