China's next-generation intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) - the Dongfeng-41 - could be in the People Liberation Army's (PLA) lineup as early as the first half of 2018.
Media reports say that the Dongfeng-41 ICBM recently underwent another test, the eighth since it was first announced in 2012.
The missile must have matured considerably if it is to start serving in the PLA and, if so, official deployment could be in the first half of next year, Xu Guangyu, a senior adviser of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said on a China Central Television (CCTV) program on Wednesday.
The Dongfeng-41 is a three-stage solid-fuel missile with a range of at least 12,000 kilometers, meaning it could strike anywhere in the world from a mainland site, Xu was quoted as saying by Global Times, adding that, "it can carry up to 10 nuclear warheads, each of which can target separately."
The new missile also has a top speed of more than Mach 10 and can use decoy devices and chaff to pierce its way through the enemy's missile warning and defense systems, Xu added.
The South China Morning Post reported that China had possibly tested the ICBM in its Western desert area in early November, but it did not give the exact location or date of the test, if indeed there was one.
Another report on the seventh test-firing of the Dongfeng-41 came from a US satellite tracking system and appeared in the Washington Free Beacon in April 2016.