Julang-3 (JL-3) / JL-2C
The Julang-3 (JL-3) is the third generation strategic sea-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). The JL-3 was developed on the basis of the DF-41 ICBM. By some accounts, it would have a range 5,000 km, longer than JL-2 so that the entire United States is within its range. China was expected to add multiple warheads to its new submarine-launched missile, called JL-2C or JL-3. According to one source, it might carry 5 to 7 nuclear warheads with 35kt yield and MIRV delivery, but this seems like mirror-imaging the American Poseidon, which carried a large number of small warheads. Other sources report it will carry three warheads of rather larger yield.
The JL-3 has greater range than its predecessor, the JL-2, surpassing the 8,000 kilometers mark (possibly 10,000+ kilometers). This would allow strikes from Chinese home waters against a wide range of targets in the Continental United States (CONUS). The JL-3 nuclear missile entered service with the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in 2016 along with the Type 094A submarine. The JL-3 may be deployed on the Chinese Navy's larger Type 096 ballistic submarines in the 2020s with these boats carrying 24 missiles each.
Huanqiu.com said according to media reports, a Type 096 submarine launched a JL-3 SLBM from the Yellow Sea and successfully hit its target in Gobi Desert 8,000 kilometers away. On 19 February 2014, based on qianzhan.com report, which said according to Yumiuri Shimbun, a Chinese submarine successfully test launched a JL-3 and hit a target in Xinjiang. There are discrepancies among the three posts based on huanqiu.com and qianzhan.com.
In mid-2016 photos of a new modified Chinese nuclear missile submarine of Project 094 appeared on Chinese websites. The boat is different from previous modifications as it has a more prominent “hump” near the missile location zone; there are some other changes in the contours of the body as well. The Chinese users are calling it 094A submarine. One of the first conclusions made by the Chinese Internet users was that the submarine is equipped with the new ballistic missile Julang-3 (JL-3) which has a greater range than the Julang-2 (JL-2).
According to military expert Vasily Kashin, such assumptions may hold ground due to the fact that China built a major base of nuclear missile submarines on Hainan Island. That is due to the fact that only in the South China Sea, the Chinese navy has a real chance to ensure the safety of its nuclear submarines with ballistic missiles.
However, the JL-2 missiles, which took the Chinese industry a great deal of effort to bring to the stage of being ready for taking into service, has a range of no more than 8,000 km. According to Kashin, these missiles are not able to reach the US from the South China Sea but they can be useful in attacking any of the US’ bases and its US allies across Asia. However, these rockets cannot solve the main problem- the US nuclear deterrent.
Hence, China has been working on new missiles with a longer range but, strictly speaking, there is no reason as yet, to believe that such missiles are ready to enter service. Development of rockets and the design and construction of nuclear missile submarines are sometimes difficult to synchronize. First submarines of project 094 were built a few years earlier than the missiles JL-2 were finished. A similar situation occurred in Russia when missile Bulava appeared much later than the first nuclear-powered submarine of Borey project was constructed.
Talking about what will happen to the already existing submarines equipped with JL-2 missiles; Kashin said that one option is restructuring the existing project 094 submarines by cutting out the missile compartment with JL-2 missiles and putting in the new ones. According to the analyst, such an option is technically possible, but it would be costly. Most likely, JL-2 missile submarines will remain in the ranks and form the basis of regional deterrence forces.
Furthermore, project 094A missile submarine with JL-3 will be a transition type for the development of new weapons systems and probably it would be followed by the construction of a series of new, larger project 096 submarines which will be able to carry around 24 JL-3 type missiles. The fact that in the future it is possible that new submarines will be constantly engaged on Hainan Islands, and will be constantly engaged in combat patrols, may require additional efforts by China to strengthen its control over the South China Sea.
The "Washington Free Beacon" reported on 19 December 2018 that the US Department of Defense informed officials that at the end of November, the Chinese military first tested a JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile. The Washington Beacon reported that the US intelligence agencies closely monitored the test, and the source said that the US had detected the launch using the missile early warning satellite. However, the report said that there were no more details about this flight test. A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment on the matter. Lieutenant Colonel Chris Logan, one of the Pentagon spokespersons. "The Pentagon will not comment on news related to the Chinese missile test."
The report said that the Chinese Rocket Army announced five missile flight tests between November 20 and 23, but did not elaborate on the details of the test. In addition, the “Liaohai Police 0265” issued by the Liaoning Maritime Safety Administration showed that there was a “military exercise” in the sea near Dalian, China from November 16 to 23, and the closed sea area – the Julang-3 missile was in Dalian. Developed. The report said that the missile test is an important milestone in the construction of China's strategic nuclear power.
China used a modified Type 032 test submarine to test the JL-3 missile, which may be the test bed for the JL-3 launch. Julang-3 is the code name of the third generation of submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missiles being developed in China. It has a range of over 12,000 kilometers and can carry single or multiple nuclear warheads. The missile will be in service with the PLA's new generation of nuclear submarines.
The scheduled test was normal, China's Ministry of National Defense said on Thursday, when asked about the alleged test launch of a JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on 02 June 2019. "These tests are not targeted at any country or objective," Defense Ministry spokesperson Ren Guoqiang said at a routine press conference. During the press conference, Ren did not explain what weapon was used in the test, however, if the information provided in the question was wrong and it was not the JL-3, the spokesperson would have denied it, as in many previous cases, military analysts said.
Ren was responding to a question from the Global Times on reports that residents claimed to have seen an unidentified flying object (UFO) on June 2. Just as media and netizens speculated on the true nature of the UFO, relating it to a naval exercise that took place in the Bohai Sea and Bohai Straits at the same time, the People's Liberation Army Rocket Force and Navy hinted on June 3 that the "UFOs" could be missiles launched. Chinese and foreign reports then speculated that the missile could be China's new SLBM, the JL-3.
Military experts told the Global Times that the JL-3 is China's latest SLBM under development that is expected to reach targets farther away with higher accuracy and capable of carrying more warheads than China's current SLBMs. The SLBM might have a range of up to 14,000 kilometers and be equipped with 10 independent guided nuclear warheads, Russia's state TV channel Russia Today reported. China always pursues a defensive national defense policy and active defense military strategy, Ren said, noting that developing weapons and equipment meets the basic needs of safeguarding national security of China.
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