JL-2 is not of the same generation as the Trident D5 and should not be compared to it. It is possibly not even comparable to the Trident C4 either. IMO it's more comparable to the earlier generation Poseidon, which had less range than JL-2 but far larger payload (10-14 MIRVs). With a complement of only 3 MIRVs its range would be similar to or even greater than that of the JL-2. The JL-3 would be the same generation as the Trident D5 with similar ranges and payloads. Meanwhile the first generation JL-1 was far less capable than the first generation Polaris. In other words, Chinese SLBM technology is roughly skipping an equivalent US generation with each new iteration of missile:The JL-2 is considerably smaller than Trident II D-5 , Bulava or even the M51 SLBM. Certainly a missile barely capable of touching the 7000 to 8000 km range mark.
JL-3 ought to be/ should be able to touch the 10,000 km mark.
They usually mention if missile is MIRV capable but apparently they didn't do that when JL-2 and DF-31AG rolled trough parade.Satellite imagery of the missile containers as they lined up for the parade, scaled up to GE measurements of DF31, scaled up to GE imagery of surroundings in same location and to street imagery df31 containers (to their trucks/tyres, which have published figures for their civilian variants) suggest to me the following figures:
DF-31A around 15.5 m long, 2.8 m wide.
JL-2 12.5 m long, 2.5 m wide.
Container is surely a bit wider than the missile itself, but for JL-2 we should still be talking about ~11 m long missile, around 2 meters wide.
Poseidon missile was 10.4 m long and 1.9 m wide.
Trident I was basically the same dimensions, off by perhaps a decimeter, and slightly heavier.
Trident II is 13.5 m long, 2.1 m wide. over 12 000
M45 missile is 11 m long, 1.9 m wide.
Range figures are, of course, always very hard to verify. So we don't know if the following data, usually regurgitated online is correct:
Poseidon 5900 km (with 10 warheads?) 4600 km (with 14?)
Trident I 7400 km (with how many warheads? 8? )
Trident II over 12 000 km (with how many warheads? 10-14?)
M45 6000 km (with 6 warheads?)
We have also claim on the Layner missile - doing 12 000 km with a light load (a few hundred kg?) or 8300 km with max load (2800 kg throw weight) Missile itself weight 40 tons. While a different kind of missile, it's still interesting to see how much of a range extension can a light load have, even if it is not directly comparable to other missiles.
Therefore, from all the above, my guess about JL-2 would be:
7000-8000 km range with single warhead, depending on Chinese warhead miniaturization tech maturity - if missile tech itself comparable to 1960s Poseidon. (M45, despite being newer seems to have roughly same capability to me)
9000-10 000 km range with single warhead, same as above - if missile tech comparable to 1979 Trident I
Multiple warheads are probably not used in JL-2 in my opinion, as throw weight is simply not sufficient, and range is likely the main focus.
With the above being said, and the fact we're seeing more 094 subs being built, I'd say it's likely some modified JL-2A is going to be used on those subs. Probably using newer tech used in JL-3, both missile and warhead tech. So we may very well see a 10 000 km ranged JL-2 eventually. Even if it's not in use today. But even today I'd say chances are JL-2 can reach over 8000 km with a single warhead.