Suivre ce blog Administration + Créer mon blog
10 août 2014 7 10 /08 /août /2014 11:35
Is China Preparing MIRVed Ballistic Missiles?


August 08, 2014 By Zachary Keck -- thediplomat.com


China’s new DF-5A and DF-31A ICBM tests once again highlight its rising interest in MIRVed ICBMs.


China tested two of its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) last week, the Washington Times reported on Thursday.

According to the Washington Times report by Bill Gertz, who cited unnamed U.S. officials, China tested its Dong Feng 31A (DF-31A/CSS-10) and Dong Feng 5A (DF-5A/CSS-4) ICBMs last week.

The DF-5A is an upgraded version of the DF-5 ICBMs that China first tested in 1971. It is a three stage, liquid propellant silo-based missile with a range of 13,000 km and a throw weight of roughly 3,000 kg.

The DF-31A is China’s new road-mobile ICBM, based off the older DF-31 ICBM that China first tested in 1999. It is a three stage solid-propellant rocket with a range of roughly 11,200–12,000 km. This is the fourth known testing of the DF-31A ICBM. Its sea-based variant, the JL-2, will provide China with its first credible sea-based nuclear deterrent when it is deployed on China’s Type 094 Jin-class ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) sometime this year.

Both the DF-5A and the DF-31A are capable of hitting the United States.

The Washington Times article did not specify exactly where the tests had occurred, but it did not that previous DF-31A tests have taken place at China’s Taiyuan Space Launch Center in Shanxi Province in northern China. However, it seems quite possible that the ICBM tests were part of the ongoing military drills that China announced late last month in the eastern parts of the country. As previously noted, these drills have caused significant delays to civilian air travel in eastern China. Earlier in the drills, China conducted what it claimed was an anti-ballistic missile test, but which the U.S. believes was really an anti-satellite test.

The earlier anti-missile/anti-satellite test, along with the new ICBM tests, underscore the growing attention China’s military is placing on its strategic and missile capabilities. Last week China inadvertently confirmed the existence of a new generation ICBM, the Dongfeng-41 (DF-41), which the U.S. Department of Defense has said may be capable of carrying multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs).

MIRV missiles can deliver multiple (usually nuclear) warheads to different targets, and were seen as widely destabilizing to the nuclear balance during the Cold War when the United States and Soviet Union began deploying them in the 1970s. The U.S. just phased out the last of its land-based MIRV ICBMs, although it continues to deploy MIRV submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). Russia continues to field MIRV ICBMs.

Interestingly, the new reports about the DF-5A and DF-31A ICBM tests also highlight China’s potentially growing interest in acquiring a MIRV capability. According to the Federation of Atomic Scientists, “in November 1983 China inaugurated a DF-5 modification program to arm these ICBMs with MIRVed warheads.” Although technical difficulties prevented that program from reaching fruition, it is also believed that China later designated the DF-5A as its MIRV missile.

It has also been widely speculated, including by the U.S. Department of Defense, that the DF-31A may be MIRV capable. Most analyses suggest that the road-mobile ICBM may be capable of carrying up to 3 warheads. At this point, most believe that China is only deploying single warheads on its DF-5A and the DF-31A ICBMs, although some foreign analysts have claimed that it has already MIRVed some of its missile forces.

Partager cet article
18 juin 2014 3 18 /06 /juin /2014 12:35
Asia’s Coming Nuclear Arms Race


18 June 2014 By Zachary Keck
The introduction of MIRVed missiles in Asia is likely to prompt a major nuclear arms races in the region.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the future of nuclear weapons is Asia, not the Middle East.
The Pacific Realist outlines one reason for this conviction in an article in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists on Tuesday. The piece argues that the U.S., Russia, China, India and Pakistan should negotiate a ban on land-based multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) ballistic missiles. Currently, the U.S. and Russia both deploy such missiles, and Beijing and New Delhi are both intent on acquiring them.
Should they succeed in this endeavor, there is likely to be a nuclear arms race in Asia among China, India and Pakistan, which could very quickly spread to Russia and the United States. MIRVed missiles are highly destabilizing because they put a premium on striking first. Because MIRVed missiles can strike multiple targets at once, and concentrate multiple warheads on single targets, they increase the danger that a nuclear armed power will have its nuclear arsenal destroyed by a surprise first strike. In addition, possessors of MIRVed missiles need more nuclear warheads in order to arm their MIRVs. 
Read the full story at The Diplomat
Partager cet article


  • : RP Defense
  • : Web review defence industry - Revue du web industrie de défense - company information - news in France, Europe and elsewhere ...
  • Contact


Articles Récents