Satellite images from a Chinese shipyard suggest the country may have developed a new class of nuclear-powered attack submarines, Reuters reported on Tuesday. The images are clear and show a submarine in dry dock, but the coverage over the main areas of the vessel makes it difficult for experts to analyze whether it will be an entirely new class of ship or just an update to an existing model – among the main changes are the addition of vertical missile launch tubes for guided missiles, as well as an upgraded propulsion system. The images were captured at the port of Huludao, China, in Liaoning province.
GEOINT analysis from 26 April to 03 May 2022 shows a possible new class of submarine at Huludao Port, China. https://t.co/epfzHDle1I #Geospatial #Intelligence #China #Huludao #Shipyard #NuclearPoweredSubmarine #SSN #DryDock #GlobalSecurity #NavalForceMonitoring #IMINT pic.twitter.com/g5XDE83IVL
— AllSource Analysis (@AllSourceA) May 4, 2022
The parts of the ship that would house the launch tubes and propulsion are covered with what appears to be a green tarp. The propulsion upgrade, if applied, would replace traditional spinning propellers with quieter pump jets, according to Reuters.
While the US Navy has long had these ships, the development would be new to China’s burgeoning Navy. The US military has also been monitoring the Chinese military for the development of a nuclear-powered fast attack submarine in recent years. The images come at a time of simmering tensions between the US and China over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s ambitions over Taiwan.
Source: With Agencies