For what appears to be the first time, Beijing has sent one of its nuclear missile subs on an actual deterrence patrol:
China has advanced its nuclear deterrent capabilities by sending a Type 094 (‘Jin’-class) nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) out on its first deterrent patrol and by conducting a fifth reported test of its mobile, solid-fuel, multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV)-capable DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), according to US officials.
Although China’s first second-generation Type 094 was launched in 2004, according to IHS Jane’s Fighting Ships , US officials have not acknowledged that its premier deterrent patrol had occurred until this month.
“Given China’s known capabilities and their efforts to develop a sea-based deterrent, in absence of indicators to the contrary it is prudent to assume that patrols are occurring,” said US Strategic Command spokesperson US Navy captain Pamela Kunzein in a statement to The Washington Times published on 10 December.
Just last month, Russia had yet another test launch of its sea-based Bulava ICBM, and announced that the Severodvinsk shipyard will begin production on Friday of Moscow’s seventh Borei-class missile boat:
“The laying down ceremony of the Emperor Alexander III newest Borei-A project nuclear submarine will be held at the Sevmash shipyard in the city of Severodvinsk on December 18,” the official said.
According to Dygalo, the ceremony will be attended by representatives of the Russian Defence Ministry top leadership, the Navy chief command, the Northern Fleet command and the White Sea naval base.
“The series of the fourth-generation nuclear-powered submarine cruisers of projects Borei and Borei-A, armed with the Bulava ballistic missiles, is to become the core of the Russian naval strategic nuclear forces for the coming decades,” Deputy Commander of the Russian Navy Viktor Bursuk said.
In unrelated news, the US Navy’s newest ship, the USS Milwaukee, had to be towed back to port just three weeks after entering service. The Freedom-class littoral combat ship’s engines had to be shut down when metal filings were found in her lube oil filter.