Hu Xijin, chief editor of the Chinese government’s bellicose mouthpiece Global Times, has caused yet another stir among his readers with an exposé of the country’s next-generation “super” intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) – Dongfeng-41.
Hu said on his blog that he had seen a real Dongfeng-41 during a recent trip to the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, the bastion of Beijing’s aerospace and air-defense buildup that has just celebrated its 60th anniversary.
Hu’s blog could be further confirmation that China is about to deploy a super-ICBM that might make Washington and its allies antsy.
Dongfeng-41’s predecessor, Dongfeng-31A, a road-mobile, three-stage, solid-fuel rocket, was once touted as capable of hitting targets anywhere across the North Hemisphere with a range of 11,500 kilometers, making targets in the contiguous United States easily reachable. With a warhead for single or multiple 1-megaton thermonuclear weapons, it’s at present the buttress of the People’s Liberation Army’s strategic nuclear deterrent.
On the military parade marking the 90th anniversary of the founding of the PLA this August, a new DF-31AG, with a range of 13,000km, was unveiled for the first time.
Now the guessing game is on as to the might of China’s next-generation ICBMs, rumored to be named Dongfeng-41.
Hu quoted an anonymous source as saying that the super-ICBM was nearing the end of tests, and other than further enhancements to its maneuverability, range – no less than 14,000km – and staged propulsion system, the major breakthrough was a new warhead design that can house six to 10 miniaturized nuclear bombs, so a single Dongfeng-41 missile would be able to “destroy an entire belligerent country.”
Dongfeng-41 also uses penetration aids such as decoys or chaff and maneuverable re-entry vehicles to complicate and pierce through its enemy’s missile warning and defense system.
A separate report by Chinese news patrol Sina suggests a new variant of Dongfeng-41 can traverse 15,000km and hit New York City within 21 minutes from launch from its base in central China’s Henan province, and its top cruising speed can exceed 30,000km/h.
Other sources reveal that the PLA may have already developed a new transporter erector launcher system that can fire Dongfeng-41 from a train, taking advantage of the nation’s sprawling high-speed railway network to give a big boost to speed of response and maneuverability.
Hu said the world would not have to wait for too long before Beijing officially acknowledges the full deployment of its war-ready Dongfeng-41 missiles.