Staff, Want China Times
31 August 2015
China's 12 nuclear-powered submarines are still unable to launch a direct attack against the US homeland, reports the Kanwa Defense Review, a Chinese-language military magazine based in Canada.
An estimated three of the PLA Navy's Type 094 Jin-class ballistic missile submarines and two Type 093 Shang-class attack submarines are currently stationed at Sanya, the base of the PLA's South Sea Fleet in the southern island province of Hainan. The base is the most proximate location for deployment to the South China Sea, where Beijing disputes vast swaths of maritime territory with competing neighbors.
None of the three Type 094 submarines have carried ballistic missiles on board since the beginning of this year, the report said.
Unlike the Russian Navy, China is very unlikely to launch an attack against the US from North Pole waters. An attack would be more likely be launched from the Pacific against the US territory of Guam or the states of Hawaii and Alaska. A Chinese missile strike could reach as far as Australia if launched from South China Sea waters. A similar attack targeting the west coast of the US would still, however, be exceedingly difficult, the report said.
To strike Los Angeles, the Jin-class submarine would have to fire a JL-2 missile from the Second Island Chain, extending from Honshu to New Guinea. The notoriously loud Type 094 sub venturing into this area would be easily detected by the US Navy's P-8A patrol aircraft, the report said. However, the submarine still poses a highly dangerous threat to Russia since Moscow is only 7,200 kilometers away from Hainan.