China Conducts First Test Launch of JL-3 SLBM

The new submarine-launched ballistic missile has a flight range of about 9,000 km, which represents an improvement compared to the previous variant, the JL-2, but is still less than the 12,000-km range of the American Trident II and Russian Bulava SLBMs

China has carried out a flight test of a new submarine-launched ballistic missile in the Yellow Sea, a source familiar with the matter told the South China Morning Post.

The JL-3 missile has a flight range of about 9,000 km (5,600 miles), which is less than the 12,000-km (7,500-mile) range of the American Trident II and Russian Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

But the source said the successful flight test still represented a significant advance for the PLA since its predecessor, the JL-2, had a flight range of only 7,000km (4,350 miles).

“The JL SLBMs have a shorter range because the Chinese military has so far failed to make any significant technology breakthroughs in developing nuclear-powered submarines,” the source added.

Pentagon spokesmen declined to comment. "The Pentagon will not comment on the intelligence related to Chinese missile tests," Lt. Col. Chris Logan, one of the spokesmen, told the Washington Free Beacon.

China's missile force announced, without elaborating, that five missile flight tests were conducted between November 20 and 23. It is estimated that a Type-032 auxiliary submarine is the test bed for JL-3 launches.