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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Type 094 Jin-class Ballistic Missile Submarine

A new design (type 094) had been planned since the late 1980s. Possibly incorporating some Russian technology, the Type 094 was expected to be a dramatic improvement over the sole Xia class SSBN, with improved quieting and sensor systems, and a more reliable propulsion system. Other improvements in sonar, propulsion, training, and the application of quieting techniques will contribute to a significant improvement in the capabilities of China's submarine fleet.

The 2013 Report To Congress Of The U.S.-China Economic And Security Review Commission reported in November 2013 that "China’s Julang-2 (JL–2) submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) is expected to reach initial operational capability by late 2013. The JL–2, when mated with the PLA Navy’s JIN-class nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), will give China its first credible sea-based nuclear deterrent. The JIN SSBN/JL–2 weapon system will have a range of approximately 4,000 nautical miles (nm), allowing the PLA Navy to target the continental United States from China’s littoral waters. China has deployed three JIN SSBNs and probably will field two additional units by 2020. China also is developing its next generation SSBN, the Type 096, which likely will improve the range, mobility, stealth, and lethality of the PLA Navy’s nuclear deterrent."

The 2017 Report to Congress stated that "China’s four operational JIN-class SSBNs represent China’s first credible, sea-based nuclear deterrent. China’s next-generation Type 096 SSBN, will likely begin construction in the early-2020s, and reportedly will be armed with the JL-3, a follow-on SLBM."

Gregory Kulacki wrote in January 2018 that "China does not currently deploy nuclear weapons on submarines or on aircraft.... China’s nuclear modernization program may eventually include plans to deploy a small number of submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and air-launched cruise missiles... China’s ballistic missile submarines have yet to begin conducting patrols. This could be because the submarines are noisy and therefore vulnerable. It could also be because China traditionally keeps its nuclear warheads separate from the missiles that deliver them. This nuclear posture, which is consistent with China’s commitment to a no first-use policy, would be impossible to preserve with nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines on patrol."

Unfortunately, Kulacki is rather imprecise in his usage of terms such as "currently deploy". The implication of his discussion is that the J-2 SLBMs are not loaded on the boats, and that the missiles and reentry vehicles are stored separately. This physical configuration made sense half a century ago, and might make sense in a deeply de-alerted posture, but it is not consistent with a secure strategic reserve. Some considerable time, surely days, would be required to mount the warheads on the missiles, and load the missiles on the boats. Possibly the Chinese have such a de-alareted posture, but by this logic China might be said to have never "deployed" nuclear weapons since it would be claimed that their entire stockpile resides in this status. But this is starting to tread into the realm of arms control counting rules. In the United States, nuclear capable bombers normally do not have their associated weapons mounted on the aircraft. But those weapons are nonetheless attributed as "deployed".

Or it could be that China has deployed an SSBN fleet "with Chinese characteristics". During the Cold War, both the United States and Soviet Union deployed ballistic missile submarines off the others coasts. But as missile ranges grew, deployment patterns diverged. The United States embarked on open ocean patrols, in which the American boomers roamed the world ocean. The Soviet boomers retreated into bastions near Soviet home waters, where they could be protected by the rest of the Soviet Navy. It is easy to imagine that the Chinese have followed this bastion strategy in the South China Sea, and have no interest in American-style open ocean patrols that would convince American analysts that they were genuinely operational by US Navy standards.

The 094-type strategic nuclear submarine has a high speed and low noise performance, making it more free to enter and exit the Pacific Ocean. It is equipped with a 8,000-kilometer giant wave-2 ballistic missile with a core covering the entire Eurasia, Australia and North America. Even if the Julang-2 missile has a single-shot range, it is difficult to make a strategic strike against the whole of North America within the first island chain. Imagine if it launches from the East China Sea. The target of the shore, the submarine needs to go out to the east side of the Philippine sea, that is to say, it takes about 3,500 kilometers from the Sanya base to the east to reach the launching position; if multiple warheads are used, it is necessary to reach the central part of the Pacific Ocean to enter the launching position. The patrol area of ??the Type 094 strategic nuclear submarine should be located in the east of the Japanese archipelago, south of the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia, and west of the Aleutian Islands in the United States. This area is very close to the anti-submarine system deployed by the United States on the second island chain. It was detected and attacked, so it is not excluded that the Chinese Navy will move the patrol area south to the central Pacific. The Type 094 and Julang-2 missiles indicate that the Chinese Navy truly possesses the underwater strategic deterrent capability, but in terms of performance, it may still be only marginally useful.

Type 094 Jin-class Nomenclature

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Acupuncture is one discipline within the comprehensive system of Chinese medicine and healthcare. The origins of Chinese medicine are ascribed to Huang Ti, the Yellow Emperor. Huang Ti, the third of five legendary Chinese emperors, is reported to have ruled between 2696 and 2598 B.C. The Huang Ti Nei Ching or Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine is the oldest known medical text and established the foundation for the theory and practice of all Chinese medicine. Over the centuries, the Nei Ching has undergone numerous revisions and clarifications. One of the most significant occurred during the Western Jin Dynasty (265-318 A.D.), with the publication of the first comprehensive text devoted exclusively to acupuncture and moxibustion1 for the treatment of disease and maintenance of health.

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Page last modified: 08-05-2019 18:13:03 ZULU