China for the first time will likely have subs equipped with long-range nuclear missiles later this year, part of an increasingly potent submarine fleet, a top US officer said Tuesday,
The head of US Pacific Command, Admiral Samuel Locklear, said the latest class of Chinese subs would be armed with a new ballistic missile with an estimated range of 4,000 nautical miles (7,500 kilometers).
“This will give China its first credible sea-based nuclear deterrent, probably before the end of 2014,” Locklear told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Locklear was referring to the production of China’s JIN-class nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine and the new JL-2 missile on board the vessel.
“China’s advance in submarine capabilities is significant. They possess a large and increasingly capable submarine force,” the admiral said.
Locklear said China’s submarine modernization effort was impressive.
“I think they’ll have in the next decade or so a fairly well modernized force of probably 60 to 70 submarines which is a lot of submarines for a regional power,” he said.
Full article: Top US Official: China Will Soon Place Long-Range Nuclear Missiles On Submarines (Business Insider)