Type 093 (Shang-class) SSN

YULIN NAVAL BASE, HAINAN, CHINA (August 18, 2020) – A  Chinese Type 093 (Shang-class) nuclear-powered attack submarine photographed by a commercial satellite as it slips into the People’s Liberation Army’s Navy underground submarine base.

Two tugboats assist the submarine as it navigates the narrow entrance to what is understood to be a very sophisticated underground facility supporting China’s submarine fleet. According to rumors, the underground facility can handle up to 20 nuclear-powered submarines.

Naval Ensign of the People’s Army’s Navy

The other Chinese sub pens for nuclear boats is located at Jianggezhuang Naval Base, 15 miles (24 km) east of Qingdao on the Yellow Sea. The base spans a bay 1.2 miles (1.9 km) across, with the main facilities located in the eastern portion of the bay. There are six piers, a dry dock, various service facilities and an underground submarine tunnel.

The North Koreans also have extensive underground sub pens. There are advantages and disadvantages to building tunnels to the sorts of facilities one sees in a James Bond movie. Usually there is a “secret” exit that can be blasted out, with a channel that will lead to the open sea.


  1. Sub pens are great, except they have rather severe choke points. And knowing the length and maneuverability of subs housed within gives you a basic idea of the interior shape. There’s only so much you can do and have a supported ceiling.

    Thus, there’s only a few places for a secret entrance. Shame that we now have a new class of deep penetraters that fit within an X-37B or on a convenient launch vehicle.

    • I miss my old job.
      I didn’t work the China shop, I spent time in the Korea shop.

      I did my usual with Google Earth…..I can spend days with that
      I can only imagine that complex, but I’d love to see with more detailed imagery

      I can already note the entrances, the ventilators….the whole mountain
      over 3000 ft between the sea entrance to the land side access

      Not too mention, the sea entrance is about 50 to 70 feet wide…..very tight for a sub

      The one thing, I wish I could ask.
      There appears to be no Rail infrastructure,

      • They sail them out of the pens to shipyards (and don’t pin me down to which one) when they need to have serious work done. You don’t want to do any sort of genuine maintenance or hull work inside of those facilities – it’s not what they were designed for.

        If your submarines are not spending that much time at sea, facilities such as those two mentioned, might be a good idea, but you’re putting the nuclear powered eggs in two baskets and if you’re worried about first strikes…well, enough said.

    • I don’t know about the Chinese pens. I know about the Nork pens, but received that in a classified format from the ROK’s. So can’t discuss details.

      Sub pens are complicated things and if they’re not carefully flushed, they become sewers full of bacteria, oil, solvents and kimchi. My understanding is that they were not built for hygiene, and if that answers the question, then good.

  2. speaker Pelosi called trump and the gop white house “enemies of the state” and and quoted the foreign and domestic oath in an interview today. last week they were shopping for generals to pop off a coup. do you think maybe they found one and plan to try it? sure looks like trying to soften up the old base to get used to the idea. i’m shocked she didn’t get struck by lightning or turn into a frog, okay more of a frog….

    • She’s a toad.

      Pelosi is in a panic because people are telling her that the GOP convention is winning donkeys to the cause and the DNC convention was a flop.

      I think that a military coup is unlikely with the failed FBI coup in the R/V mirror. Another four year Trump term means that the investigations will be completed – likely with majorities in both houses of Congress.

      • noted, thanks. i was about ready to ruck up and head north to help cover the prez’s back, lol. i think i need a vacation.

  3. more related to your post, this makes me cringe to think that commercial companies are doing this because surely they are selling the same to the chinese.

    • Selling to anyone who will buy the imagery. The Chinese have their own satellites, as do the Russians. The imaging capacity of a KH11 or KH12 is considerably better than the capacity that these civilian satellites possess.

    • I don’t know. You might want to use a small crawler rather than a standard submersible. You know that the Chinese must have a sophisticated Inshore Undersea Warfare (US term) arrangement covering the area. Though whether it works is another question.

      It’s a Chinese problem. If something breaks, accusing the company who made it of making something that broke could be trouble for you – personally. SO they leave it broken. Face and reputation is satisfied.

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