Does Demise of Chinese Submarine Give Hope to Russian Shipwrights?

China's losses in sea campaigns will increase if the submarine fleet is not renewed
In the very near future, Beijing may consider placing an of order for modern Russian diesel electric submarines. This information was provided by the famous Russian submariner, retired Rear Admiral Georgy Kostev. He commented upon the loss of a Chinese submarine in the Yellow Sea: "If the diesel submarine fleet of the Chinese Navy is not renewed at a faster rate, China's losses in sea and ocean campaigns will be increase."

It is said Beijing loses one submarine every year. With the exception of Russian submarines and torpedo-boat destroyers purchased by China, vessels in the Chinese Navy are outdated. They seriously lag behind present-day technological standards.

Interestingly, this is the first time that information about the loss of a submarine has been openly published in China. Numerous Internet media sites say Chinese authorities explained the reason for the disaster by blaming some failures onboard the vessel. The ill-fated No. 361 submarine belonged to the Ming (“People”) class. It is a Chinese version of  Soviet submarines from the 1950s. Armed with 20 torpedoes, the submarine can go 300 kilometers under water. No more exact information about the accident with the submarine could be obtained. There is still much mystery about it.

How long did the dead bodies of Chinese submariners remain in the open sea? The authorities gave information on the tragedy only on May 2. Foreign experts think that the accident happened about a month ago, during military exercises held near the entry to China's strategic inner sea, the Bohai Sea. If this is actually so, the scenario of the catastrophe can be reconstructed. The area is in shallow waters; when the submarine No.361 struck the reef, the crew lost control over the submarine. However, it is not yet clear why the whole the crew died.

It is ruled out that the submarine caught on fire. The submarine was afloat, and some of the crew could have been saved. It looks like all the submariners perished at once. It is suggested that the crew died because of poisoning as a result of the commander's order to bolt the bars - it is said that poisonous gas accumulated because of broken electric batteries or leakage of torpedo fuel.

It is not clear why the submarine was overcrowded as a city bus in rush hour. There were 70 men on board the submarine instead of the 57 that are stipulated by the regulations.

Rear Admiral Kostev says that Chinese leadership actually cares about the armed forces, especially the Navy. "Because of this, I suppose that Beijing may soon consider possible placement of an order in Russia for modern Project 877 submarines and their variant, the Project 636."

Rear Admiral Kostev and other experts say that, as the partnership between Russia and China is of a strategic nature, Moscow may give Beijing access to better high-technology armament systems than those produced in China now. These may be Project Amur-1650 and Project Amur-950 submarines equipped with the latest technologies of the 21st century.

Photo: this is how the lost Chinese submarine looked

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Author`s name Olga Savka