The latest satellite imagery confirms the allegations China build new nuclear-powered submarines with more advanced technology. The ship is thought to be capable of loading missiles.
This allegation emerged after Planet Labs released satellite images showing a submarine in Huludao Port, Liaoning Province, China, from April 24 to May 4.
Some military analysts assess the placement of submarines in the seas of China is something rare. The sighting of the ship then led to suspicions that China had a new submarine.
However, it is still unclear whether the submarine is a new fleet or not. It is also not known whether the ship has improved technology, or another type of ship.
According to some analysts, the ship has areas to house missiles and a new, quieter propulsion system.
An observer from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Collin Koh, said that the emergence of the ship’s image reinforced the concerns of a number of parties.
According to him, there is now growing concern over the existence of China’s Type 093 “killer-hunter” submarines equipped with vertical-guided missile launch tubes.
The missile tubes will increase the flexibility of Chinese submarines, as well as equip the fleet with a variety of guided missiles.
However, Koh assessed that the satellite images obtained were still very limited to be able to identify with certainty the type of ship.
“[Gambar itu] It’s very interesting, but it’s still very hard to be sure if we’re seeing some sort of refit for testing or indeed a new type of submarine,” Koh said.
In addition, Koh and other analysts are closely monitoring whether or not Chinese submarines will switch to using jet propellers, which are quieter than conventional propellers.
In November, the Pentagon had said that the Chinese Navy would build a new attack submarine with a guided missile launch tube in the next few years.