Experts have predicted that China is likely to increase the number of its type 041 conventional submarines to 60 or 70 over the next decade. The Japanese navy also plans to increase the number of its Soryu-class diesel-electric powered submarines from 16 to 22 in response to a perceived threat from China, reports our Chinese-language sister newspaper Want Daily.
Soryu-class diesel-electric powered submarines are the latest model of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force. The vessel has a displacement of 2,000 tonnes and is equipped with an air-independent propulsion system. Japan will purchase another five of the submarine and will get delivery of one per year, increasing the total number of its Soryu-class submarines to ten.
China is preparing to test its latest type-041 diesel-electric submarine in the water recently. The vessel is similar to Germany's new submarine and equipped with an extra sonar system. Its displacement is likely to reach 3,500 tonnes.
US Pacific Command commander Samuel Locklear also said in March that China plans to increase the number of its type 041 conventional submarines to 60 or 70. The country has been building a nuclear-powered submarine that can carry JL-2 ballistic missiles. So far, the main carrier of the missiles has been the type-094 nuclear submarine, which China has four of.
British military magazine Jane's Defense said the Chinese navy has at least four nuclear-powered submarines that can launch ballistic missiles and 53 slightly outdated diesel-electric submarines. US Lieutenant General Michael Flynn said in February that China's ballistic missile nuclear submarines have carried out missions regularly and been spotted in the Indian Ocean.