The Type 032 Qing-class test submarine. (Internet photo)
Military Photos.net, a website dedicated to global military development based in the United States, has published photos to suggest that China's PLA Navy has recently constructed the world's largest conventional submarine.
The submarine shown in the photo is claimed to be a Type 032 Qing-class test submarine, designed as a new diesel-electric ballistic missile submarine to replace the older Golf-class submarines. With a submerged displacement of 6,628 tonnes, the Qing-class is currently the largest diesel-electric submarine in the world. The development of the submarine began in 2005 and was completed in 2010. It entered service with the PLA Navy on Oct. 16 last year and is ready to conduct weapons tests this year.
Before the Type 032, the I-400 of the Imperial Japanese Navy constructed during World War II was the largest diesel-electric submarine ever built. With the ability to carry three Aichi M6A1 Seiran sea-planes, the I-400 was designed to launch air attacks against the Panama Canal. China's Type 032 will be able to launch various weapons including the JL-2A submarine-launched ballistic missile, CJ-20A cruise missiles and the YJ-18 anti-ship missile.
Military Photos.net noted that the submarine is able to remain submerged for up to 30 days and could become a deadly threat to the national security of the United States. Although the JL-2A with its range of 4,500 miles cannot reach the continental United States when launched from the coast of China, it could do so if the missile were launched from a Qing-class submarine off Hawaii.