Recently, when a Chinese submarine popped up undetected in the middle of a Pacific Ocean exercise, dangerously close to the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk, American military chiefs were left dumbfounded and red-faced, according to UK newspaper, Daily Mail.
When the Navy deploys a battle fleet on exercises, they take the security of the aircraft carriers very seriously. At least a dozen warships are used to provide a physical guard, and using advanced technology they are able to detect and deter any potential intruders.
By the time the Chinese sub surfaced, the 160ft Song Class diesel-electric attack submarine sailed within viable range for launching torpedoes or missles at the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk, a 1,000ft. supercarrier with 4,500 military personnel onboard.
According to senior Nato officials, the incident caused a sense of sudden fear in the U.S. Navy, as officials realized the seriousness of the encounter. The U.S. apparently had no idea just how sophisticated China’s fast-growing submarine fleet had become, or that they even posed such a threat.
Reportedly, one Nato figure said that the effect was “as big a shock as the Russians launching Sputnik”. The Sputnik, if you remember, was the Soviet Union’s first orbiting satellite launched in 1957 which marked the beginning of the space age and kicked off the space race.
The U.S. Navy’s brush with the Chinese Navy’s submarine occurred in the Pacific Ocean between southern Japan and Taiwan. The one sub was able to slip past at least a dozen other U.S. warships that were in place to ward off any hostile aircraft or submarines. Two submarines were also in place, along with other advanced technology, which also failed to detect the intruding watercraft.
The U.S. Navy and Nato are now forced to re-think their strategy, and reconsider the level of threat posed from potentially hostile Chinese submarines.
While China insists that the incident was a simple coincidence, others are not so sure about that. The run-in led to some intense diplomatic exchanges, with rattled American diplomats demanding to know why Chinese subs were shadowing the U.S. fleet.
Analysts believe that China was sending a message to the United States and the West by demonstrating their rapidly growing military capability to threaten foreign powers that might try to interfere in their own “backyard.”
As a citizen of the United States, it may leave you wondering if we are really as safe as we think we are.