(MENAFN- Asia Times) China's Type 039C Yuan-class submarine appears to mark a new era in underwater stealth technology, posing significant challenges to traditional detection tools as speculation mounts about a possible submarine-led Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
Naval News reported that the Type 039C Yuan-class submarine features an angled sail design to reduce its active sonar detectability, making it the world's first known submarine with the feature.
Naval News reports that China's mass production capability has made the Yuan-class the most numerous air-independent propulsion (AIP) submarine worldwide.
The use of angled stealth shaping is gaining momentum worldwide, with the upcoming Swedish A-26-class and Germany's Type-212CD-class incorporating similar features, with the latter even encasing the whole submarine in an angled outer hull.
The trend is being driven largely by the mainstream shift from using passive to active sonar, where passive detection is less effective as submarines are increasingly built to be quieter.
Naval News says that active sonar, which involves emitting a sonar signal and measuring the rebounds, is gaining in use while passive sonar, which listens for sounds emitted by a submarine, is proving less effective.
The report notes that the stealth features on the Type 039C Yuan-class are designed to counter medium frequency sonars and complicate enemy classification of the vessel.
China's Type 039C appears to represent the latest evolution of its conventional submarine designs and may already have been deployed in military exercises simulating a Taiwan blockade.
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