Chinese Navy – Submarines

Submarines note: many or most PLAN submarines are named “Great Wall” / Chángchéng with a pennant/hull number.

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Nuclear-powered Ballistic Missile Submarines (SSBN)

Check out our 2022 comparative overview post on World ballistic missile boats.

Type 094 / 094A (NATO: Jin class) LOA 443’/ 135 m TDISP 11,ooo tons submerged (6 active, service since 2007) 12 JL-2 MIRV-equipped SLBM tubes/boat.

Type 094/Jin class SSBNs, ca. 2014. Credit: CSR Report RL33153 China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress by Ronald O’Rourke dated February 28, 2014, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Type 094 SSBN Hainan Island 2021-04Type 094 SSBN Huladao 2019Type 094 SSBNs Huladao 2010Type 094 SSBN Huladao 2018

Changzheng 6 Type 092 (NATO: Xia class) (1983) first PLAN SSBN. LOA 394′ / 120 m TDISP 8,000 tons submerged. 12 JL-1 SLBM tubes, questionable operational statusType 092 SSBN near Qingdao 2021

Conventionally-powered Ballistic Missile Submarines SSB

Type 032 (NATO: Qing Class) (2012) LOA 304′ / 92.6 m TDISP 6,630 tons submerged. This is reportedly the largest conventionally powered submarine in the World (by displacement). It currently serves mostly a test submarine, which replaced the Type 031 (modified Golf II class) below. The boat has the overall outlines of a Type 39A Yuan class, with a significantly elongated sail, which has missile tubes in the after portion. Like the older Golf submarine design, it has a pushed-out section beneath the sail, which extends below the rest of the hull. Type 032 Qing Class Lyshunkao Dalian 2020

Chángchéng 200 Type 031 (1966-ca. 2018) LOA 320′ / 97.5 m TDISP 3,000 tons submerged. A variant of the Soviet Golf II class. Used for the testing/development of Chinese ballistic missiles. Appears in imagery to have been preserved as a museum boat at Qingdao Naval Museum after leaving its longtime homeport of Lyshunkao Naval Base.

Great Wall Type 031 SSB Qingdao museum 2020Golf SSB Lvshunkou China 2020 drydock

Nuclear-powered Attack Submarines SSN

Type 093 (NATO: Shang class) LOA 360′ /110 m TDISP 7,700 tons submerged (6 active, more planned, service since 2006)

Shang class profile. Credit: Mike1979 Russia, CC BY-SA 3.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons

Type 093 SSN Hainan Island 2021-07

Type 091 (NATO: Han class) LOA 322′ / 98 m TDISP 5,500 tons submerged. (5, 3 active, service since 1974)

Changzheng 1 (1974-2000) Museum Boat, Qingdao Naval Museum, since about 2016. First PLAN nuclear-powered boat.

Han class-青岛中国海军博物馆长征1号核潜艇_01
Changzheng 1 at Qingdao museum, ca. 2017. Credit: StefanTsingtauer, CC BY-SA 4.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons

Changzheng 1 Type 091 Qingdao naval museum 2018

Conventionally-powered attack submarines (SS)

Type 039A (NATO: Yuan class) LOA 255′ / 77.6 m TDISP 3,600 tons submerged. (up to 18 active, service since 2006) based on the Russian Kilo class with several modifications, including Air-Independent-Propulsion.

Yuan class attack submarine. Image from CSR Report RL33153 China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress by Ronald O’Rourke dated February 28, 2014, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Type 039A SS Hainan Island 2021-07Type 039A SS Wuhan 2012

Type 039 (NATO: Song class) LOA 246′ / 75 m TDISP 2,250 tons submerged (13 active, service since 1998)

Song Class submarine, ca. 2005. Credit: SteKrueBe, CC BY-SA 3.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons
Type 039 SS Qingdao naval base 2019
Type 039 ID mostly based on squared-off bow entry, and LOA of 246′ indicated in yellow.

Type 035 (NATO: Ming class) LOA 249′ / 76 m TDISP 2,110 tons submerged (24 built, 2 transferred to Bangladesh Navy, less than 15 still active). Highly improved design developed from Soviet Russian Romeo Class submarine. Can be distinguished from earlier PLAN Romeos by the small rudder above the waterline at stern.

Mike1979 Russia, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Type 035 Ming SS Hainan Island 2018-08

Chángchéng 353 (1974-1997) Museum boat at the Tianjin Binhai Theme Park since at least 2016. Changcheng 353 museum boat Tianhin Binhai 2018

Type 033 LOA 252′ / 76.6 m TDISP 1,830 tons submerged. Chinese-assembled Romeo class submarine with improvements. (84 built, a few may still be training submarines, and several are preserved as museum boats, service since 1962) There may be issues with the identification of some of the below museum boats, as some seem to have overlapping locations.

Chángchéng 237 (1978-1998) museum boat at the Qingdao Naval Museum. Fate uncertain, as it disappears from its berth around 2012, while the 2012 capture showing a deteriorated or partially-dismantled boat.

Changcheng 237 museum 青岛海军博物馆_-_033型常规潜艇长城号(舷号237)_-_panoramio
Chángchéng 237 as a museum boat at the Qingdao Naval Museum, ca. 2007. Credit: Tiger@西北, CC BY-SA 3.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons

Changcheng 237 museum boat Qingdao 2011

Changcheng 237 museum boat Qingdao 2012

Chángchéng 274 museum boat at the Taizhou naval museum. dates of service unknown. Changcheng 274 museum boat Taizhou 2018

Chángchéng 279 (1982-2011) Museum boat Liugong Island, Shandong Changcheng 279 museum boat Liugong Island 2019

Chángchéng 280 (1980s ca. 2004) Museum boat at Oriental Land park, Shanghai, beside the large fake aircraft carrier. It is possible that this submarine was disassembled and components were reassembled in situ, or that the sub, like the carrier, is simulated. Changcheng 280 museum boat Shanghai 2020

Chángchéng 303 (1984-2009) Museum boat at the Science and Technology Museum, Wuhan. Changcheng 303 Museum Boat Wuhan S and T 2021

38m Midget Submarine LOA 130′ / 8 m TDISP unknown. According to HI Sutton and C.E. Davis’s World Submarines: Covert Shores Recognition Guide, this was first seen in 2015 satellite imagery of Wuchang shipbuilding, Wuhan, where generations of conventional-powered boats have been built.38m midget sub Wuhan 2014

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