PLA ballistic submarine can reach US cities with JL-2 missiles
China's nuclear-powered ballistic submarine is capable of conducting combat patrol missions around the Second Island Chain, according to military expert Li Li in an interview with the Party-run People's Daily online.
The Second Island Chain extends from Honshu on the Japanese island chain southward to New Guinea.
Only a few nations around the world are able to construct their own ballistic submarines because of the sheer difficulty, said Li. Larger pressurized water reactors are suitable for surface combat vessels, but cannot be used for submarines. It is extremely difficult for most nations around the world to build a properly sized pressurized water reactor in their submarines. Then there is building a nuclear reactor.
The PLA Navy have solved these major problems through years of development. The earlier Chinese submarines designed during the Cold War were small, noisy and had a short attack range. China's new generation Type 094 Jin-class submarines are able to reach the Second Island Chain. Equipped with 16 JL-2 missiles, their attack range extends 8,000km.
The JL-2 could hit Los Angeles from the waters east of the Kurile islands in the northern Pacific, Peter Howarth points out in his work China's Rising Sea Power: The Pla Navy's Submarine Challenge. When launched from the East China Sea, the JL-2 can reach Guam, Hawaii and Alaska. The JL-2 intercontinental submarine-launched ballistic missiles can also be equipped with a nuclear warhead, posing a considerable threat to US national