China Conducts Second Flight Test of New Long-Range Missile-DF41

sam919

Regular Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2010
Messages
48
Likes
4
China Conducts Second Flight Test of New Long-Range Missile | Washington Free Beacon

China Conducts Second Flight Test of New Long-Range Missile
DF-41 is second test of road-mobile, likely MIRV-capable ICBM

China's military conducted the second flight test of its newest long-range missile that is capable of hitting targets in the United States with a nuclear warhead, according to defense officials.

The flight test of the new Dong Feng-41, or DF-41, took place Friday from the Wuzhai missile launch center in Shanxi province to an impact range in western China, said officials familiar with details of the tests.

It was the second test of the new, road-mobile, long-range ICBM that U.S. intelligence agencies assess will be outfitted with up to 10 multiple, independently-targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs.

Prior to Friday's flight test, the last DF-41 flight test took place July 24, 2012.

Pentagon spokesmen did not return emails seeking comment on the missile test.

The most recent test indicates that China's long-range missile development is continuing, and the missile is raising new concerns about China's professed nuclear doctrine of not being the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict.

Disclosure of the nuclear missile flight test comes as tensions remain heightened between the United States and China over the near collision between the USS Cowpens, a guided missile cruiser, and a Chinese navy tank landing ship in the South China Sea on Dec. 5.

The State Department and Pentagon protested the incident, which involved the Chinese ship stopping in the path of the Cowpens, forcing the cruiser to make an abrupt maneuver to avoid a collision. The incident took place near China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning.

The DF-41, with its range of between 6,835 miles and 7,456 miles and expected multiple-warhead capability, is viewed as a potential "first strike" weapon, or a weapon capable of carrying out a surprise nuclear attack that would knock out an enemy's arsenal and limit its counterstrike capability.

A report by the Air Force National Air and Space Intelligence Center made public in May referred to China's development of a new long-range missile with multiple warheads, in addition to current long-range DF-31 and DF-31A mobile ICBMs.

"China has the most active and diverse ballistic missile development program in the world," the NASCI report said. "It is developing and testing offensive missiles, forming additional missile units, qualitatively upgrading missile systems, and developing methods to counter ballistic missile defenses."

"The Chinese ballistic missile force is expanding in both size and types of missiles."

Without mentioning the DF-41, the report said, "China may also be developing a new road-mobile ICBM capable of carrying a MIRV payload, and the number of warheads on Chinese ICBMs capable of threatening the United States is expected to grow to well over 100 in the next 15 years."

Defense officials said the report was referring to the DF-41.

Rick Fisher, a China military affairs expert and senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said reports of the latest DF-41 test coincide with disclosures on Chinese military enthusiast websites showing a new 18-wheel transporter erector launcher for the new DF-41.

"It appears that this new large MIRV-capable ICBM is making progress toward achieving an operational status," Fisher said.

Fisher said there are reports that the Second Artillery Corps, as China's missile service is called, includes at least one reload missile for each mobile missile-launcher system.

If the new DF-41 is deployed in the future with a reload missile per launcher, it would vastly increase the numbers of nuclear warheads in the Chinese arsenal, as many as 120 to 240 warheads for each DF-41 unit.

"What this means is that Obama administration suggestions that the United States can continue to reduce its number of deployed warheads, perhaps to 1,000 or less, is simply irrational," Fisher said.

"What we know and don't know about China's ability to rapidly increase its warhead numbers points to an unacceptable level of risk for the United States."

In addition to the DF-41, China also has begun to deploy its submarine-launched ballistic missile called the JL-2 and may develop a follow-on JL-2A with up to three warheads.

"Inasmuch as the U.S. Navy estimates there will be up to five of the 12-missile carrying Type 094 nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines, this at least indicates that [missile submarines] could become another source for fast Chinese warhead growth," he said.

The publication Jane's Strategic Weapon Systems reported in 2012 that the Chinese were developing the DF-41, also designated the CSS-X-10, and that it is intended to replace easy-to-target silo-based DF-5 and DF-5A missiles.

Larry Wortzel, a former military intelligence officer and member of the congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, told the House Armed Services Committee in testimony last month that the new DF-41 is part of China's growing nuclear missile arsenal.

"China is enhancing its nuclear deterrent capability by modernizing its nuclear force," Wortzel said Nov. 20. "It is taking measures such as developing a new road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the DF-41. This missile could be equipped with a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV), allowing it to carry as many as 10 nuclear warheads."

Wortzel said the Chinese, in addition to MIRVs, could outfit their missiles with "penetration aids" designed to defeat U.S. missile defenses. China also may be developing rail-mobile ICBMs, he said.

The Chinese nuclear buildup could have a profound impact on regional security. China recently has been bullying its neighbors, specifically Japan and Philippines, over islands and maritime claims.

"When China achieves a position of nuclear parity or even superiority, we can expect that it will make far more vigorous demands on the United States that could diminish the security of America and its friends and allies," Fisher said.

Mark Stokes, a former Pentagon official and specialist on China's strategic nuclear systems has said the DF-41 has been mentioned in Chinese military writings and appears to involve a larger, solid fuel rocket motor derived from the DF-31 series ICBMS.

Ground tests of the DF-41 motor have been detected over the past several years.

There are suspicions among U.S. intelligence analysts that the DF-41 is based on Russia's mobile ICBM known as the SS-27 and that the DF-41 will incorporate Russian missile guidance technology.

China in August conducted two flight tests of the DF-31A ICBM and in November 2012, another DF-31A was flight-tested.

Tsai The-sheng, Taiwan's director of the National Security Bureau, as the intelligence service for the island nation is called, told Taiwan's legislature that China is still developing the DF-41 and the sub-launched JL-2.

"Neither of them has been deployed at any Chinese military base yet," Tsai said, the official Central News Agency reported April 15.

Tsai said that China's fast pace of military technology development makes it very likely the People's Liberation Army will deploy a multi-warhead DF-41 in the future.
This entry was posted in China, National Security and tagged nuclear weapons. Bookmark the permalink.
 

Broccoli

Regular Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
Messages
231
Likes
107
Even if DF-41 is able to haul 10 MIRV's all way to the CONUS doesn't mean it will, putting hundred warheads in only 10 missiles is putting many eggs in one basket, and making those 10 missiles primary target for any enemy to take out.
 

Yusuf

GUARDIAN
Super Mod
Joined
Mar 24, 2009
Messages
24,323
Likes
11,674
Country flag
Even if DF-41 is able to haul 10 MIRV's all way to the CONUS doesn't mean it will, putting hundred warheads in only 10 missiles is putting many eggs in one basket, and making those 10 missiles primary target for any enemy to take out.
What it means is that the estimate of Chinese arsenal may be wrong. Russians say they have anywhere between 1000-1500. Only those kind of numbers justify the 10 MIRV missile
 

Broccoli

Regular Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
Messages
231
Likes
107
What it means is that the estimate of Chinese arsenal may be wrong. Russians say they have anywhere between 1000-1500. Only those kind of numbers justify the 10 MIRV missile

CCTV claimed that this is 470kg DF-31 RV (the one with prolate pit) and it looks unnaturally large for weapons what's pit is manufactured from Pu-239... it's diameter is more similar to HEU based weapon with a insensitive high explosives. That would explain size of the RV.



I suspect that DF-31 RV is similar to this "URRW" suggestion from one American weapon designer, and he gives a good reasons why HEU based weapons make sense.
Uranium Reliable Replacement Warhead (URRW)
Bob Peurifoy

In an e-mail to multiple addressees, dated June 29, 2005, I suggested that because of the Bush/Putin handshake, the RRW programs could take advantage of the use of uranium 235, rather than plutonium 239, in the redesigned primaries. The advantages of uranium pits could include the following:

Replacing plutonium pits with uranium pits will eliminate the need for a Modern Pit Facility and a refurbishment of TA-55.

Y-12 has expertise in the fabrication of uranium parts based on 60 years of experience. I suggest that Y-12 can be upgraded to handle the fabrication of uranium pits at a fraction of the cost estimated for a modern pit facility.

The half-life of uranium 235, due to radioactive decay, is 700 million years versus 25,000 years for plutonium 239.

Therefore, the radioactive hazards associated with uranium pit fabrication would be reduced.

The radioactive hazards of weapon handling by DOE and military custodians could be reduced.

Plutonium is pyrophoric. Uranium is not.

With a 700 million year half-life, there should be no pit aging problems.

Given an accident and a uranium spill, decontamination could be less demanding.

The larger critical mass required by the use of uranium will result in thicker pit shells, thereby reducing machining problems during fabrication and resulting in higher yields and lower fabrication costs.

With the use of uranium, perhaps IHE will be less important.

The use of uranium pits will meet the NNSA objectives of a less expensive, easier-to-manufacture, longer-lasting, and less hazardous product.

According to a calculation Peurifoy provided to the Journal, as much as six times as much uranium and high explosives would be needed for his uranium bomb. With other changes to the weapon, he calculated a 13-inch diameter plutonium primary could be replaced by a uranium alternative about 20 inches in diameter. That would allow three uranium warheads to be carried by a Trident II submarine missile, according to Peurifoy. The missiles now carry eight plutonium warheads.
http://lewis.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/732/uranium-reliable-replacement-warhead-urrw


Edit; Chinese have also dismantled and converted all their "military reactors" for civilian use and they don't have currently capability to produce Pu-239 for warheads, but they do have centrifuges spinning and making material for nuclear reactors... same centrifuges can easily make HEU for warhead use. We also know that PRC is a country with cheapskates in charge, and so HEU weapons would make more sense for them if you think about it.
 
Last edited:

Yusuf

GUARDIAN
Super Mod
Joined
Mar 24, 2009
Messages
24,323
Likes
11,674
Country flag
CCTV claimed that this is 470kg DF-31 RV (the one with prolate pit) and it looks unnaturally large for weapons what's pit is manufactured from Pu-239... it's diameter is more similar to HEU based weapon with a insensitive high explosives. That would explain size of the RV.



I suspect that DF-31 RV is similar to this "URRW" suggestion from one American weapon designer, and he gives a good reasons why HEU based weapons make sense.

http://lewis.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/732/uranium-reliable-replacement-warhead-urrw


Edit; Chinese have also dismantled and converted all their "military reactors" for civilian use and they don't have currently capability to produce Pu-239 for warheads, but they do have centrifuges spinning and making material for nuclear reactors... same centrifuges can easily make HEU for warhead use. We also know that PRC is a country with cheapskates in charge, and so HEU weapons would make more sense for them if you think about it.
Possible that India too is using uranium route. Recently ISIS said India has expanded its rare mineral plant near mysore and also making a new industrial scale enrichment facility.
 

ice berg

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2011
Messages
2,145
Likes
292

nimo_cn

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2009
Messages
4,004
Likes
824
Country flag
Yeah I know about the 240 figure. Tell me why would you make a 10MIRV missile if you don't have enough warheads for it?
for decoy

Sent from my HUAWEI T8951 using Tapatalk 2
 

ice berg

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2011
Messages
2,145
Likes
292
Yeah I know about the 240 figure. Tell me why would you make a 10MIRV missile if you don't have enough warheads for it?
Who tells you it is a 10 MIRV missile? Give me what ever number you want and I will write one starting with ".... up to XXXXX"

It is not new to play up threat.
 

Broccoli

Regular Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
Messages
231
Likes
107
DF-41 is probably going to carry one RV and plenty of decoys to make sure that the RV reaches it target. Chinese could have MIRVed DF-5 if they wanted (3-6 DF-31 RV's per missile) but they haven't done it, so it's unlikely they change that custom just because they get new missile.


Here is some good info about penaids carried by PRC missiles.
China has advanced countermeasures programs, comparable in the assessment of the US intelligence community to those in Russia. A 1995 BMDO Study suggested several Chinese countermeasures, including electronic countermeasures, decoys and radar cross"section reduction. China presumably has the capability to deploy all of the "readily available" technologies for simple countermeasures available to states like Iran and North Korea, including "separating
re"entry vehicles, spin stabilized RVs, RV reorientation, radar"absorbing material, booster fragmentation, low"powered jammers, chafe, simple or balloon decoys."

Most Chinese ballistic missiles have either been deployed or tested with one or more penetration aids: CSS"4 RV was reportedly designed with electronic countermeasures and light exoatmospheric decoys. The intelligence community expects the Chinese to develop "improved penetration packages for its ICBMs.

"¢ CSS"5 RV flight tests in November 1995 and January 1996 each included "two probably endoatmospheric reentry decoys"¦designed to survive harsh atmospheric reentry conditions, and to simulate characteristics of the actual RV."

"¢ CSS"X"10 RV apparently employs "similar decoys and other types of penetration aids." An August 1999 CSS"X"10 flight test reportedly included an unknown number of decoys, although this is unconfirmed.

Apart from decoys visible in ballistic missile flight tests, the US intelligence community seems to have little information about the precise type of Chinese penetration aids. The precise nature of the penetration package appears to vary by ballistic missile, depending on target and missile defense threats, if any.
http://www.cissm.umd.edu/papers/files/the_minimum_means_of_reprisal.pdf
 
Last edited:

ice berg

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2011
Messages
2,145
Likes
292
LOL got love this. Says they made a cake for the team behind the test. :p

 

Broccoli

Regular Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
Messages
231
Likes
107
JL-1 RV (200-300kt) and DF-21 is claimed to be using same RV. DF-41 should be able to carry at least three of these if it's big as claimed. Why Chinese didn't improve this and use it in DF-31 series would be interesting to know... 300kt should be enough for deterrence at least in theory.


Size compared to average(?) Chinese man.
 
Last edited:

no smoking

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
4,352
Likes
1,033
Country flag
I was just wondering why they didn't use that RV (or improved version) in the DF-31 series missiles since it's a smaller weapon.
Maybe they did.
CCTV is famous for this kind of "wrong" picture while PLA loves to keep others confused.
 

Broccoli

Regular Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
Messages
231
Likes
107
Maybe they did.
CCTV is famous for this kind of "wrong" picture while PLA loves to keep others confused.
If you compare DF-31 to DF-31A I think they could be using different RV's. DF-31A has a payload shroud but it seems to be too small to hide that RV seen in CCTV pic, and in DF-31 pics you can see rather large RV (painted white) on top of missile.

Though it's hard to tell in this DF-31A pic where the payload shroud ends.
 

Latest Replies

Global Defence

New threads

Articles

Top