China now has a larger submarine fleet than that United States, U.S. Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy told lawmakers on Wednesday.
Testifying before a congressional committee on Wednesday, Vice Admiral Mulloy, the deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, told the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee that China is building “some fairly amazing submarines” and their fleet is “growing at a tremendous rate”, and they are carrying out more deployments and broadening their area of operations as part of a rapid military buildup.
“They may not be the same quality, but their submarine forces are growing at a tremendous rate. They now have more diesel and nuclear attack submarines than we have,” the Vice Admiral told lawmakers, according to RT. “They are producing some fairly amazing submarines and they are actually deploying them.”
China is also expanding the geographic areas of operation for its submarines and their length of deployment, Mulloy told the committee.
For example, China has carried out three deployments in the Indian Ocean and they have kept vessels out at sea for 95 days, Mulloy said.
“We don’t think they have nuclear weapons on board, but we’ve seen them producing the missiles and testing them,” the Vice Admiral said, according to RT. “We know they are out experimenting and looking at operating and clearly want to be in this world of advanced submarines.”
U.S. military officials are in the middle of a “major push” to stay ahead of rapid advances by China and Russia, according to Reuters.
A U.S. Navy spokesperson told Reuters that the U.S. Navy has 71 commissioned submarines.
Reuters said that according to Pentagon’s last estimates, China has 77 principal surface combatant ships, over 60 submarines, 55 large and medium amphibious ships, and around 85 missile-equipped small combatants.