Nuclear Sub Propaganda

Title: Germany Supplies Israel With Submarines Capable Of Carrying Missiles With Nuclear Warheads
Date: December 1, 2011
Source: Global Research

Abstract: Germany has approved the sale of a sixth Dolphin submarine to Israel and will pay for a third of its cost, government sources told DPA on Wednesday.

Israel already has three German-made Dolphin submarines, which are capable of carrying missiles with nuclear warheads. Berlin paid for two of the submarines and the cost of the third was shared between the two countries. Two more are being constructed.

The government sources said Germany had allocated up to 135 million euros (180 million dollars) in next year's budget to pay for its share of the cost for the sixth submarine, the sale of which is part of a deal finalized in 2005.

The submarines are seen as a strategic asset for Israel in any future confrontation with Iran...Israel is believed to have the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal, a claim it neither confirms nor denies (Global Research, 2011)

Title: Nuclear Submarines Hit By More Than 200 Fires In The Past 25 years
Date: July 8, 2012
Source: Telegraph

Abstract: The incidents included 74 on ballistic missile submarines.

Three of the fires happened while the vessels were in naval bases, one of them on a ballistic missile submarine.

Peter Luff, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, gave the figures in response to a parliamentary question by SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson.

Mr Robertson said the "apparent vulnerability" to fire events on these vessels raises "grave questions" for UK ministers.

He said: "Any one of these fires could have had catastrophic consequences and the frequency of these incidents raises the most serious safety concerns.

 "We are not talking about a one-off incident, but a whole diary of near disasters.

"That so many of these incidents occurred on submarines that may have been nuclear armed is deeply troubling. Reports of a fire on a ballistic missiles submarine, while in port, must be addressed by the MoD - we need to know where this was?

"Beyond the obvious risk to the crew, citizens on shore, and the environment, a significant fire could severely limit the UK's ability to maintain a continuous at-sea deterrent.

It makes a mockery of any UK claims to having a credible 'independent' nuclear deterrent."

He added "Now, more than ever, the time is right to remove nuclear weapons from our waters."

Of the 266 fires, 243 were classed as "small-scale" and categorised as a localised fire, such as a minor electrical fault creating smoke.

There were 20 medium-scale fires that were generally categorised as a localised fire, such as a failure of mechanical equipment creating smoke and flame, requiring the use of "significant onboard resources".

Mr Luff said that information on whether ballistic missile submarines were armed with nuclear weapons when the fires occurred was not available.

There are nuclear submarines based at Faslane on the Clyde but the location of the incidents was not specified.

An MoD spokesman said: "No fire on board any Royal Navy submarine has ever had an impact on nuclear safety or the ability to operate a continuous at-sea deterrent.

"Due to the nature of submarine operations, meticulous records are kept of all incidents involving fire, however small. Most of those recorded were minor electrical faults that were dealt with quickly, safely and effectively.

"The Royal Navy operates a stringent safety regime on board all its submarines and all personnel receive regular and extensive fire safety training" (Telegraph, 2012).

Title: U-550 World War II German Submarine Found Off Massachusetts Coast
July 29, 2012
Red Orbit

Seven decades after it was sunk during a battle in waters off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, a team of divers located a World War II era German u-boat last Monday, various media outlets have reported.

According to Jay Lindsay of the Associated Press (AP), an expedition organized by New Jersey lawyer Joe Mazraani found the U-550 in their second trip to the site.

Using side-scan sonar, the seven man team, several of whom had reportedly spent 20 years trying to track down the missing 252-foot submarine, located it in deep water 70 miles south of Nantucket, sonar operator Garry Kozak told members of the media.

“The U-550 was cruising off the east coast of the United States back on  April 16, 1944, when it torpedoed the gasoline tanker SS Pan Pennsylvania,” TG Daily‘s Trent Nouveau explained. “The Pennsylvania was headed to the UK with 140,000 barrels of gasoline, along with a protective convoy of three ships — the USS Joyce, USS Gandy and USS Peterson.”

“Although the U-boat attempted to evade detection by concealing itself under the sinking freighter, sailors on the USS Joyce managed to identify the German vessel and damage it by dropping depth charges,” he added. “Forced to surface, the U-550 fired its deck guns at the American ships, while the USS Gandy returned fire and rammed the U-boat. The USS Peterson subsequently struck the submarine with two additional depth charges, forcing the German crew to abandon ship — but not before scuttling the U-boat with explosive charges.”

There were 44 casualties and 12 survivors of the conflict, and the u-boat itself sank into the waters stern first, according to Boston Globe Staff Writer Peter Schworm. However, the exact location of the submarine had remained a mystery for almost 70 years before the Mazraani-organized expedition discovered it earlier this week.

Their findings were officially announced on Friday, and while they would not disclose the exact location of the U-550, they told Schworm that it was completely intact and that they planned to return to the unspecified location in order to document their findings. They also said that they planned to contact the families of both the American and German soldiers involved in the battle that led to the U-550′s sinking.

“They’ve looked for it for over 20 years,” Mazraani told the Boston Globe. “It’s another World War II mystery solved” (Red Orbit, 2012).

Title: Undetected Russian Nuclear Sub 'Patrolled Gulf Of Mexico'
Date: August 15, 2012
Source: RT

Abstract: An arch-conservative US website claimed that a Russian nuclear sub has been patrolling the Gulf of Mexico undetected for more than a month. The website laid the alleged blunder by the US Navy at the feet of President Barack Obama.

The Washington Free Beacon website claimed that a Russian Akula-class nuclear sub, loaded with cruise missiles, has been patrolling near the US strategic nuclear submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia, the home base for eight of America’s nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. 

Armed with various types of torpedoes, including those with nuclear warheads, anti-submarine-warfare missiles and long-range (3,000 kilometers) nuclear cruise missiles, Akula-class subs are capable of destroying both nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers.

The Republican-supporting website cited unidentified American officials in alleging that the Russian sub went undetected because President Obama, a Democrat, is preparing to cut the US military budget by $487 billion in the next decade. America’s antisubmarine defense systems were included on Obama’s list of proposed spending cuts.

The report alleges that powerful US hydro-acoustic sensors deployed in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, supported by powerful military satellites, were unable to detect a sub Russia has deployed for the past two decades. 

“It’s a confounding situation arising from a lack of leadership in our dealings with Moscow,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told the Free Beacon. “While the president is touting our supposed ‘reset’ in relations with Russia, Vladimir Putin is actively working against American interests, whether it’s in Syria or here in our own backyard.”

“Sending a nuclear-propelled submarine into the Gulf of Mexico-Caribbean region is another manifestation of President Putin demonstrating that Russia is still a player on the world’s political-military stage,” and that Russia was“showing the flag,” Naval analyst and submarine warfare specialist Norman Polmar said to the Free Beacon.

The Washington Free Beacon exposed blasted the Russian president as an “ex-KGB intelligence officer” who “wants to restore elements of Russia’s Soviet Communist past,” and has adopted a hardline policy towards Russian-US relations.

The last time Russian subs were supposedly detected near US shores was in 2009, when the New York Times reported on two Russian nuclear-powered assault submarines patrolling the Atlantic some 200 miles off the American coast. The Washington Free Beacon article, however, gives the impression that Russian subs have had free reign over the Atlantic throughout Barack Obama’s presidency. 

The Free Beacon slammed the Obama administration for its proposed military budget cuts, which scrapped plans for the construction of 16 new warships through 2017, as well as plans to buy 10 advanced P-8 anti-submarine warfare patrol jets designed to detect submarines.

The Washington Free Beacon gave a detailed account of Russian naval activity in the Caribbean, citing Cuba and Venezuela, as well as the Nerpa Akula-class sub recently sold to India. The report also mentioned future Russian plans to build dozens of submarines and aircraft carriers.

The Free Beacon listed various possible reasons for the Russian nuclear sub’s presence in the Gulf of Mexico, including a pushback against US plans to deploy a missile defense system in Europe, and Russia flexing its naval might in a bid to export Akula subs (RT, 2012).

Title: 'Nuclear Time Bomb:' Downed K-27 Submarine Must Be Lifted Out
Date: September 13, 2012

Abstract: A Soviet K-27 submarine suffered a nuclear accident before being dumped at the bottom of the Kara Sea 30 years ago. Russia may now have to lift the sub from dangerously shallow waters – before an “uncontrolled chain reaction” causes fatal damage.

“Radiation leakages will come sooner or later if we just leave the K-27 there. The sub has already been on the seafloor for 30 years, and it was rusty even before it was sunken. Leakages of radioactivity under water are nearly impossible to clean up,” Thomas Nilsen, a nuclear safety expert who has extensively mapped radioactive waste on the Arctic seabed, told RT.

Equipped with an experimental liquid-coolant nuclear engine, the K-27 was ill-fated from its launch in 1962. It made only three voyages, the last of which, in 1968, ended in tragedy. 

A short way from its base in the Barents Sea, its reactor malfunctioned, and the brave but badly-trained crew made a futile attempt to fix it. Instead of solving the problem, they were exposed to fatal doses of radiation. Nine seamen died, most of them in hospital in agony from radiation sickness several days after the accident. The incident was kept secret by the Soviet government for decades, and the families of the victims received no compensation.

After repeated plans to redesign the sub, Soviet authorities decided it was easier to dispose of it, and towed the vessel to a remote test site in the Kara Sea, near the Arctic Ocean, in 1981.

Although international guidelines say decommissioned vessels should be buried at least 3,000 meters under the sea, the Soviet Navy scuttled it at around 75 meters.

Now, what was once one of the most remote places on Earth has become a hub of commercial activity, with the melting ice caps providing greater opportunities for shipping, and oil companies waiting to drill the seabed below the waves.

Earlier this year, environmental NGO Bellona claimed that the submarine may be reaching critical status, and now a joint Russian-Norwegian expedition is studying the site of the accident. It is expected to publish its findings in the coming weeks.

Big Oil to the Rescue
Experts believe that the sub will eventually have to be removed from its current resting place.

"Russia must take responsibility for their own waste financially,” Bellona’s Igor Koudrik told the Barents Observer newspaper.

But so far, the government has not allocated any funds towards the operation.

Nilsen believes that the operation will be expensive – costing “tens of millions of euro” – and hazardous.

“Our challenge today is to find a way to lift it without shaking the reactors so much that an uncontrolled chain-reaction doesn't start. If that happens, a large amount of radioactivity can leak out to the fragile Arctic marine environment,”Nilsen said.

The increasing presence of energy companies will not necessarily add to the problem, but could provide a solution – if they pay for the lifting of the sub.

Russian giant Rosneft is conducting a seismic study of the Kara Sea, with a view to drilling its rich oil reserves. The potential profits could make the multi-million-euro extraction costs seem a fair price to pay for avoiding a nuclear accident.

Unfortunately, even if the danger of the K-27 is defused, others still lurk at the bottom of the sea.

The Russian government has recently released archives showing that there are 17,000 containers of radioactive waste, 19 ships contaminated ships, and 14 nuclear reactors in the Kara Sea – and most of these objects have been decaying there since the Soviet era (RT, 2012).

Title: Navy Investigators Say Submarine Commander Faked His Death To End Affair
Date: September 19, 2012
Fox News

Abstract:  A Navy officer who was dismissed last month as commander of a Connecticut-based nuclear submarine faked his own death to end an affair he was carrying on with a mistress, investigation documents show.

Navy Cmdr. Michael P. Ward II was relieved of his duties aboard the USS Pittsburgh a week after taking command of the attack submarine.

Investigators found that Ward sent his mistress an email from a fictitious person named Bob in July, posing as a co-worker and saying that Ward had died unexpectedly, according to a report obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg, a spokeswoman for the Pittsburgh's submarine group in Groton, said Ward has received a letter of reprimand for adultery and other military violations.

Details of the affair were first reported by The Day of New London.

Ward, a 43-year-old Buffalo native, is assigned to a submarine group in Groton. He has not responded to requests for comment.

The woman learned that Ward was still alive when she turned up at Ward's former residence in Burke, Va., to offer condolences. The new owner told her that Ward had moved to Connecticut to take command of a submarine.

"She was very surprised," Jon Boyle, the new owner, said in a telephone interview.

Boyle said the woman appeared to be in her 20s and was accompanied by another woman with a child, and they said they had driven 3 1/2 hours from Chesapeake, Va. "She told me they were good friends and they'd known him a while."

Ward, who had been working at the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, met the woman through an online dating service in October and used an alias to communicate with her by email, the investigation report says. The married officer visited her during trips to the Norfolk, Va., area for training and they spent a weekend together in Williamsburg, Va., in November. The woman was not named.

After moving to Connecticut, Ward learned that his mistress was pregnant. In late July, he met with her in Washington to discuss how to handle the pregnancy. Soon afterward the woman lost the baby because of complications, the investigation report says.

Investigators said the relationship ended in late July, but Ward stayed in touch with the woman by phone and email to "manage the particulars of the relationship" even after taking command of the submarine.

The documents don't indicate whether the woman knew Ward was married.

"Commander Ward's dishonesty and deception in developing, maintaining, and attempting to end his inappropriate relationship ... were egregious and are not consistent with our Navy's expectations of a commissioned officer," wrote Navy Capt. Vernon Parks, commander of a submarine development squadron.

The investigation began when a relative of Ward's mistress contacted the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Cragg said.

Ward was found guilty of Uniform Code of Military Justice violations on Sept. 5, including dereliction of duty, unbecoming conduct and adultery, and received the punitive letter of reprimand, Cragg said.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, a Democrat whose eastern Connecticut district includes the submarine base, said it is a sad situation.

"The Navy doesn't kid around with its leadership," he said. "These positions, to command submarines, are very competitive and I think the Navy is right to hold people to the highest standard" (Fox News, 2012).

Title: The German U-Boat Reborn
August 14, 2012
The Diplomat

Although the media has recently focused on the significant reductions to naval budgets in the West, with particular attention being paid to the downsizing of the Royal Navy and the sequestration cuts facing the United States Navy, a number of nations are now seeking to enhance their naval capabilities. For those nations, submarines offer a unique platform to strike enemy targets on land or at sea using conventional or unconventional weapons.  In Asia, there is a even nascent submarine race underway with Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam all announcing planned acquisitions in the face of China's burgeoning fleet of nuclear and diesel-electric boats.  At least two navies are turning to Germany to provide a unique set of undersea capabilities, albeit for very different areas of operation.

Faced with an Iranian nuclear program that shows no sign of slowing down despite American threats, sanctions, and rounds of fruitless negotiations, Israel requires a “second strike” platform to deter Iran from fulfilling its pledge to “wipe Israel off the map.”  It has acquired that capability through its submarine fleet. 

In June, the German daily Der Spiegel reported that the ThyssenKrupp-manufactured Dolphin submarines in the Israeli Navy “are armed with nuclear warheadsAnd Berlin has long been aware of that.”  Der Spiegel states that the Dolphins (similar to the German Navy’s Type 212 boats), carry cruise missiles with a range of 1,500 kilometers that can be launched “using a newly developed hydraulic ejection system”.  The advanced Super-Dolphin variant of the boat is also likely equipped with an air independent propulsion (AIP) system that allows it to stay submerged for 18 days while remaining nearly silent. Thus, they are nearly impossible to detect.

Germany provided Israel with its first two Dolphin submarines in 1991 as compensation for the role its companies had played in developing Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons capacity.  Germany also paid a significant amount of the purchase price for Israel’s third submarine.  Three additional Dolphins are slated to be delivered to Israel by 2017 and Der Spiegel claims that Israel may order three more boats for a total fleet of nine submarines. This fleet, with its ability to stay submerged for weeks in virtual silence, willprovide the bulk of Israel’s second strike capability.

Half a world away, Chinas impressive and unrelenting maritime rise has convinced Australia that the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) requires a fleet of twelve advanced submarines to replace its current aging and unreliable six-boat Collins class fleet.  Given the expansive nature of the sea lanes that Australia seeks to protect, the RAN wants a large submarine with long-range capabilities, and the ability to remain submerged for extensive periods of time, which is provided by an AIP system.  Australia has also stated that it seeks a boat with an offensive cruise missile strike capacity.  Of the non-nuclear, off-the-shelf options available to the RAN, it seems likely that the AIP-equipped Super Dolphin meets such requirements.

One issue that could impede the purchase of the Dolphin is Australia’s insistence that its submarines use American combat systems and weapons.  This is a necessity borne by the increasingly integrated operations of the RAN and United States Navy in the Pacific.  Thus, the Australian variant of the Dolphin would require significant cooperation between German, American and Australian defense contractors in its manufacture.  While such cooperation involving very sensitive submarine technology might have been unlikely several years ago, given the massive defense cuts taking place in Europe and the United States, it is more likely that the countries would find a way to work together today given the Australian program’s big budget. 

For the first half of the 20th Century, the German U-boat was the most feared warship at sea. Even Churchill admitted "[t]he only thing that ever really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril".  Since the scuttling of the U-boat fleet in Operation Deadlight by the Royal Navy at the conclusion of World War II, the world has paid little attention to German submarines.  Now, with the Dolphin on patrol in the Mediterranean, Red Sea and Persian Gulf and possibly coming to the Indian, Pacific and South China Sea in the near future, the U-boat is making a big comeback in the 21st Century.  This time, however, the U-boat’s purpose is to deter aggression and, it sails under the Star of David and, potentially, will be identified as one of “Her Majesty’s” ships (The Diplomat, 2012).

Title: Russian Sub Skirts Coast
November 5, 2012
Free Beacon

A Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine cruised within 200 miles of the East Coast recently in the latest sign Russia is continuing to flex its naval and aerial power against the United States, defense officials said.

The submarine was identified by its NATO designation as a Russian Seirra-2 class submarine believed to be based with Russia’s Northern Fleet. It was the first time that class of Russian submarine had been detected near a U.S. coast, said officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of anti-submarine warfare efforts.

One defense official said the submarine was believed to have been conducting anti-submarine warfare efforts against U.S. ballistic and cruise missile submarines based at Kings Bay, Georgia.

A second official said the submarine did not sail close to Kings Bay and also did not threaten a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group that was conducting exercises in the eastern Atlantic.

Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, north of Jacksonville, Fla., is homeport for two guided missile submarines and six nuclear missile submarines. The submarines are known to be a target of Russian attack submarines.

Meanwhile, the officials also said that a Russian electronic intelligence-gathering vessel was granted safe harbor in the commercial port of Jacksonville, Fla., within listening range of Kings Bay.

The Russian AGI ship, or Auxiliary-General Intelligence, was allowed to stay in the port to avoid the superstorm that battered the U.S. East Coast last week. A Jacksonville Port Authority spokeswoman had no immediate comment on the Russian AGI at the port.

“A Russian AGI and an SSN in the same geographic area as one of the largest U.S. ballistic missile submarine bases—Kings Bay—is reminiscent of Cold War activities of the Soviet navy tracking the movements of our SSBN’s,” said a third U.S. official, referring to the designation for ballistic missile submarines, SSBN.

“While I can’t talk about how we detected it, I can tell you that things worked the way they were supposed to,” the second official said, stating that the Russian submarine “poses no threat whatsoever.”

According to naval analysts, the Russian attack submarine is outfitted with SS-N-21 anti-submarine warfare missiles, as well as SS-N-16 anti-submarine warfare missiles. It also is equipped with torpedoes.

The U.S. Navy deploys a series of underwater sonar sensors set up at strategic locations near the United States that detected the submarine sometime late last month.

The submarine is currently believed to be in international waters several hundred miles from the United States.

The official said the deployment appeared to be part of efforts by the Russian navy to re-establish its blue-water naval power projection capabilities.

Naval analyst Miles Yu, writing in the newsletter Geostrategy Direct, stated that Russia announced in February it is stepping up submarine patrols in strategic waters around the world in a throwback to the Soviet period.

“On June 1 or a bit later we will resume constant patrolling of the world’s oceans by strategic nuclear submarines,” Russian Navy Commander Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky was quoted as saying Feb. 3.

During the Cold War, Moscow’s submarine forces carried out hundreds of submarine patrols annually to maintain its first- and second-strike nuclear capabilities. By 1984, the Soviet Union was declining but its naval forces conducted 230 submarine patrols. Today the number is fewer than 10 patrols.

Richard Fisher, a military analyst with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said Russian submarine patrols in the Atlantic have been reduced but remain “regular.”

“As was their primary mission during the Cold War, Russian SSNs [nuclear attack submarines] would likely be trying to track U.S. nuclear missile submarines deploying from Kings Bay, Ga., and to monitor U.S. naval deployments from Norfolk, Va.,” Fisher said in an email.

While the Sierra-2 is comparable to the U.S. Los Angeles-class attack submarine, Russia is building a new class of attack submarines that are said to be comparable to the latest U.S. Virginia-class submarines, Fisher said.

The submarine deployment followed stepped-up Russian nuclear bomber activity near U.S. borders last summer, including the transit of two Bear-H strategic bombers near the Alaska air defense zone during Russian strategic bomber war games in arctic in late June.

Then on July 4, in an apparent Fourth of July political message, a Russian Bear-H flew the closest to the U.S. West Coast that a Russian strategic bomber had flown since the Cold War when such flights were routine.

In both incidents, U.S. military spokesmen sought to downplay the threat posed by the air incursions, apparently in response to the Obama administration’s conciliatory “reset” policy of seeking closer ties with Moscow.

U.S. and Canadian interceptor jets were scrambled to meet the Russian bombers during the flights last summer.

The officials did not provide the name of the Russian submarine. However, the sole Sierra-2 submarine still deployed with Russia’s Northern Fleet is the nuclear powered attack submarine Pskov that was first deployed in 1993.

Confirmation of the recent Sierra-2 submarine deployment followed a report from U.S. national security officials who said a more advanced and harder-to-detect Russian Akula-class attack submarine had sailed undetected in the Gulf of Mexico in August.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, in response to the report first published in the Free Beacon, stated in a letter to Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) that “based on all of the source information available to us, a Russian submarine did not enter the Gulf of Mexico.”

Navy spokesmen did not say whether an Akula had been detected elsewhere in the Atlantic around that time period.

A Navy spokesman said later that the last time an Akula was confirmed as present near the United States was 2009.

The U.S. is not the only country responding to increased Russian strategic bomber activity.

Norway’s military has detected an increase in Russian strategic bomber flights near its territory, the most recent being the flight of a Bear H bomber on Sept. 11 and 12 that was shadowed by NATO jet fighters.

Norwegian Lt. Col. John Espen Lien told the Free Beacon in an email that the number of Russian bomber flights this year was more than in the past, with 55 bombers detected.

According to Norwegian military data, Russian aircraft flights near Norwegian coasts began increasing in July 2007 and increased from 14 flights in 2006 to 88 in 2007. There were 87 in 2008 and 77 in 2009 and a decline to 37 in 2010 and 48 in 2011.

“Most of these strategic flights are … Tupolev TU-95 Bear [bombers],” he stated. “In 2007 (and partly 2008) we also identified some TU-160 Blackjack. Lately we have also identified some TU-22 Backfire” (Free Beacon, 2012).

Title: China Submarines To Soon Carry Nukes, Draft U.S. Report Says
November 8, 2012

China appears to be within two years of deploying submarine-launched nuclear weapons, adding a new leg to its nuclear arsenal that should lead to arms-reduction talks, a draft report by a congressionally mandated U.S. commission says.

China in the meantime remains "the most threatening" power in cyberspace and presents the largest challenge to U.S. supply chain integrity, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said in a draft of its 2012 report to the U.S. Congress.

China is alone among the original nuclear weapons states to be expanding its nuclear forces, the report said. The others are the United States, Russia, Britain and France.

Beijing is "on the cusp of attaining a credible nuclear triad of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and air-dropped nuclear bombs," the report says.

China has had a largely symbolic ballistic missile submarine capability for decades but is only now set to establish a "near-continuous at-sea strategic deterrent," the draft said.

Chinese President Hu Jintao has made it a priority to modernize the country's navy. China launched its first aircraft carrier, purchased from Ukraine and then refurbished, in September.

"Building strong national defense and powerful armed forces that are commensurate with China's international standing and meet the needs of its security and development interests is a strategic task of China's modernization drive," Hu said in a speech on Thursday at the opening of the Chinese Communist Party's once-every-five-years congress.

To address a wide variety of security threats, "we must make major progress in modernizing national defense and the armed forces," Hu said.

That means China must "complete military mechanization and make major progress in full military IT (information technology) application by 2020," he said.

The deployment of a hard-to-track, submarine-launched leg of China's nuclear arsenal could have significant consequences in East Asia and beyond. It also could add to tensions between the United States and China, the world's two biggest economies.

Any Chinese effort to ensure a retaliatory capability against a U.S. nuclear strike "would necessarily affect Indian and Russian perceptions about the potency of their own deterrent capabilities vis-à-vis China," the report said, for instance.

Arms Control Talks Urged
China is party to many major international pacts and regimes regarding nuclear weapons and materials. But it remains outside of key arms limitation and control conventions, such as the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty signed in April 2010 and the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The United States historically has approached these bilaterally with Russia.

The U.S. Congress should require the U.S. State Department to spell out efforts to integrate China into nuclear arms reduction, limitation, and control discussions and agreements, the draft said.

In addition, Congress should "treat with caution" any proposal to unilaterally reduce operational U.S. nuclear forces without clearer information being made available to the public about China's nuclear stockpile and force posture, it said.

China is estimated by the Arms Control Association, a private nonpartisan group in Washington, to have 240 nuclear warheads. The United States, by contrast, has some 5,113, including tactical, strategic and nondeployed weapons.

China Deploying New Class of Subs
Beijing already has deployed two of as many as five of a new class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine. The JIN-class boat is due to carry the JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile with an estimated range of about 7,400 km (4,600 miles).

The new submarines and the JL-2 missile will give Chinese forces its "first credible sea-based nuclear capability," the U.S. Defense Department said in its own 2012 annual report to Congress on military and security developments involving China.

The JL-2 program has faced repeated delays but may reach an initial operating capability within the next two years, according to the Pentagon report, released in May.

The Pentagon declined to comment directly on China's march toward creating a credible nuclear "triad" involving strategic bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

The final version of the report is to be released next Wednesday by the U.S.-China commission, a 12-member bipartisan group set up in 2000 to report to U.S. lawmakers on security implications of U.S.-China trade.

The draft, in its section on cyber-related issues, called on the Congress to develop a sanctions regime to penalize specific companies found to engage in, or otherwise benefit from, industrial espionage.

Congress should define industrial espionage as an illegal subsidy subject to countervailing duties, it added.

Lawmakers also should craft legislation to boost the security of critical supply chains, "particularly in the context of U.S. government and military procurement," the draft said (Reuters, 2012).