China showcases New-Generation Frigate and S26 Submarine

The China Shipbuilding Trading Corporation (CSSC) showcased its next-generation trimaran-hull frigate and the S26 air-independent propulsion (AIP) submarine (SSP) at the 2017 International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX), which is concluding in Abu Dhabi.

The S26 SSP appears to be the AIP-equipped variant of the S20 diesel-electric submarine (SSK), which CSSC has been marketing for export since 2013.

Although the S20 SSK was not offered with AIP by default, a customer could opt for it separately. It was not clear if CSSC was offering an AIP of its own or if the end-user would have to acquire it separately. With the S26, CSSC is offering its Stirling AIP system (IHS Jane’s).

CSSC Timaran Frigate

In comparison to the S20 SSK, the S26 SSP has a heavier displacement (2,660-ton vs. 2,200-ton), is longer (79.5 metres vs. 66 metres) and slower at top speed (18 knots vs. 20 knots). However, CSSC did reveal the S26’s maximum diving depth and surface range at 300 metres and 14,816 km, respectively.

In January, Thailand allocated funds for three S26T SSPs. In 2016, Pakistan confirmed an order of eight SSPs, the first of which is scheduled to arrive in 2022 – these are almost certainly S26s as well. Like the S20, the S26 is equipped with six torpedo tubes, each capable of deploying heavyweight torpedoes and anti-ship missiles (AShM) (such as the 290-km range CM-708UNB).