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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Type 031 GOLF [G-Class]

Initial Chinese efforts to to create a sea-launched nuclear-missile system were planned to use two large Project 629 GOLF missile-armed diesel-electric submarines and seven R-11F liquid-propellant missiles to be transferred from the USSR in the early 1960's. But work on these sea-launched missiles encountered a vaariety of problems and for some reason the missiles were never delivered. The Type 031 is similar (but not identical) to the Soviet “Golf-I” class. Built at Dalian shipyard, it is the only ballistic missile submarine to have license-built outside it’s home country. The boat was launched into service in September 1964, according to Chinese sources. In 1967 American intelligence sources identified a G-class submarine being constructed / assembled at Lu-ta Shipyard and later based at Hsiao-ping Tao Naval Base. It measured 320 feet in length.

Chinese-built to Russian plans, this submarine was originally fitted for three Russian SLBMs. Because the first-generation Chinese SLBMs (JL-1) were larger in diameter than the Soviet missiles, it only has two launch silos in the sail. By the early 1970's China recognized that continuation of the Project 629 effort was pointless. Chinese development of a nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine began with a single GOLF class submarine. This conventionally powered ballistic missile boat was committed as a test platform role in developing a new missile of Chinese design. By 1972 US intelligence had evidence of land based ejection facilities as well as construction of an off-shore tube launcher for underwater ejection tests.

The submarine successfully completed dozens of underwater launch test tasks. In October 1982, the Great Wall 200 submarine successfully conducted an underwater launch for thte first time, so that China became one of the the world's few countries to have and underwater rocket launch capabilities. After the JL-1 trials were complete, the sub was laid up for a while.

However in the 1990s she was again went to sea to test the JL-2 SLBM. During this time only one of the launch tubes was reactivated. The JL-2 program used the Golf-class SSB conventionally powered ballistic missile submarines as its trials platform. The JL-2 was test-fired three times, in 2005, 2006 and 2008.

According to Chinese sources, the first JL-2 ground-launch was successful in June 2003. In January 2004 the JL-2 had another ground-launched flight test success. The two flight tests completed evaluation of the performance of the engine. In June 2005 the JL-2 was fired for the first time by a 031-type (G grade) No. 200 conventionally powered submarines. The surfaced launch of the state missile successfully conducted an assessment of the launch tube. In 2006, a JL-2 launched from the 031-type submarine missile failed. In May 2008 a JL-2 was successfully launched from the 031-type submarine. In early 2009, the JL-2 was successfully launched for the first time by the Type 094 submarine. With the conclusion of JL-2 trials, 200 was again placed in reserve.

Open Source IMINT notes that "the latest imagery from 15 February 2013 still shows the Type 031 active, as suggested by its presence at the weapons handling wharf. Perhaps it is also prudent to note that the Type 031 recently finished a year-long maintenance cycle between 2009 and 2010, as reported by the Chinese press. The absence of the submarine from Xiaopingdao was also confirmed on satellite imagery."

Type 031 Golf Type 031 Golf
Type 031 Golf Type 031 Golf Type 031 Golf Type 031 Golf - 2013
Displacement 2,350 tons surfaced
2,900-2,950 tons submerged
Length 99 meters / 321’5”-324.8 feet
Beam 8.5 meters / 27.8-28’2” feet
Draft 6.5-6.6 meters / 21.3 feet 12’7”
  • Diesel-electric:
  • 3 PRC Type 37D diesels,
  • Type 46SU 224-cell lead-acid battery,
  • 3 electric motors,
  • 3 shafts
  • 6,000 shp
  • Speed 17 kts surfaced, 13-14 kts submerged
    Range 6000NM @ 15kts surfaced
  • MRP-25 (“Snoop Plate”) (I) 25NM surface search Radar (range, bearing)
  • Nakat (“Stop Light-A”) ESM
  • “Quad Loop” RDF
  • Herkules active Sonar
  • MG-200 Artika (“Pike Jaw”) 2NM active Sonar (bearing, range, depth)
  • MG-15 Feniks (“Trout Cheek”) 6NM passive Sonar(bearing, class)
  • Nel-series fathometer
  • Armament 2 JL-2 ballistic missiles
    10 x 21 inch torpedo tubes (6 bow, 4 stern)
    for Yu-1 torpedoes
    (tubes likely deactivated)
    Crew 86-87 (12 officers, 74 enlisted)

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    Page last modified: 19-10-2021 13:37:03 ZULU