Friday, July 06, 2007

China's Newest Sub Captured... on Google Earth

One presumes that our intelligence agencies already had this info:

A shiny new ballistic-missile submarine docked at a naval base in China has been spied publicly for the first time using Google Earth.

The new class of nuclear sub, called the Jin-class, had been rumoured to exist for some time, but the image recently uploaded to Google Earth is the first public glimpse of the vessel.

For the past 20 years, China has maintained one ballistic-missile submarine, the Xia-class. However, it has suffered from technical problems and has never been deployed on a deterrent patrol, which involves arming the sub and sending it out to hide for long periods in the oceans.

Instead, the Xia-class has been used mainly for small missile tests. "Now the expectation is they will build this new class and, if it’s more successful, they will be capable of having submarines permanently deployed at sea with nuclear weapons," says Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists.

And indeed -- go over here for the Google Earth file for the sub base, and you can zoom in and see it for yourself.

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