Wednesday, August 29, 2012

China tests new generation ICBM capable of carrying 10 nuclear warheads

China today announced testing of a new generation of inter-continental ballistic missile, Dongfeng-41, with a strike range of 14,000 km and capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads.

"China last month tested a new generation of intercontinental ballistic missile, the Dongfeng-41, or DF-41, which is believed to have a maximum strike distance of 14,000 km," the state-run CCTV said in a brief report.

The television also showed a rare footage of its missile unit in action, which included the formation of new mobile women's missile wing.

It quoted experts of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission as saying that as many as 10 nuclear warheads can be put on the missile.

Last week state-run Global Times reported that China was developing the capability to put multiple warheads on intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The CCTV report followed New York Times article that said China has developed a new generation of inter-continental and submarine launched missiles capable of carrying as many as 10 nuclear warheads, increasing its ability to reach US and to overwhelm missile defence systems.

The US military and intelligence officials say that China has developed the new long range Dongfeng-41 ICBM with mobile launching system making it harder to find and destroy the missile before it is launched, the Times report said.

Separately, the CCTV today carried a report about the People's Liberation Army (PLA) mobile missile units undergoing training in different parts of the country to get used to local and climatic conditions.

Massive trucks with huge missiles were seen moving around and how the troops take positions and fire them.

The report also said the missile unit now have women's wing and shown several women soldiers taking part in missile firing exercises.

The NYT, quoting a Congressional panel, said that US and other western powers might have underestimated the size of China's nuclear arsenal, suggesting that the new reports say that Beijing currently have 55 to 65 ICBM.

The US experts also said that Beijing had separately tested submarine launched missiles in recent weeks, which it could use to outflank American missile defence systems.

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