Photos of the Chinese navy’s new Type 636 survey ship have been posted by “military fans” on Chinese social media, showing China’s advanced capabilities in building super-quiet anti-submarine warships.

The captions on the photos state that the Chinese navy’s Type 636 survey ship is “brilliant in its silence” thanks to a side slanting propeller, a floating vibration dampening system for its diesel generator, the vibration-reduction design of its major machinery, and a soft connection from the hull to its acoustic monitoring equipment.

Enthusiastic Chinese posters said that the ship is quieter by far than other anti-submarine warships, effectively making it a “black hole in the ocean.”

Yet it remains to be seen if the enthusiasm is of military significance. According to experts the silencing technology used on the new ship has also been used in many destroyers and frigates in service in the Chinese navy, as well as Russian and American vessels.

Given the details of the technology and the rather odd designation of ‘survey ship’, experts believe that the ships are in fact anti-submarine warfare vessels.

Experts believe the new warship is a Type 054 frigate, specifically the Daqing no. 576, with enhanced anti-submarine capability.

The class is already deployed throughout the Chinese Navy but no. 576 likely has an upgraded surveillance package.

The U.S. Navy did not comment on the latest reports and due to deep secrecy around the capabilities of American submarines it is unknown if the new Chinese vessel would pose a direct threat to American vessels.

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