China Launches the Nation's First Nuclear Submarines
Pentagon Report Confirms Update
China has successfully launched its first nuclear-powered guided missile submarines, making it the third country to achieve this capability after the United States and Russia, according to a Pentagon report.
The report, published on October 20, provides the first official confirmation that the modified submarines observed in Chinese shipyards over the past 18 months are Type 093B guided missile submarines.
Satellite images from the Huludao shipyard in northeast China, discovered by Reuters in May 2022, indicated the presence of a new or upgraded class of submarine, potentially equipped with vertical tubes for launching cruise missiles. The Pentagon report further states that the Chinese navy will now possess the ability to conduct long-range precision strikes against land targets from its submarines and surface combatants using land-attack cruise missiles, significantly enhancing its power projection capability.
These nuclear-powered guided missile submarines, known as SSGNs, were originally developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War to target U.S. aircraft carriers. The U.S. Navy later developed its own version by converting ballistic missile boats to carry a large number of land-attack Tomahawk cruise missiles. Unlike ballistic weapons, cruise missiles are long-range, precision weapons that fly at low altitudes or skim the surface of the sea.
China's latest military development raises concerns among experts about its growing naval capabilities and potential threats to the security and interests of other nations. As China continues to modernize its armed forces, it seeks to expand its reach and assert territorial claims in the South China Sea and other important regions. The deployment of nuclear-powered guided missile submarines provides China with a significant advantage in terms of strategic deterrence and offensive capabilities.
The United States and its allies closely monitor China's military advancements, particularly in the maritime domain, as part of efforts to maintain regional stability and safeguard their own interests. The Pentagon report highlights the need for continued vigilance and cooperation among like-minded nations to address the evolving security challenges posed by China's expanding military capabilities.
China's successful launch of its first nuclear-powered guided missile submarines marks a significant milestone in its military modernization efforts. With the ability to conduct long-range precision strikes, China's navy now possesses enhanced power projection capabilities previously limited to the United States and Russia.