Stratfor's New Chinese ICBM Range Map

Martian

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Stratfor's New Chinese ICBM Range Map

Stratfor has released an updated map of the ranges of Chinese ICBMs launched from northeastern Heilongjiang Province. I will discuss the ICBMs listed on Stratfor's map.

How Far China's Nuclear Capabilities Stretch | Stratfor


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China's DF-31 ICBM can only reach Alaska and Hawaii. "The United States currently fields 26 interceptors at Fort Greely in Alaska and four at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California."[1] We expect China to use the DF-31 ICBM to neutralize the anti-ballistic missile interceptor base at Fort Greely in Alaska.

China has two brigades of the solid-fuel DF-31 ICBM[2] located at:

1. Nanyang (813th Brigade)
2. Xining (Urban/Industrial Brigade or U/I Brigade)

China's DF-31A ICBM can reach every major American city except Miami, Florida.

China has seven brigades of the solid-fuel DF-31A ICBM[3] located at:

1. Delingha
2. Haiyan
3. Datong (809 Brigade)
4. Tainshui (812 Brigade)
5. Xixia
6. Shaoyang (805 Brigade)
7. Yuxi

China's DF-5A/B ICBM can reach all of the United States.

China has eight brigades of the liquid-fuel DF-5A/B ICBM[4] located at:

1. Luoning/Luoyang (804th brigade)
2. Wuzhai (Base 25)
3. Xuanhua
4. Tongdao (805th brigade)
5. Lushi (801st brigade)
6. Jingxian (803rd brigade)
7. Jingxian (814th brigade)
8. Hunan (818th brigade)

China's DF-41 ICBM can also reach all of the United States.

China probably has four brigades of the solid-fuel DF-41 ICBM[5] located at:

a. Daqing City, Heilongjiang Province in northeastern China
b. Xinyang City, Henan Province in central China
c. Xinjiang Province in northwestern China (deployment soon)
d. There appears to be a fourth DF-41 ICBM brigade on the Chinese Tibetan Plateau (see picture below) in Tibet Province, China.


The total number of thermonuclear warheads on Chinese ICBMs can be calculated.

DF-31: 2 brigades x 12 missiles per brigade = 24 DF-31 ICBMs
DF-31A: 7 brigades x 12 missiles per brigade = 84 DF-31A ICBMs
DF-5A/B: 8 brigades x 12 missiles per brigade = 96 DF-5A/B ICBMs
DF-41: 4 brigades x 12 missiles per brigade = 48 DF-41 ICBMs

The DF-31 can only carry a single warhead. Thus, there are 24 thermonuclear warheads carried on the DF-31 ICBMs.
We should assume all DF-31A ICBMs are being upgraded to the DF-31B 3-MIRV variant.[6] Each DF-31A/B can carry three MIRVs. 84 DF-31A/B ICBMs x 3 = 252 thermonuclear warheads.
The DF-5A missiles are being upgraded to DF-5B 8-MIRV missiles.[7] 96 DF-5B x 8 MIRVs = 768 thermonuclear warheads.
The DF-41 ICBM carries 10 MIRVs on each missile.[8] 48 DF-41 ICBMs x 10 MIRVs= 480 thermonuclear warheads.

The current total is 1,524 thermonuclear warheads on Chinese ICBMs (which does not include SLBMs).

I think the technical definition of a re-load for an ICBM in a silo is that another ICBM can be fired within 24 hours.

If you accept China has one re-load ICBM per TEL or Silo then you have to double China's total to 3,048 land-based thermonuclear warheads.

Does 3,048 land-based Chinese thermonuclear warheads seem like a lot? It is important to remember that China detonated its first 3.3-megaton thermonuclear bomb in 1967. That was 50 years ago. China's economy is huge and it had 50 years to build 3,048 land-based thermonuclear warheads.

References:

1. Ground Based Interceptor (GBI) - GlobalSecurity.org
2. PLA Second Artillery Corps | Air Power Australia
3. China: New START-type report | Nuclear Forces
Map of known DF-5A and DF-5B ICBM silo locations

Looking at an old map of known DF-5A and DF-5B silo locations, we see three brigades. Two brigades are DF-5A five-megaton single-warhead ICBMs and one brigade is DF-5B 10-MIRVed ICBMs.

As an aside, the map shows the locations of four DF-31A brigades.
4. DF-5 | Federation of American Scientists
PLA Second Artillery Corps | Air Power Australia (54th and 55th bases)
MULTIMEGATON WEAPONS | Johnston Archive
5. China May Have Deployed Missiles Not Far From Border With Russia | Sputnik News
6. Confirmed: China is Upgrading ICBMs With Multiple Warheads | The Diplomat
"Beijing has been retrofitting single-warhead ICBMs with multiple, independently targetable re-entry vehicles.

For the past several months, China has been upgrading single-warhead intercontinental ballistic missiles with multiple, independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs), according to U.S. intelligence agencies, The Washington Times reports.

'China is re-engineering its long-range ballistic missiles to carry multiple nuclear warheads,' the head of U.S. Strategic Command Admiral Cecil D. Haney said in a January 22 speech."
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China puts on show of force with DF-31B mobile ICBM missile test | South China Morning Post
"The People's Liberation Army launched a Dongfeng-31B on September 25 from the Wuzhai Missile and Space Test Centre - also known as the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre - in Shanxi province, according to US-based online newspaper The Washington Free Beacon.

The DF-31B is an upgraded version of the DF-31A and the launch was at least the second time the PLA's Second Artillery Corps had tested a DF-31 missile in the past three months. In late July, the PLA conducted a flight test of a DF-31A in what was the fourth known flight test of that missile in two years.
...
'The DF-31A was designed to carry three warheads. I think the new DF-31B is possibly a multi-warhead version with higher accuracy,' Wong said."
7. China adds warheads to older DF-5s | The Washington Times
"China’s military has begun retrofitting single-warhead DF-5 intercontinental ballistic missiles with multiple, independently targetable re-entry vehicles, according to U.S. defense officials. The upgrading of the DF-5 missiles with multiple warheads, known as MIRVs, was detected by U.S. intelligence agencies within the past several months.

The addition of three warheads on the long-range missiles marks a significant shift for China’s nuclear arsenal that is increasing in both warheads and missile systems under a major buildup."
8. DF-41 | Deagel
"In July 2014 China officially confirmed the development of the DF-41 next generation ICBM with a range of 12,000 kilometers and 10 MIRVed warheads as a direct response to US missile defenses such as THAAD."
 
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Martian

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Can you re-load a Chinese DF-5B ICBM silo?

If it is a hot-launch then the Chinese DF-5B ICBM silo will be out of commission for about a month. The silo has to be cleaned and all of the melted components have to be replaced. During a nuclear war, this is not realistic.

However, a cold-launched DF-5B ICBM can be reloaded like a Peacekeeper ICBM.

(U) Peacekeeper (PK) Sustainment/Deactivation
"The Peacekeeper ICBM utilizes a 'cold launching' method which utilizes a gas generator to eject the missile from the missile silo to a height of 20 to 30 meters, at which point the first stage solid propellant motor ignites. This method reduces damage to the silo on launch, facilitating the refurbishment and reuse of the silo."

An alternative method is to mechanically push the ICBM out of the silo before igniting its engines. This will minimize the damage to the silo and permit a re-load.


In conclusion, a Chinese DF-5B ICBM silo can be reloaded if it is cold-launched or if it is mechanically pushed out of the silo before engine ignition.
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As an aside, the START TREATY defined "rapid reload."

START TREATY ANNEX TERMS AND THEIR DEFINITIONS
"87. (98) The term 'rapid reload' means reloading a silo launcher of ICBMs in less than 12 hours or a mobile launcher of ICBMs in less than four hours after a missile has been launched or removed from such a launcher."
 

Martian

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Update on China's DF-31A, DF-5B, and DF-41 ICBMs | Popular Science

Popular Science states: "The three-stage DF-31A, with an estimated range of over 6,835 miles, has a payload of three to five 150 kiloton MIRV warheads, making it powerful enough to strike most of the continental USA from Chinese territory."

I think "three to five 150 kiloton MIRV warheads" on the DF-31A sounds reasonable. Seismic data have proven that China possesses the most advanced W88-equivalent thermonuclear warhead design. "[In] 1995, when American experts analyzing Chinese nuclear test results found similarities to America's most advanced miniature warhead, the W-88."

Popular Science states: "DF-5, which has a range of over 7,450 miles and the capacity to carry 3.2 tons—as either be a 5 megaton 'city buster' hydrogen bomb, or, more recently, 3 to 8 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) nuclear warheads, that can each individually strike a different target."

I think there are four reasons to believe China's DF-5B ICBM carries 8 MIRVs. Firstly, China wants to penetrate the US anti-ballistic missile shield. 8 MIRVs are much harder to intercept than only 3 MIRVs.

Secondly, Richard Fisher showed a diagram in 1999 of 8 MIRVs within a DF-5 ICBM with data from both the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology and the Beijing Institute of Aerodynamics.

Thirdly, the diameter of the DF-5B is a huge 11 feet. There is plenty of room to fit in 8 separate warheads.

Fourthly, let's benchmark China's DF-5B against the Russian SS-18 Satan ICBM. The DF-5B has a larger diameter at 11 feet vs the SS-18's 10-foot diameter. Both the DF-5B and the Russian SS-18 have the same length at 106 feet. The Russian SS-18 was "deployed with 10 warheads and up to 40 penetration aids and the missile's high throw-weight made it theoretically capable of carrying more warheads or penetration aids." Thus, there is every reason to believe China's DF-5B ICBM can carry at least 10 thermonuclear warheads.

Popular Science states: "The 9,320-mile-range DF-41 ICBM is one of the world's most lethal missiles. Weighing about 80 tons, it is carried and launched by a 12X12 all-terrain truck, and can also be launched from rail. Its payload of 12 MIRV nuclear warheads can be augmented with decoys and jammers to confuse enemy sensors, letting the actual warheads slip past missile defenses."

I think Popular Science is right that China's DF-41 ICBM is armed with 12 MIRV thermonuclear warheads. It is consistent with the report in China's Global Times of a maxiumum of 12 MIRVs on each DF-41 ICBM.

Dongfeng-41 will bring China more respect | Global Times
"According to reports, the Dongfeng-41 is a nuclear solid-fuel road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile. With a range of 14,000 kilometers and a payload of 10-12 nuclear warheads, it can target anywhere in the world and is widely considered one of the most advanced intercontinental ballistic missiles."

During the last 46 years (after China launched the DF-5 ICBM in 1971), China has made vast improvements in carbon-composite technology, improved semiconductors and electronics, and new rocket fuel with higher energy density and specific impulse. Thus, it is reasonable that China's most advanced DF-41 ICBM can carry 12 MIRVs. The DF-41 should be the lightest (per volume) and most powerful of China's ICBMs. It should have the highest throw-weight to carry 12 MIRVs.
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THE NUCLEAR ARSENALS OF CHINA AND THE U.S.: PLANS FOR A FUTURE ARMAGEDDON | Popular Science


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In the illustration below (from Richard Fisher in 1999), we can see that China had the ability to launch MIRVed warheads after it had successfully put multiple Iridium satellites into orbit. It is now 2017 and China had 18 years to improve its MIRV dispenser.

China Increases Its Missile Forces While Opposing U.S. Missile Defense | Heritage

 
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Tarun Kumar

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The figure of 3000 thermo warheads is baloney as lot of missiles mentioned are still single warhead. However I read few years ago that the Russians estimated the Chinese arsenal to be in range of 1200-1800. Thats still much less than 7000 for US and almost uncountable for Russia. Infact Russia has more nukes than all countries put together and is expanding its arsenal even faster
 

Martian

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China Tests [DF-5C ICBM] Missile With 10 Warheads | The Washington Free Beacon

In the previous post, I said: "Fourthly, let's benchmark China's DF-5B against the Russian SS-18 Satan ICBM. The DF-5B has a larger diameter at 11 feet vs the SS-18's 10-foot diameter. Both the DF-5B and the Russian SS-18 have the same length at 106 feet. The Russian SS-18 was 'deployed with 10 warheads and up to 40 penetration aids and the missile's high throw-weight made it theoretically capable of carrying more warheads or penetration aids.' Thus, there is every reason to believe China's DF-5B ICBM can carry at least 10 thermonuclear warheads."

My insight was right on target. The Washington Free Beacon just reported a test of China's DF-5C ICBM with 10 MIRVs (see article below).
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China Tests Missile With 10 Warheads | The Washington Free Beacon

"China flight tested a new variant of a long-range missile with 10 warheads in what defense officials say represents a dramatic shift in Beijing's strategic nuclear posture.

The flight test of the DF-5C missile was carried out earlier this month using 10 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs. The test of the inert warheads was monitored closely by U.S. intelligence agencies, said two officials familiar with reports of the missile test.

The missile was fired from the Taiyuan Space Launch Center in central China and flew to an impact range in the western Chinese desert.
...
The test of a missile with 10 warheads is significant because it indicates the secretive Chinese military is increasing the number of warheads in its arsenal.
"

 

Martian

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China has nine brigades of DF-5B ICBMs.

Stratfor says there are Chinese DF-5A/B ICBMs located in China's northeastern Heilongjiang province. I will assume the minimum of only one brigade. There could be two DF-5A/B ICBM brigades in Heilongjiang province. For example, the Chinese ICBM missile bases at Anhui, Henan, and Hunan have two brigades of DF-5B ICBMs in each province.

China's DF-5A/B ICBM can reach all of the United States.

China has nine brigades of the liquid-fuel DF-5A/B ICBM[4] located at:

1. Luoning/Luoyang (804th brigade), Henan province
2. Wuzhai (Base 25), Shanxi province
3. Xuanhua, Hebei province
4. Tongdao (805th brigade), Hunan province
5. Lushi (801st brigade), Henan province
6. Jingxian (803rd brigade), Anhui province
7. Jingxian (814th brigade), Anhui province
8. Hunan (818th brigade), Hunan province
9. Heilongjiang province (see Stratfor citation below)

9 DF-5B brigades x 12 ICBMs per brigade x 8 MIRVs per DF-5B ICBM = 846 thermonuclear warheads

Over the next few years, China will most likely upgrade all DF-5B ICBMs to DF-5C ICBMs. The reason is the greater probability of penetrating anti-ballistic missile defenses.

9 DF-5C brigades x 12 ICBMs per brigade x 10 MIRVs per DF-5C ICBM = 1,080 thermonuclear warheads
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How Far China's Nuclear Capabilities Stretch | Stratfor

"...Heilongjiang province is the ideal location to maximize the missile's reach so it covers all of the continental United States. The Dongfeng-5 missiles have long been based in the same region for the same reasons."

 

tharun

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China Tests [DF-5C ICBM] Missile With 10 Warheads | The Washington Free Beacon

In the previous post, I said: "Fourthly, let's benchmark China's DF-5B against the Russian SS-18 Satan ICBM. The DF-5B has a larger diameter at 11 feet vs the SS-18's 10-foot diameter. Both the DF-5B and the Russian SS-18 have the same length at 106 feet. The Russian SS-18 was 'deployed with 10 warheads and up to 40 penetration aids and the missile's high throw-weight made it theoretically capable of carrying more warheads or penetration aids.' Thus, there is every reason to believe China's DF-5B ICBM can carry at least 10 thermonuclear warheads."

My insight was right on target. The Washington Free Beacon just reported a test of China's DF-5C ICBM with 10 MIRVs (see article below).
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China Tests Missile With 10 Warheads | The Washington Free Beacon

"China flight tested a new variant of a long-range missile with 10 warheads in what defense officials say represents a dramatic shift in Beijing's strategic nuclear posture.

The flight test of the DF-5C missile was carried out earlier this month using 10 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs. The test of the inert warheads was monitored closely by U.S. intelligence agencies, said two officials familiar with reports of the missile test.

The missile was fired from the Taiyuan Space Launch Center in central China and flew to an impact range in the western Chinese desert.
...
The test of a missile with 10 warheads is significant because it indicates the secretive Chinese military is increasing the number of warheads in its arsenal.
"

Congrats with your 10 warhead missile.....We are lagging behind with 2-3 MIRV's.
IS that 3000 thermonuclear warheads story real?
Recently a paki in this forum argued that cone shape missiles can't carry MIRV's.....
 

Martian

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Congrats with your 10 warhead missile.....We are lagging behind with 2-3 MIRV's.
IS that 3000 thermonuclear warheads story real?
Recently a paki in this forum argued that cone shape missiles can't carry MIRV's.....
China's DF-5B/C ICBM does not have a cone shape (as seen on the DF-5A). The DF-5B has a round shape.

PLA flaunts strategic missiles of its Rocket Force | IHS Jane's


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In the illustration below (from Richard Fisher in 1999), we can see that China's Beijing Institute of Aerodynamics had designed the Chinese DF-5B with eight MIRV warheads.

 

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