A Lada-class submarine designed by the Russian Rubin Design Bureau. (Internet Photo)
Sources from Russia's Rubin Design Bureau based in St Petersburg said that the Lada-class mini submarines sold to the People's Liberation Army Navy will be equipped with Chinese power and electronic fire-control systems, reports the Kanwa Defense Review operated by Andrei Chang or Pinkov (Andrei Chang), a military analyst in Canada.
The purchase was confirmed in a report by the US-based Strategy Page, but it is said that the four Lada class diesel-electric submarines will be modified specifically for China. Based on the PLA Navy's requests, the air independent propulsion system based on oxygen-hydrogen fuel cells — which allows the submarine to extend its underwater endurance to more than 15 days — will be removed.
Because the Lada-class submarine will not be used by the PLA Navy for ocean-going combat, the oxygen-hydrogen fuel cell is no longer necessary. The PLA Navy will instead power the submarine's air independent propulsion system with Chinese Stirling engines. The country's Type 041 Yuan-class submarines and Type 032 Qing-class submarines are also equipped with the Stirling engine, the source said.
The four Lada-class submarines will also be equipped with advanced electronic systems developed in China and the fire-control system will also be modified to launch Chinese anti-air and anti-ship missiles.