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Satellite images spark speculation about China’s new submarine

Pictures show China is building a nuclear submarine larger than the Type 093 in service, fueling speculation about a new generation of submarines with a vertical launch system.

Satellite imaging firm Planet spotted a ship on a floating dock at the shipyard in the port of Huludao in the northeastern province of Liaoning. China, from the end of April to the beginning of this month. The information was posted on the Twitter account of AllSource Analysis, an image intelligence company based in Colorado, USA.

The photo shows that this new ship is a submarine nuclear-powered attack (SSN), which features a larger, longer hull and shielded propulsion at the stern, further adding to the mystery.

Satellite images spark speculation about China's new submarine - Photo 1

Analysis of satellite images shows that China is building a new submarine

AllSource Analysis

Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie said the image shows the submarine is larger than a submarine Type 093 (also SSN) in service, but still smaller than the SSBN nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine) Type 094 11,000 tons, according to South China Morning Post.

The Type 093 ship can launch China’s YJ-18 anti-ship cruise missile, while the upgraded Type 094A version is equipped with a JL-3 vertical launch ballistic missile with a range of more than 10,000 km, which can reach to the American mainland.

The Pentagon report, released in November 2021, said the US had expected China to build an upgraded version of the Type 093, or Type 093B, by the mid-2020s. The aim was to increase capacity. naval combat force, as well as providing a covert ground attack option, by arming a surface-attack cruise missile (LACM) on a Type 093 or a variant.

Li said China has developed several upgraded versions of the Type 093 in the past two decades, and possibly larger hulls designed for the vertical launch system (VLS).

However, researcher Zhou Chenming of the research and consulting organization policy Yuan Wang of Beijing, argues that if China is going to build a new type of nuclear submarine, it must have the same power as the US Seawolf class submarine with a displacement of more than 10,000 tons. Meanwhile, the image shows that this new ship appears to be smaller than that.

“My personal view is that the newer and larger submarine in Ho Lo Dao could serve as a testbed for testing the country’s next-generation nuclear reactors designed for powered ships. future nuclear power, including submarines and aircraft carriers,” Zhou said.

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