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Type-093A Shang-class

The nomenclature and taxonomy of the various units of this class is a pretty serious jumble. By 2018 there was clear photographic evidence of at least three different boat designs in the water. But the US Defense Department was quite adamant that there were only two designated variants of this class. And there was general agreement about a Vertical Launch System [VLS] Land-Attack Cruise Missile [LACM] variant, but complete disagreement as to whether such boats were already in the water [Chinese internet sources and some Western observers], or a thing of the future [DOD and other Western observers].

The 2013 report on China's military by the US Department of Defense reported "Two SHANG-class SSNs (Type 093) are already in service, and China is building four improved variants of the SHANG-class SSN, which will replace the aging HAN-class SSNs (Type 091). In the next decade, China will likely construct the Type 095 guided-missile attack submarine (SSGN)..." Most other sources agree, but Combat Fleets reports a third unit in service as early as 2009. The implication is that the class would halt construction at six units in favor of the Type 095.

The 2013 Report To Congress Of The U.S.-China Economic And Security Review Commission reported in November 2013 that "In 2012, China began building four improved variants of its SHANG-class nuclear attack submarine (SSN)."

Some Western media described the improved boat as 093A, which is consistent with naming in the Chinese navy. But in general the Western media attention to this submarine is not high, and not much was reported. In 2015, Taiwan's "global defense" magazine published a new satellite images of mainland Chinese nuclear submarines, when the submarine is considered to be "093 second-generation improved," and "can be called 093G2". Its external features with the new nuclear submarines photos published quite similar.

The 2013 report on China's military by the US Department of Defense reported "By the mid-2020s, China likely will build the Type 093B guided-missile nuclear attack submarine. This new SHANG-class variant would enhance the PLANs anti-surface warfare capability and could also provide a more clandestine land-attack option."

Type 093B / Type 093A-mod

093B submarineThe external characteristics of the previously announced new domestic nuclear submarines are significantly different. The most obvious improvement is the hump or protuberance aft of the sail, which some analysts believe would possibly used to hold anti-ship on the vertical launcher land combat missiles. The second difference is that there are many side hull strip projection, according to the judgment protrusions may be used broadsides sonar array, indicating that the new submarine sonar was improved, increasing the types of sonar, and improve the detection accuracy distance.

In addition, the flood holes along the boat body has been significantly reduced. This change will help to reduce fluid noise. The control tower and the hull at the front use a transition similar to the latest US "Virginia" class nuclear-powered submarines, more conducive to noise reduction in resistance. Bow torpedo tubes 093 with the same layout, a total of six torpedo tubes torpedo launch capabilities substantially retained. The torpedo tubes concentrated on the front of the bow divert sonar space. Experts believe that, on the whole, 093B is a both anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship and can implement to combat multi-purpose nuclear submarines. It will be updated submarine, which is called the Western model transition 095 submarines in service before the basic performance should be higher than "Los Angeles" class.

Christopher P. Carlson's really outstanding 13 April 2018 Type 093B Assessment notes that "There are few good imagery shots of the Type 093B protuberance, but analysis of those images shows the hump projects 11.5 meters aft of the sail and appears to be not very wide. The full length of the hump is about 18 meters. The overall shape of the structure appears to be quite curved, with a small deck area just aft of the sail that could be flat.... u Two Type 093B submarines participated in the April 2018 Naval Review for President Xi. Photos from that event provide a much clearer view of the humps shape and size. The hump appears to have a short flat deck aft of the sail that is about 5.0 - 5.5 meters in length (red arrow). The rest of the structure is a shallow sloped section that fairs in with the the outer hull. The humps height is very short." Carlson argues that "As the Type 093 SSN was initially designed without a towed array, there is insufficient space between the two hulls to accommodate the gear needed to deploy, retrieve and store a towed array the hump provides the needed space. ... The addition of a towed array to the Type 093B is a significant improvement to the submarines sensor suite, providing a very low frequency narrowband search capability that has been lacking in previous Chinese SSNs." Carlson also notes that " an examination of the April naval review photos with slight enhancements, lightened and blown up, shows no evidence of any missile tube hatches on either Type 093B submarines even though the slots in the superstructure (limber holes) are visible." Carlson further observes that "Every claim made by an authoritative Chinese source consistently has the submarine VLS tubes positioned forward of the sail. The Type 032 model, and placard, as well as the 7,000 ton SSN diagram shown in RADM Zhaos lecture have VLS tubes forward...." Carlson's most telling observation is that "There is no difference in the length of the Type 093 variants. A review of hand held and satellite imagery shows all three variants have a light ship, waterline length of 102 103 meters. Beam width is harder to measure consistently, but the images that supported a good measurement indicated all Type 093 submarines have a beam of 11.0 meters.... Without a significant addition in hull length, there is insufficient volume in the pressure hull for a set of multi-deck missile tubes as described in Chinese technical literature.... The very narrow deck width would also not allow multiple rows of launchers..."



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