From the June 2011 issue of FORCE magazine, an Indian National Security and Defense magazine, comes this remarkable article.
Pakistan’s efforts to have a sea-based minimum credible nuclear deterrent vis-a-vis India took a significant step forward last month when the state-owned, Wuhan-based China State Shipbuilding Industrial Corp (CSIC) ferried the first Qing-class conventional attack submarine (SSK) to Shanghai to begin a year-long series of sea trials, which is likely to include the test-firing of three CJ-10K submarine-launched, 1,500km-range land attack cruise missiles (LACM) capable of being armed with unitary tactical nuclear warheads. Called the Qing-class SSK, it is a variant of the Type 041A Improved Yuan-class SSK, which is also due to begin its sea trials later this month.For those who got lost in the trade speak, basically China is exporting submarines specifically designed to deliver nuclear weapons. The submarines will be armed with cruise missiles designed, built, and delivered by China to Pakistan intended to launch Pakistan nuclear warheads.
It is now believed that the contract inked between CSIC and Pakistan early last April (see FORCE April 2011, pages 16-17) calls for the CSIC’s Wuhan-based Wuchang Shipyard to supply six Qing-class SSKs, all of which will be equipped with a Stirling-cycle AIP system and will be able to carry up to three nuclear warhead-carrying CJ-10K LACMs each. The double-hulled Qing-class SSK, with a submerged displacement close to 3,600 tonnes, bears a close resemblance to the Russian Type 636M SSK, and features hull-retractable foreplanes and hydrodynamically streamlined sail. The first such SSK was launched in Wuhan on September 9 last year, and a total of three such SSKs are on order from China’s PLA Navy as well. The AIP system for the Qing-class SSK was developed by the 711th Research Institute of CSIC. R&D work began in June 1996, with a 100-strong team of scientists and engineers led by Dr Jin Donghan being involved in developing the Stirling-cycle engine, while another team led Professor Ma Weiming of China’s Naval Engineering University began developing the all-electric AIP system. The two projects entered the production engineering stage in 2007, with the Shanghai Qiyao Propulsion Technology Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the 711th Institute, becoming the principal industrial entity charged with producing the AIP system. Incidentally, the Qing-class SSK’s all-electric propulsion system is a derivative of a similar system that was developed about a decade ago for the PLA Navy’s six Type 093 Shang-class SSGNs and three Type 094 Jin-class SSBNs.
The most troubling part of this article is that it is very probably accurate. The article is worth reading in full, as it also claims China is giving the Pakistan Navy two Jiangkai I-class Type 054 frigates.