Type 093 submarine

Type 093 submarine

The Type 093 (NATO reporting name: "Shang", Chinese designation: 09-III) is a nuclear powered attack submarine class deployed by the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy. These boats are expected to replace the older Type 091 (NATO: "Han" class) SSNs currently in service. The Type 093 will be armed with various torpedoes and anti-ship missiles.

The lead boat in this class was launched in 2002. It is thought to have a seven-blade asymmetric propeller. Construction of the Type 093 submarines is being conducted at the Bohai Shipyard in Huludao. Six to eight boats are expected to be built.


China’s new generation nuclear submarine program can be dated back to the early 1980s, when the PLA Navy issued the requirement for a new nuclear attack submarine (SSN) as the successor to its first-generation Type 091 (NATO codename: Han class) nuclear attack submarine. The submarine development programme, codenamed Type 093, was officially approved by the PLA leaders in July 1983. However, the development programme only made very limited progress in its early stage due to enormous technical difficulties, especially the nuclear reactor and onboard weapon systems.

The original Type 093 design was inferior to existing Western and Soviet nuclear submarines even before its blueprint could be finished. As a result, the submarine design team had to give up the original design to meet the revised requirements from the PLA Navy. Development was suspended until the mid-1990s, when St. Petersburg-based Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering began to assist the Chinese design team in the Type 093 development. Russian involvement in the programme has played an important role in reviving the Type 093 project, which finally commenced construction in the late 1990s. Exactly how much help the Chinese design team received from Rubin Design Bureau is unknown, but could have included assistance in some critical areas such as overall hull design, engine and machinery quieting, combat system design, and weapon system and countermeasures outfit.

The revised Type 093 design was speculated to be heavily influenced by Russian designs with general performance comparable to that of Russian Victor-III class SSNs originally introduced in the late 1970s by the Soviet navy. However, recently released photos have put this theory in doubt as the type 093 does not seem to be influenced by the Victor design. The U.S. Navy intelligence and Pentagon predicted that the PLA Navy would have around 3~4 Type 093 submarines by 2010, other sources suggested that eventual production could reach 6 to 8 units. The exact number to be built may well depend on the results of the ongoing sea trial for the first hull, which has been carried out at the PLA Navy’s Huludao submarine base since 2003.


The Type 093 is estimated to be roughly 7000t displacement when dived. The Type 093 is estimated to be 110m long with a beam of 11m and can dive to a maximum depth of 400m. It is estimated to have a noise level of 110db and have an endurance of 80 days. This submarine is the first to incorporate flank linear array sonars designated as H/SQG-207 in its design, and this linear flank array was designed by the 715th Institute, with deputy chief designer Mr. Li Qihu (李启虎), who was the chief designer of H/SQ-2 262/262A/262B/262C/H-SQG-4 sonars used to upgrade Type 035, 033, both 091 and 092, 035G, and 039 submarines.


The Type 093 is expected to be armed with 6 533mm and/or 650mm torpedo tubes that will launch Russian or indigenous wire-, acoustic, and wake-homing torpedoes as well as anti-ship and land attack cruise missiles. This could include the sub launched version of YJ-83 anti-ship missile. Currently YJ-83 is not believed to be nuclear tipped. Nuclear deterrence missions are delegated to the 092 Xia class and 094 Jin class SSBN.


* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/china/type-93.htm GlobalSecurity.org]
* [http://www.sinodefence.com/navy/sub/type093shang.asp Sinodefence page on the Type 093]
* "China emerges as a maritime power" JANE'S INTELLIGENCE REVIEW - OCTOBER 01, 2004
* [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0JIW/is_1_60/ai_n19155403/pg_10 "China's future nuclear submarine force: insights from Chinese writings" Naval War College Review, winter 2007]

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