The Chinese Peoples’ Liberation Army –Navy (PLAN) which christened its Type 09IV nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine as “Changzheng-18” last Friday may have three more such vessels.
Media reports of the vessel’s launch ceremony featured a scene in which three other Type 09IVs could be seen in the background, state-affiliated media, Global Times reported. “Four Type 09IVs are a formidable nuclear deterrent with dozens of submarine-launched ballistic missiles,” it said quoting unnamed analysts.
The Changzheng 18 was also seen with its (vertical) missile hatch open in a CCTV report about the launch of the submarine, a scene Global Times analysts said is “rare and displayed its nuclear capability.”
While Western media reports state that the newly launched submarine is of the Type 095, official Chinese media referred to the vessel as Type 09IV.
The Changzheng 18 submarine was launched along with a Type 055 destroyer and a Type 075 amphibious assault vessel by Chinese Communist Party Supremo, Xi Xinping showing the importance of the three vessels to the PLAN.
There are no previous reports of Type 09IV or Type 095 submarines being launched. Much of China’s nuclear submarine development is opaque with little or no official information and even its official media not giving even basic details about the vessels.
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