On May 16, Defense News reported a new breakdown of the satellite sighting of a Chinese submarine at the Huludao shipyard in northern China.
Geospatial intelligence outfit AllSource Analysis captured the warship on a drydock on April 29. Defense News suspected the satellite sighting could be a Type 093B, a newly developed version of Type 093 Shang class nuclear-powered submarines.
AllSource Analysis believes the submarine is about 360 feet long with cruciform tail fins and control vanes on the sail.
The submarine’s hull features two district green patches directly behind its conning tower, a cruciform rudder layout, and a possible shroud propulsion system.
A naval expert confirmed with Defense News that the model looked like it had a row of vertical launch system (VLS) cells for submarine-launched missiles and a shroud for pump-jet propulsion.
Furthermore, the satellite image showed a somewhat similar length to Type 093. Defense News observed that it could be more of a developed class version if the submarine’s rectangular part is a collection of VLS cells.
Reuters previously reported on May 11 that military analysts believe this is a new nuclear attack submarine that has just been launched. But it was not clear whether the submarine was an improved version of Type 093 or a completely new model.
Analysts say the rear of the submarine’s conning tower and thruster positions are shielded by green cloth, and these parts may be a vertical missile launcher and a new, quieter propulsion system.
According to the 2021 Pentagon report on China’s military power, the new Shang class variant could improve the Chinese Navy’s anti-surface warfare capability. However, if equipped with land-attack cruise missiles, it could also allow a clandestine land-attack option.
Collin Koh at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies said China has been trying to develop submarines capable of launching cruise missiles for land-attack and anti-ship missions.
He said these technologies could allow China to strike U.S. Navy assets and other distant land targets like those in Guam, where American forces are stationed.