China conducted the first test flight of its next-generation JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in late November, according to report published on the Washington Free Beacon website on 18 December.
Citing unnamed defence officials, the test firing was detected by US missile-launch warning satellites and monitored by US intelligence agencies.
The media report is difficult to verify as no information on a JL-3 test firing has been forthcoming from China, and an official Pentagon spokesman declined to comment on the issue. However, a replacement for the JL-2, the SLBM in use by the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), has been anticipated for some time.
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