no surprise that US intelligence didn't pick up on it til it was already out to sea. http://www.washtimes.com/national/20040716-123134-8152r.htm China's naval buildup has produced a new type of attack submarine that U.S. intelligence did not know was under construction, according to U.S. defense and intelligence officials. The new boat, which appears to be a combination of indigenous Chinese hardware and Russian weapons, suggests that China is building up its submarine forces in preparation for a conflict over Taiwan, defense analysts say. "China has decided submarines are its first-line warships now, their best shot at beating carriers," said Sid Trevethan, an Alaska-based specialist on the Chinese military. "And China is right." "One has to marvel at the enormity of the investment by the People's Liberation Army in submarines," said Richard Fisher, a specialist on the Chinese military. China also is building two nuclear-powered submarines one Type 093, believed to be based on the Russian Victor-III class and armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles, and a Type 094 attack submarine, which the Pentagon believes has a finished hull and will be ready for deployment next year. According to Mr. Trevethan, China currently has a force of 57 deployed submarines, including one Xia-class nuclear ballistic missile submarine, five Han submarines, four Kilos, seven Songs, 18 Mings and 22 Soviet-designed Romeos. Beijing also has eight more Kilos on order with Russia.