Recently, I saw a good article that Chris Carlson posted on USNI regarding Yuan Submarine. Although I have not attempted to do any GE measurement of Yuan that I had done with 093 class, I find his assessment on the size of the Yuan submarine to be well done. I previously would have estimated the ratio of Yuan’s beam to that of Song at higher than 8.4 to 7.5 based on photos, but he uses a very thorough approach, so I will accept his numbers until anything else comes up.
On the topic of China using Yuan as an anti-ship cruise missile platform, I think he is also on the money here vs the other USNI author. At this point, China has put a lot of investment into different types of torpedoes whereas much less noise have been made about submarine launched anti-ship missiles, so I think their preferred method of attack on surface ships is going to be through blowing a whole underneath rather than hitting something on the midsection. There have not been any sighting of submarine launched anti-ship subsonic missile that’s newer than YJ-82. On top of that, it’s highly unlikely YJ-18 is designed to be launched from torpedo tube. With the specs of Chinese navy’s new CCL VLS system, I think the diameter of YJ-18 is likely to be larger than 53 cm which is the requirement to fit inside the torpedo tube.
And I’m waiting for his article with Andrew Erickson regarding Chinese supersonic ASCMs to come out.