China Conducts Test Launch of New JL-3 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile: Reports

China has conducted a successful test launch of its new JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) from the Bohai Sea on June 2, Defence Blog reported.

According to the report, the missile was launched by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy at 4:28 hours and was spotted by numerous witnesses including fishermen.

The maiden flight test of the new missile, which will reportedly carry multiple nuclear warheads and will be capable of targeting most of the United States, was reportedly conducted in November last year.

The new JL-3 (JL stands for Julang meaning Giant Wave) missile will be deployed on the PLA Navy’s next generation of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN), designated Type 096 (NATO reporting name: Tang class). The first Type 096 submarine to be equipped with the JL-3 is expected to enter service in the mid-2020s.

The report in the China’s state-run publication, Keji Ribao, stated that Chinese military experts believe the solid-fueled JL-3 will use technologies from the new DF-41 (Dongfeng-41, “East Wind”) land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), and will be comparable to the U.S. Navy’s UGM-133A Trident II (D5) and Russia’s new RSM-56 Bulava SLBMs.

The JL-3 missiles will reportedly have an operational range of 7,500-8,700 miles (12,000–14,000 km) and will be equipped with various missile defense-penetrating features such as a variable trajectory, a radar-evading stealth warhead, and fast-burning rocket motors.

China’s current sea-based nuclear force includes four Type-094 (NATO reporting name: Jin class) SSBNs, each outfitted with 16 JL-2 ballistic missiles, with an estimated range of 4,600 miles (7,400 km). The JL-2 missiles reportedly can carry 3 to 4 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) nuclear warheads.

Type 094 Jin-class SSBN
A Type 094 Jin-class nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) operated by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.
Launch of a Chinese JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).

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