Type 092 submarine

The Type 092 (Chinese designation: 09-II; NATO reporting name: Xia class) submarine was the first nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) deployed by the People's Liberation Army Navy Submarine Force, and the first SSBN designed and built in Asia.

Profile of the Type 092
Class overview
Name: Xia class
Builders: Bohai Shipyard, Huludao
Operators:  People's Liberation Army Navy
Succeeded by: Type 094 (Jin class)
Built: 1981
In commission: 1987
Completed: 1
Active: 1
General characteristics
Type: Nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine
Displacement: 8,000 tonnes (submerged)
Length: 120 m (393 ft 8 in)
Beam: 10 m (32 ft 10 in)
Draught: 8 m (26 ft 3 in)
Propulsion: 1 × pressurized-water nuclear reactor, 58MW; 2 × steam turbines; 1 shaft.
Speed: 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph)
Range: Unlimited
Test depth: 300 m (984 ft 3 in)
Complement: 100
  • 6 × 533 mm torpedo tubes
  • 12 × JL-1A SLBMs


The first and only confirmed submarine of its class, boat 406, was laid down in 1978 at Huludao, 190 km (120 mi) northeast of Beijing, China. The Type 092 submarine was completed in 1981. She then spent six years being fitted out and conducting tests with its twelve JL-1 missiles, becoming active in 1987. Later, the submarine went through numerous upgrades in incremental step, including using Type H/SQ2-262B sonar manufactured by No. 613 Factory replacing the original Type 604 sonar on board. It reportedly suffered from limited missile range and high sound emissions.[1]

She was designed by Peng Shilu (彭士禄) and Huang Xuhua, and derived from the Type 091 submarines, with an extended hull to accommodate twelve missile tubes.[2]

The 092 has undergone numerous refits, currently featuring a new black paint, possible quieting technologies, French-designed sonar, and the improved longer ranged JL-1A SLBM. Homeported in Jianggezhuang near Qingdao, it is reported that the 092 has never conducted strategic patrols outside Chinese regional waters.[3] The sub undertook a single patrol and then never sailed again, staying pierside for so long there were rumors it had caught fire and sank in 1985.[4] The boat was more of a test bed, allowing China to test new underwater technologies as it gradually placed more emphasis on naval forces in general.[5]

The 092 is aging however and a new nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, the Type 094, has been developed and deployed by the People's Liberation Army Navy. The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency lists the 092 as being "not operational."[4] While its capability is still being questioned, Xia made its worldwide debut on 23 April 2009 celebrating the 60th anniversary of the PLA Navy's founding.[6]

The submarine became operational in 1983, but faced enduring problems with reliability and radiation leakage from its onboard nuclear reactor. The submarine is also allegedly the noisiest of all U.S., Russian and Chinese ballistic missile submarines, making it very easy to detect and track.[7]

Rumour of a lost second boat

A second boat is thought to have been completed in 1982, however this is debatable. There is little information regarding the history of this ship if in fact it actually existed. It is suggested, though not confirmed, that this second Type 092 was lost in an accident in 1985.[8][9][10]

See also


  1. "Does China have an effective sea-based nuclear deterrent?". CSIS China Power. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  2. Erickson, Andrew; Goldstein, Lyle (Winter 2007). "China's Future Nuclear Submarine Force: Insights from Chinese Writings" (PDF). Naval War College Review. 60 (1): 54–79. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 November 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  3. Taylor, Marcus; Tamerlani, Eric; Farnsworth, Timothy (June 2013). "Pentagon Sees China Progressing on SLBM". Arms Control Today. Arms Control Association. 43 (5): 31–32. JSTOR 23629520.
  4. Pike, John. "Type 092 Xia Class SSBN". Archived from the original on 13 July 2007. Retrieved 9 July 2007.
  5. Mizokami, Kyle. "China's First Nuclear Powered 'Boomer' Submarine Was a Total Disaster".
  6. China's navy – Distant horizons Archived 10 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine, economist.com
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 October 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. Type 092 Xia submarine, China, janes.com
  9. Xia class Archived 18 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine, military-today.com
  10. Nuclear submarine guide, China: Type 092 Archived 26 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine, fas.org
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