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China launches second possible Type 093B hull

Planet imagery showing Type 093 SSN hull 8 during launch at Huludao shipyard in China. This is possibly the second Type 093B hull. (Planet Labs PBC/Janes)

China launched the eighth Type 093 Shang-class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) at Huludao shipyard in northern China between 13 and 18 January 2023. This is the second Type 093 hull to be launched from the new assembly halls on the eastern side of the harbour.

On 11 January, the SSN was brought out to the graving dock where it was visible on a floating transfer platform with a section behind the sail partially covered. After launch, the hull was relocated to the fitting-out pier on the western side of the harbour by 18 January.

While it remains unclear whether the hull has a vertical launch system (VLS), the 2021 and 2022 annual China military report published by the US Office of the Secretary of Defense stated that a Type 093B guided-missile nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSGN) was expected by the mid-2020s.

Planet satellite imagery shows the new hull is 110 m in length, with an approximate beam of 10 m, similar to the seventh Type 093 hull launched in May 2022. After relocation to the fitting-out pier, the hull had a waterline measurement of 105 m.

The Huludao shipyard returned to Type 093 fabrication after two Type 094 SSBNs were produced between 2017 and 2021. According to satellite imagery, the Type 093s were previously in production between 2000 and 2002 and between 2013 and 2017 with two and four built, respectively.

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