The communist Chinese People’s Liberation Army is building an underground nuclear submarine base near Sanya on Hainan Island. It is reported to be a “vast, James Bond-style edifice capable of concealing up to 20 nuclear-powered submarines, which will enable China to project its power across the region.”
By Hans M. Kristensen
The Chinese navy has deployed a Jin-class (Type 094) ballistic missile submarine to a new base near Yulin on Hainan Island on the South China Sea, according to a satellite image obtained by FAS. The image shows the submarine moored at a pier close to a large sea-entrance to an underground facility.
Also visible is a unique newly constructed pier that appears to be a demagnetization facility for submarines.
A dozen tunnels to underground facilities are visible throughout the base compound.
The satellite image, which has also been described in Jane’s Defense Weekly, was taken by the QuickBird satellite on February 27, 2008, and purchased by FAS from DigitalGlobe.
The Arrival of the Jin-Class Submarine
The dimensions of the submarine in the satellite image are similar to the Jin-class SSBN I spotted at Xiaopingdao Submarine Base in July 2007 and the two Jin-class SSBNs I detected at the Bohai shipyard in October 2007.
China is believed to have launched two Jin-class SSBNs with a third possibly under construction. The U.S. Intelligence community estimates that China might possibly build five SSBNs if it wants to have a near-continuous deterrent at sea. Of course, it is not known whether China plans to operate its SSBNs that way. See Figure 1 for the location of the submarine.