China’s navy has previously performed several tests of the JL-3 ballistic missile. The researchers involved in the development of the JL-3 have been recognized in one of China’s top science awards, and is nominated to receive a National Award for Excellence in Innovation.
While China never confirmed officially the development of the JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile, the South China Morning Post reported the Chinese navy has already tested it in 2018 and 2019. The third-generation “underwater-launched large solid-fuel carrier rocket”(SLBM) is reported to have a range of over 7,450 miles (12,000 km), enough to reach the United States if launched from the Chinese coast.
The missile tests were in response to President Donald Trump’s deterrence strategy targeting China, according to Chinese military observers. According to Dimsum Daily, the Sino-U.S. relations have become more strained since the unfoldment of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. The two nations are once again on a path of confrontation.
The recent military operations in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait have further escalated the tensions between China and the United States. A video of a test launch of the JL-3 has been recently circulating online, attracting world's attention once again to China’s development of nuclear weapons. The Chinese ballistic missile development program also comes into highlights by the nomination of the research team involved in designing the JL-3 for a National Award for Excellence in Innovation.
This Chinese award launched in 2017 is intended to be held every three years. The first edition’s winners included research teams working on the warship integrated electricity system, the Long March-5 rocket and the BeiDou satellite system.
The JL-3’s predecessor, JL-2, was deployed on Type 094A nuclear submarines in 2015 and had a range of 4,600 miles (7,400 km). The third-generation intercontinental-range ballistic missile in development will likely deploy in 2025 on a future Chinese ballistic missile submarine class, the Type 096. The solid-fueled missile can carry up to 10 nuclear warheads. Europe, the U.S., Russia and India are all within their range.
It is believed the Type 032 or Type 094 Chinese submarines can also carry the JL-3 ballistic missile. Currently, the Type 094 strategic nuclear submarine can carry 16 JL-2s. Recently, the Chinese navy commissioned two upgraded versions of Type 094, which come with improved sonar, radar and torpedo technologies. The next-generation Type 096 strategic nuclear submarine is still in the research and development stage, and it is believed it will be able to carry 24 JL-3 nuclear ballistic missiles.