(MENAFN- Asia Times) China's rapid advancements in submarine technology and detection capabilities are challenging the US's long-established dominance in undersea warfare and posing a threat to its crucial submarine operations in the Pacific.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that recent developments indicate a narrowing gap in submarine capabilities between the two rivals, with significant implications for US military planning including for a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
In one example, a new Chinese nuclear-powered attack submarine was recently observed with a pump-jet propulsion system, a noise-reducing technology previously seen only on the latest US submarines, the WSJ reports says.
Satellite images have also revealed larger hull sections at China's submarine manufacturing base at Huludao, suggesting increased production capabilities.
The WSJ says that China has enhanced its ability to detect enemy submarines, constructing an underwater sensor network known as the“Underwater Great Wall” in strategic regions like the South China Sea and near Guam.
The report suggests that the sonar network, improved patrol aircraft and helicopters equipped to collect sonar information have significantly bolstered China's submarine detection capabilities.
The USS Connecticut submarine is easier for China to detect. Photo: Twitter Screengrab
The US has responded by deploying more naval resources to the Pacific and increasing coordination with allies. However, experts have argued that the US needs new strategies and resources to address China's evolving undersea threat.
In particular, they mention the need for more patrol aircraft and attack submarines to track and potentially target quieter Chinese submarines.
WSJ says the changing undersea dynamics are relevant to a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan. It notes that US submarines would be crucial and potentially decisive in such a scenario, but improved Chinese capabilities could complicate and undermine their operations.
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