World War 3: China’s Submarines Now Outnumber U.S. Fleet

A top U.S. admiral told lawmakers on Wednesday that China’s submarines, both diesel and nuclear powered, outnumber the United States’ undersea fleet, although they are of lesser quality than American boats.

Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, who is deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, spoke before the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee, describing China’s fleet as “fairly amazing submarines,” according to Reuters. Noting three recent Chinese deployments into the Indian Ocean, which lasted up to 95 days, he explained that China was expanding both the length and reach of its submarine deployments.

“We know they are out experimenting and looking at operating and clearly want to be in this world of advanced submarines,” Mulloy said.

Although he warranted that the submarines were of lower quality than those produced by the United States, Mulloy asserted that China’s undersea fleet had now grown larger than America’s. The United States Navy has 71 commissioned submarines in service, according to a spokeswoman, which are constructed by both Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. and General Dynamics Corp.

Though China has been exploring the technology, the U.S. military does not believe that their submarines can yet carry nuclear missiles. When the Pentagon last reported to Congress on China’s military strength, they noted that the country operated a fleet of over 60 submarines, as well as 77 surface combat ships, 55 amphibious ships, and 85 missile-equipped small ships, according to Newsmax.

U.S. defense officials have been increasingly vocal about China’s military buildup in recent months and the extent of its reach. As the Inquisitr previously noted, China began construction last year on a series of outposts in the South China Sea, located on the disputed Spratly Islands. The installations, described by some as island fortresses, are the result of a massive land reclamation program, essentially creating man-made islands on the shallow reef. Western diplomats noted the strategic nature of the outposts, which lie just 220 miles from the Philippines, yet over 660 miles from China’s mainland.

“On many different levels it’s going to be exceptionally difficult to counter China in the South China Sea as this develops,” one noted.

Last year, unknown submarines were spotted near Sweden and also in the English channel. Though the mysterious submarines remain unidentified, widespread suspicion fell upon Russia as the country responsible for their deployment. The country’s defense ministry repeatedly denied any involvement in the incident.

Both Russia and China have shown recent advancements in submarine technology, as the Inquisitr has noted.

[Image via Twitter/ @PhillipCMead]