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Type 92 Xia

The Chinese designed and built Type-091 HAN class submarine began sea trials in August 1971. The HAN class submarine is a nuclear powered torpedo attack boat. While this class boat greatly improved the Chinese Navy's distant defense capabilities against enemy nuclear equipped surface forces, one of its most significant features was that it served as a stepping stone in the development of a Chinese nuclear powered, submarine launched ballistic missile (SSBN) force. Such a force would enhance Peking's assurance of an effective retaliatory capability, as well as strengthening her deterrent posture.

In 1981 China launched the Xia-class SSBN #406, derived from the Han-class SSN, with the hull lengthened to accommodate the missile tubes. The Type-092 became operational in 1983, though missile firings conducted in 1984 and 1985 were unsatisfactory due to fire control problems which were not resoloved until until 1988.

The Xia class SSBN was initially armed with 12 JL-1 (CSS-N-3) SLBMs.A major update of the class started in 1995 to fit the new JL-2 SLBM system, with the upgrade expected to be completed in 1998. The JL-2 (CSS-NX-4) SLBMs is reported to carry 3 or 4 MIRV (90kT each) or a single 250kt warhead with a range of 8,000km.

Operations have been limited and the Xia has never sailed beyond Chinese regional waters. Despite a potential for operations in the Pacific Ocean, capabilities would be very limited against modern Western or Russian ASW capabilities.

A second hull was launched in 1982, but the status of this boat remains uncertain. It is certainly not currently in service, with unsubstantiated reports claiming it was lost in a 1985 accident.

A replacement design is under development which will be equiped with the new JL-2 SLBM system.


Displacement6500-8000 ton
Length 120 m
Beam 10 m
Drought 8 m
Speed 22 knots dive
Missiles SLBM - 12 JL-1 or JL-2
Torpedoes 6 - 533 mm bow tubes

Sources and Resources

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Wednesday, June 10, 1998 8:31:18 PM