China Tests Missile Equipped With 10 Nuclear Warheads

  • Our Bureau
  • 01:15 PM, February 2, 2017
  • 3656
China Tests Missile Equipped With 10 Nuclear Warheads
Chinese military DF-5B missiles are presented during a military parade in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on September 3, 2015

China has tested its new version of a missile, Dongfeng-5C,  that is capable of carrying up to 10 nuclear warheads.

The flight test of the DF-5C missile was carried out last month using 10 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs, The Washington Free Beacon reported.

The test of the inert warheads was monitored closely by US intelligence agencies, said two officials.

The Dongfeng-5C missile equipped with 10 dummy warheads, was launched from the Taiyuan Space Launch Centre in Shanxi province, and flew to a desert in western China.

 The missile is a new variant of the DF-5, an intercontinental ballistic missile that first went into service in the early 1980’s.

 “The Defence Department routinely monitors Chinese military developments and accounts for PLA capabilities in our defence plans,” Pentagon spokesman Commander Gary Ross was quoted as saying by the report.

The US has estimated for decades, number of warheads in China’s nuclear arsenal at about 250. But the report suggested that the latest test with 10 warheads meant the actual number could be even more.

China also started adding warheads to older DF-5 missiles in February last year, according to US intelligence agencies.

The timing of the test coincided with the election of Donald Trump as US President who signalled a tougher stance against China over a range of issues, from the trade deficit to Beijing’s military build-up in the disputed South China Sea.

Chinese military expert from an institute affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army, (PLA) said a new test would not have been aimed at Trump. “The test of a nuclear missile requires permission from the highest level – the Central Military Commission. It takes at least one year for the military to get the approval and to prepare for it,”

The Central Military Commission, the highest level in China has to authorize to test a nuclear missile. Moreover, it takes about one year for the military to get the approval and to prepare for it, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted an expert as saying.

Recent images purporting to show China’s Dongfeng-41 missile have surfaced on Chinese websites with reports suggesting that Beijing has deployed them in Heilongjiang province, which borders Russia.

The missile, with a range of 14,000 km and a payload of 10-12 nuclear warheads, is considered one of the military’s most powerful.  

The deployment of the DF-41 was a “strategic deterrence tool” and Beijing would “ready itself for pressures imposed by the new US government”, Global Times said in a recent commentary.

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