Sixteen DF-31AG ICBMs at Chinese military parade | Popular Science

Martian

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Popular Science counted 16 new DF-31AG ICBMs at the Chinese PLA 90th anniversary celebration in Inner Mongolia province. Popular Science also said China is likely to have many more DF-31AG ICBMs than those on display at the parade. (See citation at bottom)

"The DF-31AG is believed to be capable of carrying up to five warheads that can be independently aimed, the South China Morning Post reported, adding that the missile can reach most of the continental United States as well as Europe." (Source: China's weapons of war on display: From ballistic missiles and stealth fighters to anti-radar drone | IBTimes)

16 new DF-31AG ICBMs x 5 MIRVed thermonuclear warheads = 80 thermonuclear warheads

Since Popular Science said there are more Chinese DF-31AG ICBMs due to China's military build-up (such as pictures of new DF-41 ICBMs leaving its manufacturing plant), there is an unknown number of ADDITIONAL DF-31AG ICBMs.

Let's review China's ICBM inventory.

DF-5A ICBM: single five-megaton warhead
DF-5B ICBM: 10 MIRV warheads with each warhead at half-a-megaton
DF-31 ICBM: single warhead that can hit Alaska or Hawaii only
DF-31A ICBM: single warhead that can hit continental US
DF-31AG ICBM: 5 MIRV warheads
DF-41 ICBM: 10 MIRV warheads
JL-2 SLBM: 8 MIRV warheads
JL-3 SLBM: navalized version of DF-41 ICBM in development, should carry 10 MIRV warheads

The thermonuclear warheads from the DF-31AG ICBMs at the Chinese military parade amount to 80. If Popular Science is right and there are more DF-31AG ICBMs elsewhere in China, the total number of DF-31AG warheads could easily reach 200.

Now, the Pentagon estimates that China's total thermonuclear warhead inventory is 200. Just the DF-31AG ICBMs alone could fulfill the Pentagon estimate. However, the DF-31AG ICBM has only been produced in recent years.

What about the DF-5 ICBM series? Those have been in service for 37 years.
The DF-31 ICBM series has been in service for 10 years. The DF-31AG ICBM is only a recent variant.
DF-41 ICBMs have been in production for years longer than the DF-31AG ICBM.
JL-2 SLBM has existed for many years as well.

In conclusion, the DF-31AG ICBMs alone are enough to meet the Pentagon's estimate of 200 Chinese thermonuclear warheads. When you consider the Chinese DF-5 ICBM series, earlier DF-31 ICBM series, DF-41 ICBMs, and JL-2 SLBMs, it should be clear that China's thermonuclear arsenal is a lot larger than just the Pentagon estimate of 200 Chinese thermonuclear warheads.
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China's army is showing off its new tanks, stealth fighters, and missiles | Popular Science

"Sixteen DF-31AG ICBMs marched in the parade. China likely has more DF-31AGs in addition to those, thanks to a recent, rapid build-up of Chinese nuclear forces."

 
Last edited:

Martian

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I updated my post to reflect China CCTV's claim that the DF-31A ICBM carries three thermonuclear warheads. Thank you to ChineseTiger1986 for bringing this information to my attention.

Let's review China's ICBM inventory.

DF-5A ICBM: single five-megaton warhead
DF-5B ICBM: 10 MIRV warheads with each warhead at half-a-megaton
DF-31 ICBM: single warhead that can hit Alaska or Hawaii only
DF-31A ICBM: 3 MIRV warheads that can hit continental US
DF-31AG ICBM: 5 MIRV warheads
DF-41 ICBM: 10 MIRV warheads
JL-2 SLBM: 8 MIRV warheads
JL-3 SLBM: navalized version of DF-41 ICBM in development, should carry 10 MIRV warheads
 

Martian

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I think it's hilarious that the Pentagon estimate of China's total thermonuclear warheads hasn't budged since about 1990. The Pentagon keeps repeating the falsehood that China only has 200-250 thermonuclear warheads.

Since 1990, China has modernized the DF-5A ICBM into DF-5B 10-MIRV ICBMs. That's a 10-fold jump in the number of thermonuclear warheads per DF-5 missile. Yet, there is no spike in the chart to reflect the 10-MIRV upgrade of China's DF-5A into DF-5B ICBMs.

China introduced the DF-31 and DF-31A 3-MIRV ICBMs into service in 2006-2007. Once again, there is no spike in the chart to show the increase in Chinese thermonuclear warhead total.

Last year, we saw China deploy brigades of DF-41 ICBMs in northeast China and Tibet province. Each DF-41 ICBM carries 10 MIRVs. The Pentagon's annual report on Chinese military power kept repeating the claim of 250 Chinese thermonuclear warheads (which is basically unchanged from 1990).

Also, China increased the number of Type 094 SSBNs from two to four. Once again, the Pentagon ignored the increase in Chinese JL-2 8-MIRV SLBMs.

Last week, we saw China parade 16 DF-31AG 5-MIRV ICBMs. Popular Science says there are more DF-31AG ICBMs, because China is on a nuclear build-up. Chinese military experts have said that China intends to reach parity in thermonuclear weapons with the United States. China has been modernizing its nuclear forces for 40 years. Yet, the Pentagon keeps claiming that China's total thermonuclear warheads hasn't budged from 250 for three decades.

You get to decide whether your eyes are lying or the Pentagon is lying. Are the pictures of China's DF-5B ICBMs, DF-31A ICBMs, DF-31AG ICBMs, DF-41 ICBMs, and JL-2 SLBMs all fake? If you believe the pictures of Chinese ICBMs are real and there are also pictures of Chinese ICBM launches (and there is an old video of a Chinese DF-5 ICBM launch into the South China Sea) then China's total thermonuclear warheads is NOT 250.
 

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