In March 1984, Kitty Hawk participated in "Team Spirit" exercises in the Sea of Japan. The Soviet Victor-class nuclear attack submarine K-314 shadowed the task group. On 21 March 1984, at the end of the Sea of Japan part of the exercise, K-314 surfaced directly in front of Kitty Hawk, far too close for "Kitty Hawk" to avoid the resulting collision, with minor damage to the aircraft carrier, and significant damage to the Soviet submarine.
The collision occurred despite the Incidents at Sea agreement that SECNAV John Warner and Admiral Sergei Gorshkov had signed in 1972. This agreement, designed to uphold the United States’ long cherished belief in freedom of the seas and prevent dangerous and hostile collisions at sea, was ignored in this instance. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral James Watkins reflected, “The reason behind the Soviet submarine captain’s slip in judgment is the only mystery here. He showed uncharacteristically poor seamanship in not staying clear of Kitty Hawk. That should cause concern in Moscow.”
So, your dates are wrong and second, if the carrier was at speed, sonar would have done no good anyway in that situation. If I am not mistaken, the escorts knew the sub was out there during the entire exercise. During the exercise it had been tracked and “killed” more than fifteen times after it was spotted on the surface fifty miles in front of the battle group. The incident was akin to some idiot on the freeway cutting off a semi-truck. Like the truck, a carrier can't stop or turn on a dime.
As to the Chinese incident, just good submarine operations on the part of the Chinese. Do you know what a thermocline is? Subs use a technique to hide in different thermal layers in the ocean to avoid detection by sonar. If you don't have sonar operators at the very top of their game, any good sub operator can do this.
Edit: Yes, I copied the portion with the date because I too remember the incident and wanted to be clear. However, I knew it wasn't in '85 because I participated in Team Spirit then and was in Okinawa so I knew it wasn't in '85. I was just checking to see what actually happened to cause the collision. Since neither of us have access to the actual Navy findings (as far as I know), it is only an assumption that it was not detected before the collision. You were asleep and as you say, it was a long time ago. Again, if you were at speed (20 knots plus) and the sub was in a different thermal layer, sonar wouldn't have helped or seen it in time for the Kitty Hawk to avoid it. BTW, I believe the Chinese sub incident occurred in 2007...right after I retired; not 1997. I had just left Okinawa for the last time....thought it was comical as stuff like that was why I was retiring. My commander's name was Col Carver. in 1985.
I work with many submariners. I currently supervise a former hull tech as well.