The JL-2, China's second-generation submarine-launched ballistic missile, is set to enter service. China may develop its next generation with a range of at least 12,000 km in order to reach North America from the South China Sea, reports our Chinese-language sister paper Want Daily.
The PLA Navy's nuclear-powered Type 094 submarine was spotted patrolling with the missile, which has a range of around 8,000 km and can carry multiple warheads, at the beginning of this year. The Chinese military ended its decade-long research, development and trials for the missile at the end of 2012 and has been preparing to introduce it to its arsenal. State broadcaster CCTV recently aired a documentary on the missile's development process with video clips of its firing tests.
Photos posted by military enthusiasts show three Type 094 submarines, capable of launching the JL-2, in Sanya, Hainan province. A fourth of the class of submarine is said to be under construction.
The missile's range still falls short of China's ideal target range however since the Type 094 submarines need a missile with a range over 12,000 km to strike North America from South China Sea. The Trident missiles that US Navy launched from submarines in June this year have a maximum range of 11,000 km and can carry 11 warheads.