Chinese navy puts two new nuclear submarines into service

Two upgraded Type 094A nuclear submarines have gone into service in China. Photo: Reuters. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

HONG KONG, Apr 29, 2020, SCMP. Two new upgraded nuclear-powered strategic submarines have gone into service in China in time for the 71st anniversary of the navy, according to Chinese military sources. The vessels are revamped versions of the Type 094, or Jin-class, nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) and will bolster the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s underwater combat strength, two military sources told the South China Morning Post.

“The subs had upgrades to technology such as radar, sonar and torpedoes,” one of the sources said.
China planned to build six Type 094 subs, and four were on show in a parade in Qingdao, Shandong province, in April last year to mark the 70th anniversary of the PLA Navy.

Another source close to the navy said two more Type 094s had probably been handed over to the navy since then.

The Type 096, China’s next generation of SSBN, is under development.

Unlike the Type 095 nuclear attack submarines, the SSBNs are armed with powerful submarine-launched ballistic missiles, allowing them to go into combat alone.

The Type 094 is designed to carry 16 JL-2 ballistic missiles, which have a range of about 7,000km (4,350 miles).

But the Type 096 will be able to carry 24 JL-3s, which have an estimated range of more than 10,000km (6,200 miles), putting the United States, Europe, India and Russia within range, according to the most recent Pentagon report on China’s military.

The Post reported earlier that the PLA Navy had tested the JL-3 missile.

In its “2019 China Military Power Report”, the Pentagon said that construction of the Type 096 would probably begin in the early 2020s.

The navy has taken delivery of a number of new weapons over the last year, including the Shandong, the first Chinese-built aircraft carrier; and the J-15, a mass-produced carrier-based fighter jet.

In addition there have been the Type 055 destroyer, a new strategic nuclear-powered submarine, and a new anti-submarine patrol aircraft, according to the Global Times, a daily tabloid newspaper under party mouthpiece People’s Daily.

The second source said the new anti-submarine patrol aircraft was the Gaoxin-9 maritime anti-submarine warfare plane, which debuted at last year’s military parade on Tiananmen Square to mark the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic.

The Gaoxin-9 anti-sub warfare planes were developed on the platform of the country’s Y-8 and Y-9 cargo planes.

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