Type 092 Xia Class

The Type 092 (or Type 09-II, NATO codename: Xia class) is China’s 1st-generation nuclear-powered missile submarine, with a single hull delivered in the 1980s. Due to its limited capability and operational readiness, the submarine severed primarily as a technology demonstrator rather than for operational deployment. A total of 12 Ju Lang-1 (JL-1, CSS-N-3) submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) can be carried onboard.


The PLA Navy set out a two-phase development plan in the 1960s for its nuclear-powered submarine programme, with the first phase aiming for the development of a nuclear-powered attacked submarine, and upon its success followed by a nuclear-powered missile submarine as part of China’s nuclear deterrence. Construction of the Type 092 nuclear missile submarine began at Huludao Shipyard in September 1970.

The Type 092 was largely based on the hull design of the Type 091, with only 15% of the contents onboard being newly-developed. The hull of the submarine was stretched to accommodate the missile launch tubes and support systems. The most complex part of the submarine was the underwater missile launch system, which was designed and developed by Wuhan-based 713 Institute. The submarine’s navigation systems (initial, stellar and satellite) was developed by Tianjin-based 707 Institute.

The construction of the Type 092 was trouble-prone, partially due to the tremendous technical complexity and difficulty, but also caused by the political turmoil of the ‘Cultural Revolution’. The first and only hull Chang Zheng 6 (pennant No. 406) was not launched until early 1981, a decade after its construction began. The submarine was officially commissioned into the PLA Navy service in 1983.

The Type 092 has two rows of six vertical missile launch tubes situated behind the sail under the raised deck. The JL-1 is a two-stage, solid-propellant SLBM, capable of delivering a warhead of 25 to 50 kT yield to a maximum range of 2,150 km with an accuracy of 600 m CEP. The first successful tech launch of the missile from land-based launch pad took place in 1981, and first successful underwater launch from a Type 033 (Golf class) diesel-electric missile submarine took place in October 1982. The first successful underwater launch from the Type 092 took place on 15 September 1987.

The submarine has been based at the Jianggezhuang nuclear submarine base near Qingdao since its commission. The submarine only saw limited operations at sea and has never sailed beyond China’s offshore waters. The submarine received a modernisation refit in 1995 to 2001 to be fitted with the improved JL-1A SLBM with a maximum range of 2,500 km and improved accuracy.

With a single hull, it would not be possible for the PLA to establish an effective underwater nuclear strike capability, which requires no less than three submarines to guarantee that at least one of them is in operational deployment at any time. Nevertheless, the Type 092 provided the PLA with knowhow and experience in the design and construction of nuclear-powered missile submarines, which paved the way for the introduction of the 2nd-generaton Type 094 in the 2000s.



  • 12x vertical missile launch tube
    • JL-1 two-stage, solid-propellant SLBM, single 25 to 50 kT yield warhead, 2,150 km range, 600 m CEP
    • JL-1A 2,500 km range
  • 6x 533 mm torpedo tube, carrying 20 torpedoes or 36 mines
    • Yu-1 (Type 53-51), unguided to 9.2 km at 39 kt or 3.7 km at 51 kt; warhead 400 kg
    • Yu-3 (SET-65E), active/passive homing to 15 km at 40 kt; warhead 205 kg

Mission Systems

  • Multi-purpose combat data and command system for submarine control and weapon firing
  • Fire-control system for SLBM aiming and firing
  • Surface search radar (NATO code name: ‘Snoop Tray’), I-band
  • Type 603/604 bow-mounted, medium-frequency sonar for active/passive search and attack
  • Chinese copy of the French DUUX-5 low frequency sonar, passive ranging and intercept
  • Type 921-A radar warning receiver and direction-finder


  • Nuclear with turbo-electric arrangement
  • 1x Pressurised water reactor (PWR) rated at 90MW
  • One shaft, with a 4-blade propeller


  • PLA Designation: Type 092, or Type 09-II
  • NATO code name: Xia class
  • Type: Nuclear-powered missile submarine (SSBN)
  • Designer: CSIC China Ship Design & Research Centre (701 Institute)
  • Builders: CSIC Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industry Co., Ltd.
  • In commission: 1983
  • Number: 1
  • Displacement (t): 5,500 (surfaced), 6,500 (dived)
  • Length (m): 120
  • Beam (m): 10
  • Draft (m): 8
  • Speed (knots): 12 (surfaced), 22 (dived)
  • Range (nm): N/A
  • Crew: 140


Name            No.    Builder   Fleet   Launched     Commissioned
Chang Zheng 6   406    Bh        NSF     1981-04-30   1983-08-01

Bh.....Bohai Shipuard

NSF....North Sea Fleet


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