On December 26,1970, the Chinese launched the first nuclear-powered attack submarine, which is the first Han class nuclear-powered attack submarine. On August 1, 1974, the Central Military Commission issued an order to name the nuclear submarine “Long March No.1”, and enlisted it into the navy commission.
The overall design of “Long March No.1” began from 1966, and lasted a total of 5 years since the submarine was constructed while it was designed. The first ship lofting was set in the shipyard in May 1968 and the entity construction started in November. The first stage was to build each part of the boat as the whole boat is divided into 11 parts. In April 1970, the overall water test completed. The crossway parallel operations were adopted in the second stage to install the equipments, form the host, cables, instruments to nuclear reactor components. The third stage was terminal mooring trial. In March 1971 fitting-out in water completed, followed by the reactor loading. In June, the reactor reached a critical state. The nuclear-powered submarine went to sea on August 23 for the first navigating experiment, carrying out the water surface navigation having been in progress successively navigates, the periscope’s depth diving and the deep diving trial. The whole process of navigation was smooth and the function of the boat was fine. In January 1974, the nuclear-powered submarine joined the navy, carried out its trial fight, then took service in August in the same year.
The success of he first nuclear-powered submarine indicated Chinese naval ships and boats equipment technology having arrived at a new stage, showing Chinese People’s determination of catching up with and surpassing the advanced world levels. Chinese navy has owned nuclear-powered submarine, and China has become the fifth country who owns a nuclear-powered submarine in the world.
“Long March No. 1” (No. 401) is the first Han Class nuclear-powered attack submarine (Type 091) in China. Type 091 Han Class submarines are first generation nuclear-powered submarines of Chinese navy. All five units of this class were deployed with the North Sea Fleet of Qingdao. With a fully loaded displacement of 5000 tons, this class is armed with six 533mm torpedo tubes. Work started on the Type 091 Han Class nuclear-powered attack submarine in the late 1950s, though the first unit was not completed until 1974. The lead boats (No. 401 & 402), relatively noisy submarines based on 1950s and 1060s technology, suffered radiation problems, so from 403 onwards (“Long March-III, IV, V”) the hull was greatly improved and extended 8 meters. The Xia Class submarines were based on the Han Class units. The first units of this class (401 & 402) had certainly been withdrawn from service, possibly in 2005, while the three newest boats (403, 404 and 405) remained in service after their mid-life refits and renovations.