Satellite images suggest China may have developed new class of nuclear-powered submarine

Satellite images of a Chinese shipyard suggest the country may have developed a new class of nuclear-powered attack submarines, Reuters reported Tuesday.

The images clearly show a submarine in dry dock, but shrouds over key areas of the vessel make it difficult to determine whether it is an entirely new class of ship or merely an upgrade to an existing model, according to Reuters. The changes in question relate to adding vertical-launching missile tubes for guided missiles as well as an upgraded propulsion system.

The images were captured at China’s Huludao Port in the Liaoning province. The parts of the ship that would house both the launch tubes and propulsion are covered with what appears to be green tarp. The propulsion upgrade, if applied, would replace traditional spinning propellors with quieter pump-jets, according to Reuters.

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