Chinese Navy Xia class Type 092, SSBN

The Chinese designed and built Type 091 Han class submarine began sea trials in August 1971. The Han class is a SSN-Nuclear powered attack Submarine. While this class boat greatly improved the Chinese Navy`s distant defense capabilities against enemy nuclear equipped surface forces, one of its most significant features was that it served as a stepping stone in the development of a Chinese SSBN-Nuclear powered, Submarine launched Ballistic missile force. Such a force would enhance Peking`s assurance of an effective retaliatory capability, as well as strengthening her deterrent posture. Despite a potential for operations in the Pacific Ocean, capabilities would be very limited against modern Western or Russian ASW-anti submarine warfare capabilities.

In 1981 China launched the Xia class, derived from the Han class SSN, with the hull lengthened to accommodate the missile tubes. The Type 092 became operational in 1983, though missile firings conducted in 1984 and 1985 were unsatisfactory due to fire control problems which were not resolved until 1988.

The Xia class SSBN was initially armed with 12 JL-1 (CSS-N-3) SLBMs-Sub Launched Ballistic Missiles. Operations have been limited and the Xia has never sailed beyond Chinese regional waters. The sole existing Xia class SSBN may never have made an operational deployment, and had reportedly been in overhaul or undergoing disposal since 1995. Somewhat surprisingly, the Xia was sighted during PLAN-People`s Liberation Army Navy exercises in December 2000. That was the first time the Xia had been sighted at sea since it was upgraded in 1995.
A second hull was launched in 1982, but the status of this boat remains uncertain. It is certainly not currently in service, with unsubstantiated reports claiming it was lost in a 1985 accident.

The single unit of this class entered the shipyard in 1995. Some sources suggest the work was possibly to fit the new JL-2 SLBM system, with the upgrade expected to be completed in 1998. However, authoritative sources doubt that.
As of March 2001 it is reported that the single Xia class SSBN was fitted with the JL-1A missiles. China`s sole nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), the Xia Class most likely will be extended service through at least 2011.
The Type 094 replacement design is under development which will be equipped with the new JL-2 SLBM system, western designation CSS-NX-4, will carry either 3 or 4 warheads MIRV (90kT each) or a single warhead with a yield of 250-1000 kT over a range of 4,200 n/miles. The missile is apparently comparable in size and performance to the American Trident C-4 long-range multiple-warhead three-stage solid fuel missile that is launched from submerged submarines.
Specifications, Xia class Type 092, Xia 406:

Displacement (srf/sub tons):
unknown /6,500
Dimensions (L*B*D feet): 393`6*33`0*26`2
Propulsion: nuclear, turbo-electric,1*Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) 90MV, one screw
Speed (sub knots): 20
Range (srf/sub miles@knots): not relevant
Diving depth (feet): 985
Complement: 140 officers and enlisted
Missile: 12*SLBM (Submarine Launch Ballistic Missile) located aft of the fin structure capable of launching JL-1 (Ju Lang 1) western designation CSS-N-3,(1,160 n/miles single warhead 250kT)
6*21" (533 mm) bow torpedo tubes for Yu-3
Armament: none

Built by Huludao Shipyard, laid down in 1978; launched April 30, 1981 and commissioned in 1987.

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Image Country Year Description
China 1999 The 50th anni` of the PLA Navy of China, Xia 406, type 092 SSBN (prestamped post card)
China 1999 The 50th anni' of the PLA Navy of China, Xia 406, type 092 SSBN
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