Type 003 / 6603 - Whiskey-class submarine
In 1953 China began to assemble medium-sized conventional-powered submarines transferred by the USSR at Jiangnan and Wuchang shipyards. The first submarine was built in April 1955 in Jiangnan shipyard, she was launched in March 1956 and completed in October 1957. By 1957, the year that culminated a "golden age" of relatively rational governance and steady development under the Communists, the Chinese had established a strong foundation for their submarine force.
The first boat was started in Jiangnan Shipyard in April 1955, March 26, 1956. It was launched in October 1957 and named "New China 15", port number "115", the first captain Li Guoan. On the morning of January 10, 1956, before the launch, Mao Zedong went to the Jiangnan factory to inspect the boat. On the same day 13 years later, the Chinese Communist Party awarded the ship the honorary port number "56-110" (see photo). The second participating Wuchang shipyard started construction of its first boat in 1956, launched in July 1958, and entered service in December of the same year.
However, this period was followed by the gravely-destructive Great Leap Forward (GLF) in 1958. The fiscal chaos that resulted from numerous irrational economic methods - ranging from community dining rooms to back-yard steel furnaces - quickly led to a famine that killed millions of Chinese during 1960-61.
During the "three lean years" that followed, the government diverted resources away from the military in order to stave off total economic collapse. Naturally, the production of naval vessels, including the W-class submarines, was slowed considerably. Ship-building was also hindered by the sudden evacuation of all Soviet advisors in 1960 as the Sino-Soviet rift widened. Reportedly, operational readiness also suffered after the Soviet advisors pulled out, and there may have been an increase in submarine accidents.
Through the production by licensing of this ship, the progress of shipbuilding technology was promoted, the production line was built up, the technical cadres and workers were trained, and management experience was accumulated, thereby marking the beginning of series production of submarines in China. The Chinese Navy once owned 21 Type 03 diesel-electric submarines. This type of submarine is based on the "June 4th" agreement signed between the Communist Party of China and the Soviet Union in 1953, and the Soviet Union provided the design of its 6603 ("W") conventional torpedo submarine for a fee. The drawings and materials were delivered to the CCP for assembly and construction. This class of submarine is a fully welded steel shell, with a standard displacement of 1,050 tons, a surface displacement of 1,300 tons, and an underwater 1,600 tons; a length of 254 feet, a width of 24 feet, and a draught of 14 feet. Surface navigation uses a diesel engine with 4,000 horsepower and a speed of 16 to 17 knots; underwater submersible uses battery power of 2,500 horsepower and a speed of 13 to 16 knots; a range of 13,000 to 16,500 nautical miles. Equipped with two 57 mm guns, two 25 mm anti-aircraft gun, with eight 21-inch torpedo tubes (front six and two rear), 20 torpedoes can be fired; 40 mines can be carried. The crew is 54 people. This class of submarine has a displacement of 1,000 tons, a fully welded steel shell, diesel-electric propulsion, and an underwater breathing tube. It is armed with a six-door torpedo launch tube. The first boat was started in Jiangnan Shipyard in April 1955, March 26, 1956 It was launched in October 1957 and named "New China 15", port number "115", the first captain Li Guoan. On the morning of January 10, 1956, before the launch, Mao Zedong went to the Jiangnan factory to inspect the boat. On the same day 13 years later, the Chinese Communist Party awarded the ship the honorary port number "56-110". The second participating Wuchang shipyard started construction of its first boat in 1956, launched in July 1958, and became an army in December of the same year. A "130" boat sank suddenly when entering the factory for renovation on November 2, 1966. Seven crew members were trapped in the cabin, and after a 10-hour rescue, all personnel were rescued and the boat was lifted up. This class of boat has now been completely decommissioned.
While the Chinese Navy had had more than 110 submarines in service in the mid-1980s, the total number of submarines believed to be in serviceable condition went down from 63 in 1990 to 48 in 1995. The PLAN has retired all of its Whiskey class submarines, built using Soviet designs that were based on the German Type-21 U- boat of 1944.
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