(UPI) -- Chinese nuclear subs were seen for the first time in nearly 40 years this week during a tour of the fleet given to China's state-run broadcaster.
CCTV carried coverage two days starting Sunday on the People's Liberation Army's Beihai fleet. Chinese military technology has long been shrouded in mystery, so the news program is "unprecedented" and demonstrates China's "confidence in its sea-based nuclear strike capability."
"[It] serves as a deterrent to any attempted provocation amid the changing geopolitical situation", the CCTV report quoted military observers as saying.
During the tour, they conducted simulated military drills and training exercises. The submarines displayed were models employed in the 1980s. The navy will replace them with Jin-class submarines and the Tang-class, which is still in development.
“The submarine programs mentioned are from the first generation, the Type 091 or Han class nuclear attack sub and the Type 092 or Xia class nuclear ballistic missile submarine,” said Richard Fisher, Jr., a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center.
Experts said the submarines are not as technologically advanced as those of the U.S. and Russia, but are better than French and British ones.
State media said the submarines would “gallop to the depths of the ocean, serving as mysterious forces igniting the sound of thunder in the deep sea,” and would be used as an “assassin’s mace that would make adversaries tremble.”