The Chinese Submarine Story: Kitty Hawk UPDATE
UPDATES after this date: NOV. 25, 2007 may be found here.
Bill Gertz of The Washington Times reported Navy admits failure to detect Chinese sub.
The opening sentence, citing unnamed Navy officials said, "Navy officials confirmed yesterday that an aircraft carrier battle group failed to detect a Chinese submarine that surfaced within weapons range of the USS Kitty Hawk."
If that sentence were true, Kitty Hawk's admiral would have to be the most incompetent boob in the U.S. Pacific Fleet, wouldn't he? So, is he going to be fired? Of course not. The "failed to detect" statement is bunkum.
But, the most misleading information in the story was that these same officals said it was unusual for the submarine to be operating in deep ocean waters. Shall we be very surprised then, when a Song submarine makes a port visit to Cuba, Venezuela, or Mexico in a year or two?
Really? That's patently strange considering the U.S. had diesel submarines of WWI vintage (e.g. Bonita) operating (however poorly) in the Pacific back in WWII. Just who, besides perhaps modern journalists, are supposed to accept that our Chinese trading partners can't match later, WWII deep water diesel submarining with more modern craft of today?
Consider also, that [I]n January 2003 a PLAN Ming-class diesel submarine was detected inside Japan’s waters off the southern tip of the southernmost home island, Kyushu. It apparently was collecting electronic intelligence and other oceanographic data. ... Also in 2004, the United States tracked Han-class nuclear attack submarine (SSN) 405 for weeks from China out into open Pacific waters where it circled around Guam, which is the primary forward staging base for the U.S. Navy in the Western Pacific. source The carrier Kitty Hawk herself had "squared off in international waters off China's coast" Oct. 27-29, 1994, the Los Angeles Times had reported in 1994. source And, besides China, their are several other submarine navies the Kitty Hawk task force would have been on the alert for in the recent exercise.
So, what is the denial all about? Not this statement in Gertz's report: The submarine encounter also took U.S. intelligence agencies by surprise because of years of analyses that continue to portray a benign China, said a defense official. More bunkum! What could be going on here?
First, the obvious: details about U.S. submarine operations and anti-submarine capabilities are highly classified.
Telling journalists that the Chinese had been detected would be telling too much, that is, that they had been expected and were being electronically monitored for future reference. But, perhaps China's sub had been helped into the provocative act of surfacing amidst a U.S. task force. Neither China nor the U.S. would be anxious to admit that, would they?
The security stakes are greater than just Taiwan (as Mexico, Cuba and Venezuela hinted above). The U.S. may have just shown China how sternly the deadly, Cold War game of submarine cat and mouse can be played while maintaining a sober, diplomatic face.