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China Conducts First Test of New JL-3 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile

“On November 24, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Navy conducted the first known flight-test of the JL-3 solid-fuel, submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), U.S. government sources with knowledge of the test confirmed to The Diplomat. Chinese authorities have not publicly confirmed the test. The JL-3, along with the Type 096, will mark the modernization of China’s sea-based nuclear deterrent, which became operational only recently. Currently, Beijing is known to operate at least four, but possibly as many as six, Type 094 SSBNs armed with the JL-2 SLBM—an SLBM based off the land-based DF-31 solid-fuel intercontinental-range ballistic missile. The JL-3 is expected to offer a considerable range extension over the JL-2, which has been estimated by U.S. military intelligence to possess a range of just over 7,000 kilometers. That means the SSBNs carrying these missiles would be out of range of continental United States-based targets. The range of the JL-3, meanwhile, would allow Chinese submarines to strike at continental U.S. targets from further away, increasing their survivability by reducing the need to navigate into contested waters in the Western Pacific in a conflict, for example.”

Source: China Conducts First Test of New JL-3 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile | The Diplomat

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