China tests DF-31A ICBM with MIRV

Discussion in 'China' started by ice berg, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. ice berg

    ice berg Senior Member Senior Member

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    http://freebeacon.com/manchu-missile-launch/

    MANCHU MISSILE LAUNCH
    China test fires new long-range missile
    BY: Bill Gertz
    August 15, 2012 5:00 am

    China’s military conducted the first flight test of a new long-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that U.S. officials say will be Beijing’s first strategic missile armed with multiple warheads.

    The flight test of the DF-41 road-mobile ICBM occurred July 24 and is raising new concerns within the U.S. military and intelligence agencies over China’s long-range missile threat, according to officials familiar with reports of the test.

    The DF-41 missile is a first-strike nuclear capability, based on its mobility, estimated range, targeting precision, and multiple warheads.

    In addition to shorter-range ICBMs known as the DF-31 and DF-31A, which are believed to target India and Russia, the new ICBM is said by U.S. officials to be designed to hit U.S. targets with multiple nuclear warheads.

    China has claimed it will not be the first to use nuclear weapons and that its nuclear forces are designed for a counterstrike against a nuclear attack on its territory.

    The DF-41 development has called into question the so-called no-first-use policy, officials said.

    The test is also likely to renew debate within U.S. intelligence circles about whether China is seeking only a limited nuclear force, or is secretly building up its nuclear forces to challenge U.S. strategic power.

    The new missile bolsters China’s strategic forces, making them among the most diverse in the world, with a variety of short-, medium-, intermediate-, and intercontinental-range missiles.

    China also has developed ground-launched anti-satellite missiles and a unique anti-ship ballistic missile with enough accuracy to hit U.S. aircraft carriers at sea.

    It is also believed that the DF-41 is part of efforts by China to develop missiles that can defeat U.S. strategic missile defenses. The Pentagon currently has a limited system capable of stopping a few North Korean ICBMs.

    Former military intelligence official Larry Wortzel, a member of the congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, said the DF-41′s multiple warheads are expected to include special simulated warheads called “penetration aids” that are designed counter U.S. missile defense sensors.

    The DF-41 “is mobile and will be very hard to detect and counter because of that mobility,” Wortzel said. “The warhead array will most certainly include penetration aids.”

    A Pentagon spokeswoman declined to comment on the missile test.

    Details of the flight test could not be learned.

    However, past China flight tests of long-range missiles involved launches from the Wuzhai Space and Missile Test Center that flew west into the far western Chinese desert several thousand miles away. Analysts say such flight tests are often shortened by limiting the time the first stage fires in order to keep the missile within Chinese territory.

    Purported photos of China’s DF-41

    “There are credible references to a DF-41 program in the Chinese literature,” said Mark Stokes, a former Pentagon official and specialist on China’s strategic nuclear systems.

    “The system appears to incorporate a new, larger solid rocket motor than that used on the DF-31 series of delivery vehicles. Ground tests on the motor have been underway for a couple of years.”

    Stokes, executive director of the Project 2049 Institute, said the Chinese military’s Second Artillery Corps, which is in charge of both strategic and non-nuclear missiles, is working to integrate the DF-41 into its operational inventory.

    “Tentative indications exist that the Second Artillery force has established an operational test and evaluation unit in southern Henan Province,” he said.

    Stokes said it is not clear whether the current DF-41 program is similar to an earlier program in the 1990s that was believed to have been converted into the less-capable DF-31A missile, “but it looks real.”

    U.S. intelligence analysts suspect the DF-41 is based on Russia’s long-range mobile missile known as the SS-27 and that Russian missile guidance technology—either purchased or stolen by Chinese spies—is part of the system.

    Phillip Karber, a Georgetown University professor who has studied Chinese nuclear programs, said the DF-41 test could signal a major boost in estimates of China’s strategic nuclear forces.

    Purported photos of China’s DF-41

    Karber said it is likely the DF-41 will carry three warheads, and if the Chinese follow Russia’s model of building three re-load missiles for each launcher, the number of Chinese strategic warheads could more than double from current levels.

    A future DF-41 force of some 32 missiles with reloads and multiple warheads would be enough for China to target every U.S. city with a population over 50,000 people, Karber said.

    “If the Chinese end up developing that kind of counter-value posture against American cities, and we do not build missile defenses against it, it spells the end of extended nuclear deterrence for Asia,” Karber said. The result would be a likely nuclear arms race in Asia.

    Richard Fisher, a specialist on the Chinese military affairs, said the DF-41 has been under development since 1986, but the U.S. government is only now recognizing it.

    “Pentagon reticence to disclose information about this missile is further confused by the fact that Chinese Internet source images of the 18-wheel Transporter-Erector-Launcher (TEL) for this missile have been available since 2007,” said Fisher, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center. “There are now four distinct images of this TEL that show it is a very large mobile ICBM, similar in size to modern Russian mobile ICBMs.”

    Fisher said the DF-41 test is probably the missile referenced briefly in the Pentagon’s 2011 annual report on the Chinese military but omitted from this year’s abbreviated report to Congress.

    In addition to the DF-31 and DF-31A, “China may also be developing a new road-mobile ICBM, possibly capable of carrying a multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV),” the Pentagon report said.

    The website missilethreat.com reported that the DF-41 can be armed with up to 10 MIRV warheads.

    The DF-41 “is easily capable of striking the United States and will likely become the core of the PRC’s nuclear strike force,” Missilethreat.com stated in its assessment.

    Its maximum range is estimated to be 8,699 miles, enough to reach targets throughout the United States from mobile launchers in eastern or northern China.

    China, to date, has not been known to place multiple warheads on its missiles, but obtained technology from the United States in the 1990s for launching multiple satellites on a launcher that U.S. officials say provides a base for MIRV warheads.

    China also obtained through espionage details of the U.S. W-88 small nuclear warhead in the 1990s, according to U.S. intelligence assessments. The W-88 is used on U.S. submarine-launched ballistic missiles and is considered suitable for multiple-warhead missiles.

    China’s total nuclear warhead force is unknown. U.S. intelligence agencies estimate there are between 300 and 400 warheads in the Chinese arsenal.

    However, the actual number could be far higher, based on recent disclosures that China has built 3,000 miles of underground tunnels and nuclear facilities throughout the country.

    Purported photos of China’s DF-41

    Fisher said he was told by a foreign military source in 2010 that the new long-range mobile missile could carry as many as 10 warheads, which means U.S. estimates of Chinese warhead stockpiles may be low.

    “So if you assume that a PLA Second Artillery contains 18 ICBM size missiles, that could mean an increase of 180 warheads per deployed brigade,” Fisher said.

    “Judging from the PLA production rate for the DF-31A ICBM, it appears they could easily produce up to one new brigade per year. So if we assume that testing transitions to continuous production and deployment by 2015, then it is plausible that the DF-41 alone could account for up to 900 warheads by 2020.”

    China’s warhead force for long-range missiles could be has high as 1,032, based on the number of submarines and mobile missile brigades China is deploying, Fisher said.

    “These are plausible estimates; they may or may not happen, [but] the point is that we don’t know for sure, and the PLA has made crystal clear that it does not want to talk to the U.S. government about its current or future nuclear missile capabilities,” Fisher said.

    In addition to China’s refusal to hold strategic nuclear talks, Beijing also may be engaged in a “massive deception” that Fisher says is highlighted by the 3,000 miles of underground nuclear tunnels to support nuclear and military forces.

    The flight test of the DF-41 also undermined the analysis of some specialists who have sought to play down China’s nuclear ambitions.

    For example, the Federation of American Scientists reported in 2008 that the DF-41 program was canceled.

    The trade publication Jane’s Strategic Weapons Systems reported in February that the DF-41 would replace China’s older, silo-based strategic missiles, known as the DF-5 and DF-5A.

    “The development for DF-41 is believed to be managed by the China Aerospace Sciences and Industry Corporation (CASIC), Beijing,” Jane’s stated in its report.

    “The flight test program is managed by the Second Artillery Corps, based at the Wuzhai test center in Shanxi province. There was one reported ground test and a simulated cold launch in October 1999, but no test flights have been reported.”

    Initially, the DF-41 was described as a missile built from the first two stages of the DF-31 with a lengthened third stage.

    “But it is now believed that this description referred to the DF-31A, and that the DF-41 is a new design,” Jane’s stated, noting that both road mobile launchers and railroad car launchers could be used.
    This entry was posted in National Security and tagged Bill Gertz, China, Defense, Missile, Nuclear. Bookmark the permalink.

    More money for the missile shield?:scared2:
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2012
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  3. Known_Unknown

    Known_Unknown Devil's Advocate Stars and Ambassadors

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    I'm more interested in knowing what the 3000 miles of underground tunnels are for. Moving missiles around? I doubt it.
     
  4. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Storage in dry places to extend missile life and also provide a shield against a first strike.

    Relocation is also possible.
     
    W.G.Ewald likes this.
  5. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    This author is wrong DF-31a was a MIRV 'd ICBM

    MissileThreat :: CSS-9 (DF-31/DF-31A)
     
  6. J20!

    J20! Senior Member Senior Member

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    They were built to ensure the survivability of China's second strike capability. China has a No-First-Use policy. Which basically means you're going to have to take one hell of a punch before you can hit back. And since China's nuclear arsenal is mostly land based, those tunnels ensure that a significant portion of land based missiles will survive any nuclear strike.

    Plus the added bonus of ambiguity. No one but the Second Artillery Corps knows how many ballistic missile are hiding in those tunnels...
     
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  7. tony4562

    tony4562 Tihar Jail Banned

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    Building a MIRV should really be no big deal for China technologically, after all this is 1960's technology and China herself has had true ICBMs for 3 decades now. But politically the chinese leaders seem to be content with single warhead delivery systems, and I don't think that policy is going to change any time soon. Also one needs to realize that Bill Gertz is not exactly a source for trust worthy information about PLA.
     
  8. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Only reported in The Free Beacon?
     
  9. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

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    can you see the hypocrisy ? claims non first strike and just tested a first strike ICBM

    what are we doing having friendly relations with such a shouldnt be neighbour ?

    can we trust their words ?
     
  10. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    A missile is a missile. Words are an author's missile. The need to identify the right from the wrong is paramount.

    First strike or second strike is doctrine dependent. Any country that claims a No First Use policy does so only on paper and this includes India.

    When push comes to shove, first strike and second strike just turn to strike.
     
  11. J20!

    J20! Senior Member Senior Member

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    You were all boasting about how the "great" 5000km range Agni 5 was the next coming of Jesus himself, and when China builds something with twice its range and quadruple its throw weight we're hypocrites?

    It seems you're being quite the hypocrite yourself.

    Even if it could carry a hundred warheads and go around the world twice, a No-First-Use Policy means that it will still be counted as adding to China's second-strike capability.

    The ability of the any future DF41 and DF31/31A arsenal to hit every mildly significant city in the US once they emerge from those 3000km long reinforced tunnels will make any US president think long and hard before punching in those launch codes, don't you think?

    That's the definition of nuclear deterrence.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2012
  12. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    First, you have to ask what makes a missile first strike ICBM while others disqualified?

    Do we have friendly relations between 2 countries? At least, I don't feel it in this forum.

    Same question could be asked by Chinese: can we trust your words?
     
  13. Broccoli

    Broccoli Regular Member

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    Yes, and article was written by the Bill "warhawk" Gertz who believes that US should design and test new nuclear warheads. Chinese officials told that there was a missile test, but they did say that it was routine flight tests of their missiles (DF-31?). Jane's based their news piece on Gertz's report.
     
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  14. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    How many warheads are on this missile?? Chinese have not been able to MIRV more than 3.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  15. cinoti

    cinoti Tihar Jail Banned

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    you know Chinese better than Chinese, admire.
     
  16. Broccoli

    Broccoli Regular Member

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    It's not known for sure if DF-31A is MIRV'd. After 90's tests NAIC estimated that DF-31 RV weights 470kg and the yield is 500kt-700kt, that figure is based on 1992 high yield test. There has been claims that DF-31 warhead has a 1MT yield (like that site), but after reading about these issues I haven't managed to find source for that 1MT yield claim.

    It could be that DF-31A is carrying a smaller and lighter 300kt warhead instead of that bigger one developed for DF-31.
    China's Nuclear Weapons


    Looking at the DF-31 you can see the RV.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    DF-31A has a shroud covering the RV... or perhaps multiple RV's. It's impossible to say if this missile is MIRV'd or not.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
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  17. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    How do the Japanese know the details of a Chinese nuclear test?
     
  18. Broccoli

    Broccoli Regular Member

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    Most likely seismic data and other means. Already in 1960's yanks could tell just by samples collected from air (with U-2's) how Chinese manufactured and what kinda triggers they used in their weapons. Japanese probably used similar means to collect data from Chinese test during the 1990's.
     
  19. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    In an underground test?
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  20. Broccoli

    Broccoli Regular Member

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    Yes, even in the underground tests there is usually something leaking to the air.

    Here is one example.
    BBC News - North Korea's nuclear tests
     
  21. cinoti

    cinoti Tihar Jail Banned

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    You should educate yourself what first strike is, it is a notion to tell apart from second strick. it is not suggesting who strikes first, but the first round of strikes. by the way, SSBNs are considered second strike.
     

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