China ‘making its nuclear submarines harder to detect’

Type 094 Submarine

China is upgrading its nuclear missile-equipped submarines to make them harder for rival powers such as the US to detect, reports suggest.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy has redesigned its type 094 submarines to make them quieter, The South China Morning Post reports.

Defence experts believe the Chinese 094 submarine can carry and launch the JL-3 ballistic nuclear missile, or ‘Big Wave’ warhead.

It has a range of about 9000km.

Research by French submarine expert Eric Genevelle, and Richard W. Stirn, a former submariner with the US Navy, found that China had made several improvements to the vessels.

Modifications have included technical improvements to the submarine’s hull to make them quieter.

The PLA Navy has also hidden the identification numbers of its 094 subs to confuse observers on how many of the vessels are operating within an area of the ocean.

But despite the improvements, Mr Genevelle and Mr Stirn said the type 094 submarine was probably still too loud to approach the US coast undetected.

The type 094 Chinese submarine is capable of launching ballistic nuclear missiles. (Getty)

A Chinese security expert says the submarine upgrades were not linked to rising tensions with the US and its allies such as Australia.

“Building to commissioning a submarine can take up to eight years, while electronic and many sophisticated components would have advanced by several generations within this period,” Zhou Chenming, from Yuan Wang military science and technology institute in Beijing, told the Post.

China’s President Xi Jinping has made a large and modern navy one of the priorities for the country’s military budget.

State media earlier this year covered his visit to submarine bases as he inspected several vessels.

Last month the Australian Government announced it will acquire nuclear powered submarines as part of the AUKUS defence pact.

Under the agreement, the US and UK will provide Australia with the technology to develop new submarines. They will not carry nuclear weapons, the Federal Government said.

Source: Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements

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