Satellite imagery captures a single Chinese nuclear submarine entering the & # 39; Bond Lair & # 39; cave complex. retracts – but all other berths are empty, raising fears that the submarines are shadowing the US fleet
- New photos show the Yulin Naval Base on Hainan Island in China
- For the first time you can see a submarine entering a network of underwater caves
- Experts believe that the "James Bond Lair" was built around 12 years ago
- U-boats have been seen at the berths before, but never enter the caves
The first known images of a submarine entering a notorious Chinese "Bond Cave" of underwater caves were published online.
In the images that first appeared on Radio Free Asia's social media channels, they were analyzed by The War Zone.
They were recorded at the Yulin Naval Base on Hainan Island – an extremely important strategic base with a capacity for 20 submarines.
Tyler Rogoway, the website's editor, said he had previously seen photos of the area but never saw pictures of a submarine entering the cave network under the mountain where the base is located.
"Although I have seen satellite images of lane vessels being removed from the opening, we have never seen one with a submarine actually using them," he wrote.
The sub is believed to be a Shang Class / Type 093 nuclear attack submarine
At the bottom of the photo is the outline of the submarine going into the cave
Rogoway said the submarine in the photos was a Shang-class / Type 093 nuclear attack submarine.
He also noticed that all of the other submarine berths were empty – a most unusual detail.
It has been speculated that the submarines might be on patrol or within the mountain complex.
Little is known about the interior of the complex.
In 2008, the Federation of American Scientists speculated that the cave complex likely includes a canal at least the length of a submarine, as well as halls for handling or possibly storage of equipment and rooms for personnel.
Yulin Naval Base is home to one of several well-known submarine networks
There are several land entrances directly on the other side of the mountain, which may also be connected to the central facility, the FAS wrote in a blog post, emphasizing that nothing is known for sure.
The tunnels under Yulin, built at least 12 years ago, are not China's only submarine cave base.
The submarine shown in the pictures is believed to be a 093 nuclear submarine like this one
A Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) submarine off Great Wall 236 in April 2019
A second large underwater tunnel complex is located in the Jianggezhuang Naval Base near Qingdao, according to Forbes.
In addition, the submarine base on Xiachuan Dao has a small tunnel right inside the harbor wall.
And a shipyard that repairs large warships and submarines near the submarine base in Xiangshan also has a tunnel.
China is not alone in using submarine tunnels.
Sweden, Taiwan, North Korea and Iran are believed to use similar facilities.
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