Chinese Submarine Stalked U.S. Aircraft Carrier

More on the USS Kitty Hawk incident can be found here:

The uninvited guest: Chinese sub pops up in middle of U.S. Navy exercise, leaving military chiefs red-faced



Attack submarine sailed near USS Reagan south of Japan

A Chinese attack submarine stalked the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan near Japan last month in the closest encounter between a carrier and a People’s Liberation Army Navy submarine since 2006, according to American defense officials.

The Chinese submarine sailed very close to the Reagan during the weekend of Oct. 24, said defense officials familiar with reports of the incident.

The incident occurred as the Reagan sailed from its home port to the Sea of Japan around the southern end of Japan.

Days later, in the Sea of Japan, the Reagan was targeted for a close flyby by two Russian Tu-142 bombers that flew within a mile of the ship at an altitude of 500 feet. U.S. Navy jets were scrambled to escort the bombers away from the carrier group.

Disclosure of the Chinese submarine encounter comes as Adm. Harry Harris is visiting China for the first time as the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific.

Pacific Fleet and Pacific Command spokesmen declined to comment on the submarine encounter but did not deny that the incident occurred.

Additional details of the encounter—such as the type of submarine involved, whether it surfaced or remained submerged, and how close it came to the ship—could not be learned.

The nuclear-powered carrier is a symbol of U.S. power projection capabilities. China’s military has been attempting to drive the U.S. military out of Asia as part of efforts to assume the sole leadership role in the region.

Other defense officials said the Reagan’s recent submarine encounter appeared similar to China’s stalking of the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk in 2006.

During that incident, a Song-class attack submarine surfaced undetected within torpedo range of the Kitty Hawk on Oct. 26, 2006—nearly nine years to the day of the recent Reagan encounter.

The 2006 incident also was disclosed during the visit to China by Adm. Gary Roughead, then-commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

China is known to use its military forces to send political messages and it appears that the Reagan incident also was timed to the expected navigation operation in the South China Sea and to Harris’ visit.

Rick Fisher, a Chinese military affairs analyst, said China’s willingness to use submarines to harass U.S. large warship demonstrates that the Navy needs more submarines for escort missions.

It also highlights the need for additional U.S. attack submarines as Los Angeles-class submarines are retired and are not replaced quickly enough by newer Virginia-class vessels.

Fisher said that he expects China’s attack submarine fleet to begin increasing in size.

“The PLA may build up to 14 of their third-generation Type 095 SSN, which might add up to a total SSN fleet of about 20,” he said, using the military designation for attack submarine.

“Inasmuch as the U.S. may only be able to spare about 30 SSNs for its Pacific-based forces, this could greatly stress the U.S. submarine fleet absent new construction,” he added.

Full article: Chinese Submarine Stalked U.S. Aircraft Carrier (Washington Free Beacon)

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