- China has successfully completed laboratory simulations
of a test-launch of its latest multi-warhead intercontinental ballistic
missile which can reach targets in most parts of the United States.
- Mainland sources said computer simulations of launches
of the solid-fuelled Dongfeng-41 ICBM have been completed and proved successful.
- The three-stage DF-41, an improved model from the old
type of single-head DF-5, can carry five to eight warheads including nuclear
ones greatly increasing its striking power.
- In addition to the improvement of carrying capacity,
the DF-41 has much greater mobility since it uses solidified fuel.
- With the same range of 12,000 kilometres as the DF-5,
the DF-41 can reach Europe and many parts of the United States.
- The Central Government has yet to decide when to conduct
live test-firing of the latest ICBM model, which was not on the show during
the grand parade in Beijing on 1 October marking the 50th anniversary of
- The successful development of the strategic weapon will
boost the country's military muscle and its nuclear deterrence.
- Military and diplomatic analysts said the acquirement
of technology to manufacture missiles with a range covering most parts
of the American territory will force Washington to adjust its defence strategy
and speed up the development of anti-missile defence systems.
- However, it would not have significant impact on the
global balance of power in the post Cold-War era.
- Sources said the new missile could be deployed in five
years if the central leadership decided to go ahead with the development
program, using the DF-41 to replace the old model of DF-5.
- Using liquid fuel, the DF-5 must be launched from a fixed
position. It also takes 30-60 minutes to fuel and two hours before a missile
could be ready for launch.
- A solid state missile like the DF-41, on the other hand,
takes only a few minutes to reach war readiness, according to the mainland's
- As the DF-41 carries several warheads,they are smaller
in size and lighter in weight and, therefore, easier to manoevre for land
- Beijing showcased its truck-mounted solid state DF-31
ICBM in the 50th anniversary grand parade which attracted considerable
attention from Western military experts.
- With a range of 8,000 kilometres, the DF-31 can reach
Hawaii and Alaska.
- China announced it has successfully test-fired the DF-31
in August in northeastern China. With slight modification, the DF-31 could
be launched from a submarine, according to military experts.
- Political and military observers in the West have shown
increasing concern over the mainland's latest developments of multi-warhead
ICBMs such as the DF-31 and DF-41, which are difficult to intercept for
current anti-missile defence systems.
- China started developing technical missile weapons such
as cruise missiles in the 1970s. Beijing felt the need to develop strategic
weapons to bolster its military deterrence after the high-tech Gulf War
- Calls to speed up developing advanced weapons have been
on the rise since the US-led Nato jets bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade
on 7 May during the alliance's air strike against Yugoslavia.
- President Jiang Zemin, who is also commander-in-chief
of the country's 2.5 million-man army, urged speeding-up of the modernisation
of the armed forces to win regional wars under high-tech conditions.