Chinese missile transporters displayed during the September 3 military parade had their wheels fitted with ‘stealth technology’ to prevent observers from calculating the missile and warhead’s weight.
This was disclosed by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, in an article published this month on WeChat, the smartphone-based social media app.
The company did not go into details about the technologies used, saying only that the move was requested by the People's Liberation Army. A picture published with the article shows some people wearing respirators working on shells that were later installed as a shield on the vehicles' wheels.
China Military Online said today that In addition to the wheels, the PLA must have used stealth technologies on the missiles and the transporter vehicles to reduce the number of identifiable features on the weapons, he added.
The article said 30 engineers and workers from the Wuhan Magnetism-Electron Co Ltd in Hubei province, including four doctoral and 11 master's degree holders, took part in developing the unidentified equipment. Work started in March.
Gao Zhuo, a military observer in Shanghai, said missile specialists would be able to calculate the weight of a missile and its warhead if they could examine the transporter vehicles' wheels.
"This information is highly sensitive because you can use it to judge a missile's power and capacity," he said. "I think the specially designed shells can reduce radar and thermal detection, enabling the missile to remain a secret from those in the crowd using mini-detection devices, or from spy satellites."
A total of 112 missiles paraded by the PLA Second Artillery Corps, the country's de facto strategic missile force, appeared in the parade in Tiananmen Square. The seven types shown at the event were all ‘backbones’ of the missile force, according to the Corps.
The public debuts at the parade of the DF-21D and DF-26, both capable of sinking aircraft carriers, have become a hot topic among foreign military websites and publications, as it was the first confirmation that they had been developed.