The single-hull submarine is much more suitable for the combat
environment China faces today than the double-hull submarines currently
used by the PLA Navy, said Ma Ling, an expert in submarine development.
|PLA Navy Type 094 double-hull Submarine|
The double-hull submarine’s numerous ballast chambers make it harder
to sink than its single-hulled cousin. In addition, the double-hull can
endure more torpedo strikes, according to Ma. China has moved in this
direction when making purchases or constructing to ensure the survival
of its submarine fleet. The double-hull however, may not end up giving
PLA Navy any measurable advantage when operating in the Far East.
As Ma said, the Yellow and East China Seas are both too shallow for
larger double-hull submarines to hide from enemy attack. Also, the
ballast chambers leave no space to install noise reduction equipment,
making them far easier to detect. They are only suitable for operation
in some parts of the First Island Chain, extending from Alaska to the
The PLA Navy should consider introducing or building more single-hull
variants, said Ma. It is a reform that China must take because
double-hull submarines can no longer stand up to anti-submarine warfare
launched by the US Navy and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force together
with aircraft, warships, submarines and sonar networks. Ma said the
reform will be difficult for the PLA Navy, but cannot be avoided.