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Video footage emerges of new Chinese submarine

Video footage posted on the TikTok social media platform appears to confirm that a new conventionally powered submarine featuring a distinctive fin design has been built for China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).

The short video shows the submarine during a river transit, likely on the Yangtze, secured to two accompanying vessels.

A photograph of the same submarine first appeared in early May showing the boat at the Wuchang shipyard in Wuhan prior to launch. Although the railings of the bridge from which the photograph was taken partly obscured the submarine, the image appeared to show a new fin design with distinctive chines, which is similar to that of the Saab Kockums A26 submarine under construction for the Swedish Navy.

The Wuhan shipyard is located 850 km inland on the Yangtze River. The appearance of a new submarine at the yard was surprising as the Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group Company has expanded its facilities at Shuangliu, 50 km downstream, where submarine construction was in progress by early 2019, prior to the planned closure and redevelopment of the site in downtown Wuhan.

It is unclear when the first photograph and subsequent video of the new submarine were taken. In addition, no open-source satellite imagery has appeared to establish when the new hull emerged at the yard.

Satellite imagery would also enable the length of the submarine to be measured and establish whether the new boat is a further development of the PLAN's Type 039A/B (Yuan)-class, which seems likely, or a more significant redesign.

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