A new Chinese submarine armed with nuclear ballistic missiles capable of striking the United States will soon be deployed to roam the ocean.
The Jin-class nuclear-powered submarine will be armed with JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missiles that are capable of striking all 50 states as soon as the submarine gets east of Hawaii according to Bloomberg Business. The Chinese have been on a mission to project military strength and prestige in the region, and this new submarine would appear to accomplish both of those goals.
The power projection from China comes at a time when China is attempting to claim ownership over disputed territories in the East China Sea and the South China Sea.
Rep. Randy Forbes, a Virginia Republican and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s sea power panel, said in an email to Bloomberg that the deployment of China’s new submarine “will further shift the Sino-American military balance and impose more demands on our own submarine force.”
The submarine represents a substantial raise in the nuclear deterrent game for China. Having a submarine armed with long range nuclear missiles means China would have a much greater ability to respond to a nuclear attack.
Collin Koh Swee Lean, associate research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, told Bloomberg that, “Of all the PLA strategic deterrence capabilities, the sea-based link is the most closely guarded secret because it is meant to be the most secure of the deterrents for China.”
A U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence report from April indicates that the JL-2 is also a considerable upgrade from the current Chinese submarine missiles. The range of the JL-2 “has nearly three times the range” of the current Chinese submarine missiles, according to the report.