Video footage of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s inspection of a modified Type 093 (Shang-class) nuclear-powered attack submarine on 11 June shows what appears to be a canister for the submarine-launched version of China’s YJ-18 anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM).
The images, which were taken by state-owned broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) at the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) North Sea Fleet base of Qingdao, show a pale blue missile canister in the weapons compartment of the submarine visited the president.
The canister bears a close resemblance to that referred to as a YJ-18 canister by retired PLAN Rear Admiral Zhao Dengping during a university lecture given in September 2017.
According to Jane’s Weapons: Naval , the YJ-18 has been specifically designed to engage targets of destroyer size and bears a close resemblance to the Russian-made three-stage submarine-launched 3M-54 (SS-N-27A ‘Sizzler’) missile. The canister seen on the CCTV footage also resembles that used by the Russian submarine-launched missile.
In its 2017 report titled ‘Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China’, the US Department of Defense (DoD) states that the YJ-18 has a range of 290 n miles (537 km), and “will be fielded on Song-class (Type 039/039G), Yuan-class (Type 039A/B/C), and Shang-class (Type 093/093A/093B) submarines”.
The missile is also being fielded by the PLAN Luyang III (Type 052D) and Renhai (Type 055) classes of destroyer.
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