Nuke sub­ma­rine to go on dis­play

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHAO LEI zhaolei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Chi­nese mil­i­tary en­thu­si­asts can see tanks, ar­tillery guns and fighter jets in mil­i­tary mu­se­ums around the na­tion, but what is com­ing is prob­a­bly be­yond their ex­pec­ta­tions — a nu­clear-pow­ered at­tack sub­ma­rine.

Ac­cord­ing to an an­nounce­ment by the North Sea Fleet of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army Navy, China’s first nu­clear-pow­ered sub­ma­rine was towed to a port of the Chi­nese Navy Mu­seum in Qing­dao, a coastal city in Shan­dong prov­ince, in mid-Oc­to­ber.

“This boat, which sailed oceans for more than 40 years, will soon be pre­sented as an ex­hibit to you at the mu­seum,” the an­nounce­ment said. “Be­fore ar­riv­ing at the mu­seum, the sub­ma­rine’s nu­clear parts have been re­moved, in ac­cor­dance with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards, so the boat is com­pletely safe.”

The de­com­mis­sion­ing of the sub­ma­rine, to­gether with the safe dis­posal of its nu­clear re­ac­tors and waste, in­di­cates China is able to not only de­velop and op­er­ate nu­clear sub­marines, but also prop­erly han­dle them when they re­tire, it added.

Though the an­nounce­ment did not re­veal the type and name of the re­tired sub­ma­rine, an ear­lier re­port by PLA Pic­to­rial said it is the CNS Long March-1, a Type-091 nu­clear-pow­ered at­tack sub­ma­rine.

As the PLA Navy’s first nu­clear sub­ma­rine, the boat was built and com­mis­sioned in the early 1970s, the mag­a­zine said.

Xin­hua News Agency re­ported that Type-091 sub­marines were pro­duced based on tech­nol­ogy from the 1950s and 1960s, and have short-range weapons.

With a dis­place­ment of 5,000 met­ric tons, the Type091 sub­ma­rine is usu­ally equipped with six tor­pedo tubes, it said.

The PLA Navy has at least 10 nu­clear-pow­ered sub­marines re­main­ing in ser­vice, ac­cord­ing to the in­dus­try bi­ble Jane’s Fight­ing Ships.

Yin Zhuo, di­rec­tor of the PLA Navy’s Ex­pert Con­sul­ta­tion Com­mit­tee, said the dis­play of the nu­clear sub­ma­rine will en­able the pub­lic to in­crease their knowl­edge and un­der­stand­ing of the Chi­nese Navy.

“The Type-091 nu­clear sub­ma­rine had been of great im­por­tance be­cause it con­ducted com­bat-ready pa­trols,” he said. “Show­ing such a sig­nif­i­cant weapon will arouse the pub­lic’s in­ter­est in the PLA Navy’s his­tory and fu­ture.”

The ex­pert also sug­gested that dis­play­ing ad­vanced ships, sub­marines and weapons at do­mes­tic mar­itime ex­hi­bi­tions would es­tab­lish a closer con­nec­tion with the pub­lic.

How­ever, Yin said the odds are very low of a Type092 nu­clear-pow­ered bal­lis­tic mis­sile sub­ma­rine be­ing dis­played at the Chi­nese Navy Mu­seum af­ter it re­tires, be­cause such equip­ment will still be a top se­cret for many years. No navy in the world has ever put a nu­clear-pow­ered bal­lis­tic mis­sile sub­ma­rine on dis­play in a mu­seum, he added.

LAI YONGLEI / FOR CHINA DAILY

A nu­clear-pow­ered sub­ma­rine is berthed at a port of the Chi­nese Navy Mu­seum in Qing­dao, Shan­dong prov­ince, on Oct 15. The ves­sel will be dis­played at the mu­seum soon.

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