One Nato figure said the effect was "as big a shock as the Russians launching Sputnik." American military chiefs have been left dumbstruck by an undetected Chinese submarine popping up at the heart of a recent Pacific exercise and close to the vast U.S.S. Kitty Hawk. By the time it surfaced the 160ft Song Class diesel-electric attack submarine sailed within viable range for launching torpedoes or missiles at the carrier. The incident caused consternation in the U.S. Navy, which had no idea China's fast-growing submarine fleet had reached such a level of sophistication.