China's New Diesel-Electric Sub Deemed World's Largest

China’s PLA Navy has achieved yet another milestone by building the world’s biggest conventional submarine.

A photo of a Type 032 Qing-class test submarine published by Military, a US-based site about global military developments, suggests it has surpassed an earlier Japanese record for the world’s largest conventional submarine.

The Type 032 Qing-class submarine is designed to replace the Golf-class ballistic missile submarine. Its submerged displacement of 6,628 tons makes the Qing-class the world’s largest diesel-electric submarine. It entered service with PLAN last October 16 and is set to conduct weapons tests this year. Its development had begun in 2005 and was completed in 2010.

The prior size record had been held by the Imperial Japanese Navy’s I-400 which had been built during World War II specifically for the purpose of launching air attacks on Pearl Harbor. The I-400 was large enough to carry three Aichi M6A1 Seiran sea-planes.

PLAN’s Type 032 will be able to launch the JL-2A sub-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), CJ-20A cruise missiles and the YJ-18 anti-ship missile.

The Type 32 is a potential threat to the US because it can remain submerged for up to 30 days, giving it the potential to infiltrate Pacific waters close enough to the US to target it with JL-2A missiles which have a range of 4,500 miles.