And there are now reports that China has finally tested the JuLang-2 (JL-2
) submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM
). Long in development, the JL-2, with its 5000 mile range, would give China’s nuclear arm much greater reach. With up to five of the new Type 094 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs
) entering service, the combination of new subs and new missiles would give China a substantially more secure second-strike capability than it has hitherto enjoyed. But it would also mark a significant expansion of China’s nuclear weapons force, which had previously fielded less than a score of long-range ICBMs
capable of reaching the United States.