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China Seen Fielding Nuke-Capable Ballistic Missile Submarine

China has put to sea a new submarine with the capacity to launch nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles, Kyodo News reported on Saturday (see GSN, Aug. 17, 2010).

The Hong Kong magazine Mirror and other sources reported that the Qing-class vessel was constructed at a Wuhan shipyard and is presently docked in Shanghai. The submarine reportedly can carry six ballistic missiles with a top traveling distance of roughly 4,970 miles.

Armed forces analysts think the submarine's chief purpose is to conduct trials of ballistic missiles for two Chinese Jin-class nuclear submarines. The Qing-class submarine replaces a Golf-class test vessel that was mothballed not long ago.

One military analyst told the Hong Kong publication that should the new vessel be equipped with cruise missiles, it could threaten U.S. aircraft carriers (see GSN, July 11; Kyodo News/Breitbart.com, July 16).

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