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Thu May 2, 2019, 07:43 PM

Special Report: China's furtive underwater nukes test the Pentagon

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Recent visitors to the bay surrounding a submarine base on the southern coast of China's Hainan Island describe a curious nocturnal phenomenon. Powerful spotlights are sometimes trained directly on the ocean frontages of neighboring hotels at night, making visibility out to sea virtually impossible. Some of the lights are mounted on land and others on passing naval patrol boats.

"The effect is incredible," said one recent visitor. "The glare is so great you can hardly stand it on the balcony. You go inside and draw the curtains tight."

The blinding lights cannot obscure something of intense interest to the world's military intelligence agencies: evidence that China has made a breakthrough in its drive to rival America and Russia as a nuclear arms power.

Satellite imagery reveals the regular presence of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines at the strategic base near the resort city of Sanya. Specialized surface warships and aircraft designed to protect the subs are prowling key waterways off the coast. Facilities at the base appear to have been built to store and load ballistic missiles. Antenna arrays that support the hunt for foreign submarines have appeared on Chinese-held islands in the hotly contested South China Sea. And a veteran submariner has been appointed to command Chinese forces in the south of the country.

Taken together, this means China has a force of missile submarines that can launch nuclear attacks from beneath the waves and now appear to be heading out on patrols, according to serving and retired naval officers, diplomats and security analysts. That gives Beijing something it has until recently lacked: a more reliable "second strike" capability if its land-based nuclear arsenal comes under attack.


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Reply Special Report: China's furtive underwater nukes test the Pentagon (Original post)
Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin May 2 OP
soryang May 2 #1

Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Thu May 2, 2019, 09:36 PM

1. PLA Navy SLBMs

There was a report on Channel A News Top Ten podcast on youtube on Jan 10, that focused on Chinese SLBN development after a successful launch of a new SLBM missile JL 3 in late November 2018.

The JL series SLBMs are associated with the respective nuclear submarine classes in the pictures:

(Source- Channel A News Top Ten 1.10.2019)

So the JL-1, 2, and 3 missiles are associated with the 092 (Xia) , 094 (Jin) , and 096 (Tang) submarine classes respectively. 094 Jin class is the operational class with at least 4 believed operational and 8 projected total. 092 Xia was a test bed. The 096 is the expected future series to be constructed in the 2020s. The Tang is anticipated to carry 24 JL-3 missiles with a substantially longer range.

The Diplomat published an article, China Conducts First Test of New JL-3 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile. by Ankit Panda on December 20, 2018:

On November 24, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Navy conducted the first known flight-test of the JL-3 solid-fuel, submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), U.S. government sources with knowledge of the test confirmed to The Diplomat.

he test, which was first reported by the Washington Free Beacon, took place in the Bohai Sea from a modified conventional submarine, the sources said. The Type 096 nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) remains under construction and is expected to begin sea trials in three to four years...

...The test on November 24 did not see the JL-3 fly to its full range. The first flight test likely verified the system’s proper cold ejection from the submarine-based launch tube. The missile’s full range is likely to be in excess of 9,000 kilometers, according to U.S. intelligence estimates.

The JL-3, along with the Type 096, will mark the modernization of China’s sea-based nuclear deterrent, which became operational only recently. Currently, Beijing is known to operate at least four, but possibly as many as six, Type 094 SSBNs armed with the JL-2 SLBM—an SLBM based off the land-based DF-31 solid-fuel intercontinental-range ballistic missile.


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