China’s intercontinental ballistic missile DF-41 is expected to be deployed in early 2018, said military expert Yang Chengjun on a TV program broadcasted on China Central Television (CCTV) on 26 November 2017. According to military experts, no failure had occurred during the test launches of DF-41, and the success rates of the US and Russia are around 90% and 85%, respectively. “DF-41 is 4th-generation and China’s latest strategic missile,” said Yang, adding that the reliable missile is quick, mobile, and precise.
Public data shows that DF-41 is a rival of the 6th-generation missiles of some developed countries, such as the American LGM-30 Minuteman and the Russian RT-2PM2. The Chinese missile even has an edge with regard to some technologies. The DF-41 has a range of 12,000 kilometers and a deviation of some one hundred meters. It can carry six to 10 multiple maneuverable warheads, which makes it difficult to be intercepted. The missile is 16.5 meters in length with a diameter of 2.78 meters. It can be launched from road- and rail-mobile launcher platforms, as well as silo-based launchers.
Around the turn of the century the US Department of Defense expected the DF-41 to be deployed by the PRC between 2005 and 2010. These years came and went with no DF-41, leading many to conclude the program had been abandoned. The Bill Gertz [what would we do without him?] reported on August 15, 2012 the first flight test of the DF-41 road-mobile ICBM occurred 24 July 2012.
The missile, once thought to be designated CSS-X-10, a designation now applied to the DF-31, was referenced briefly in the Pentagon’s 2011 annual report on the Chinese military [but omitted from the 2012 abbreviated report to Congress]. In addition to the DF-31 and DF-31A, “China may also be developing a new road-mobile ICBM, possibly capable of carrying a multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV),” the Pentagon report said in 2011. And in 2013 DOD reported "China may also be developing a new road-mobile ICBM, possibly capable of carrying a multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV)."
The strategic development of China is the focus of the world's leading powers, especially the United States. The lack of reliable information leads to a lot of rumors and different interpretations. It seems that China is not averse to adding fuel to the fire, from time to time by publishing the web for pictures of strategic missiles, the authenticity of which is controversial among experts. Three photos widely disseminated on the Internet are said to show a missile said to be China’s intercontinental ballistic missile DF-41. But on closer examination, the "transporter erector launcher" looks more like just a transporter, since it lacks the hydraulics needed to erect the cannister for launch, and the missile cannister looks suspiciously like a petroleum cracking tower.
The three-stage solid-fuel DF-41 is believed to be larger than the DF-31 missile, and has a range of up to 12,000 kilometers. While no information has been published concerning the configuration of this missile, the most straightforward path towards its development would be the addition of an enlarged third stage to the DF-31 ICBM. The larger third stage and longer range of the DF-41 wass made possible by the fact that, unlike the DF-31, the size of the DF-41 is not constrained by the requirement that it be fitted into a submarine launch tube. The DF-41 strategic weapons system was projected to have a mobile launch capability providing greatly improved survivability compared with previous Chinese intercontinental missiles. It was anticipated that the DF-41 will be delivered to the 2d Artillery around the year 2010.
No DF-41 / CSS-X-10 was expected to be displayed in the October 1st military parade of the PRC's 60th anniversary since it is still in protracted research and development to the disappointment of many. The DF-41 is believed to be a MIRV armed 10,000 – 12,000 kilometer range ICBM.
As of March 2001 the US Defense Intelligence Agency reported that China had several new strategic missile systems are under development, including two new road-mobile solid-propellant ICBMs. The 8,000 km DF-31 was successfully flight- tested in 1999 and 2000, and tests of the other longer-range mobile ICBM were anticipated within next several years.
In the absence of flight testing, the final operational configuration of this solid fueled missile remained uncertain, particularly with respect to the length of the third stage. However, this derivative of the DF-31 would be unlikely to have a throwweight in excess of 1000 kgs, and most estimates are in the range of 800 kg. Some estimates anticipate that, as with previous Chinese ICBMs, the DF-41 will carry only a single warhead [with a 0.35 - 1.0 MT yield]. In any event, depending on the weapon's yield, it seems unlikely that China would be able to mount more than a few lower-yield [50-100 KT ?] RVs on this ICBM. The American Minuteman III has 3 RVs and a throwweight of 1100 kgs at 12,900 kms, while the MX Peacekeeper carries 10 RVs and has a throwweight of 3950 kgs at 11,000 kms. Both American missiles carry warheads with yields of a few hundred kilotons.
The first test came in 2012 from the Wuzhai Space and Missile Test Center.
China carried out a long-range missile flight test on 13 December 2014 using multiple, independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs, according to US defense officials. The flight test of a new DF-41 missile, China’s longest-range intercontinental ballistic missile, marks the first test of multiple warhead capabilities for China. The missile test was first reported by the Washington Free Beacon Dec. 18. Defense officials said the DF-41 was launched from the Wuzhai Missile and Space Test Center, also known as Taiyuan, in central China. The missile landed in an impact zone in a remote region of western China.
PLA Sr. Col. Yang Yujun told reporters at a year-end news briefing: "China has the legitimate right to conduct scientific tests within its border and these scientific tests are not targeting any country or target. What needs to be pointed out is that China pursues a nuclear policy of self-defense and its policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons has not changed."
On the rail mobile ICBM issue, US intelligience had not seen the Chinese pursue the rail option. They seemed to like the road option more, and their road infrastructure better suited them for mobility, for more mobile options. They are very concerned about the US ability to find and kill TELs so the roads give more ability to flush out and go to hide sites and get to launch locations.
China’s state-owned Global Times, on 23 January 2017, carried a report, which said the Dongfeng-41 (DF-41) missile would bring China “more respect.” The missiles that are capable of carrying 10-12 nuclear warheads were deployed near the China-Russia border, according the report, which did not go into further detail. there has been no authoritative information on whether China has a Dongfeng-41 strategic missile brigade, how many such brigades it has and where they are deployed. Two days earlier, Pingguo Ribao, a Hong Kong-based publication reported about the deployment. News of a potential deployment leaked much earlier.
The American website Washington Free Beacon published an article on 05 June 2018 saying that China recently completed the 10th flight test of the DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), marking a substantial step forward for the actual deployment of China's latest and most powerful strategic weapon. An official from the U.S. Department of Defense said that the DF-41 missile was launched from Taiyuan City of northern China's Shanxi Province on May 27, 2018, and travelled thousands of miles before it hit a simulated target in western China's Gobi desert.
The article said that China issued a flight notice that day that designated a no-fly zone in the northwest airspace, same as when it test-flew the DF-41 in 2017. "We noticed the latest flight test and will continue to pay attention to China's weapon development, but we won't disclose any specific information about this test," said Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Logan, spokesperson of the Pentagon. American media reported that the last test shooting of the DF-41 missile happened on November 6 last year and this was the 10th test flight, and it is expected to be commissioned in 2018.`
|Contractor||Academy of Rocket Motors Technology - ARMT|
|Operator||Second Artillery Corps|
|Deployment||Silo or mobile|
|Range (km)||10,000 - 12,000|
|Warheads||3 - 10 ?|
|Re-entry Vehicle Mass (kg)||800-1,000 [?]|
|Warhead Yield||1 @ 0.35 - 1.0 MT or|
3-6 @ 50-100 KT
|CEP (meters)||700 - 800 ??|
|Launch Preparation Time||3-5 minutes|
DF-41 - Rail Mobile
Beijing had been developing rail-based missile launchers since 1982, according to declassified CIA documents. The most recent test is a significant milestone for Chinese weapon developers, demonstrating that Beijing is moving forward with deploying the DF-41 on rail cars, in addition to road-mobile launchers, officials told the Free Beacon.
Military analysts say the mobile basing of missiles is designed to complicate preemptive attacks on nuclear forces. The train carrying the missiles includes missile launch cars, a command car, and other system support railcars, all disguised as passenger train cars. China is believed to have obtained rail-mobile missile technology from Ukraine, which, during the Soviet era, built the SS-24 rail-based ICBM, according to a report by Georgetown University’s Asian Arms Control Project.
China also is developing an extensive rail and tunnel system in central China for the missile train, according to the report. Phillip A. Karber, a defense expert who heads the Potomac Foundation, said his organization recently identified a DF-41 at a launch site at Taiyuan. "If that missile train hosts the DF-41 ICBM it means it will also have a MIRV potential," Karber told the Free Beacon. "The combination of high-speed mobility, launch cars disguised as civilian passenger trains, tunnel protection and secure reloading of missiles, coupled with multiple warheads, makes the system extremely hard to regulate or verify the number of systems."
According to one Chinese source "After 2010, these problems were solved. The second artillery commanding organ began using the trains to conduct command and launch operations. It mainly transported Dongfeng-31 by rail, and a new railway transportation camp was established for this purpose.... The speed can exceed 100 kilometers per hour, and it is within the country. It is even more difficult to be detected by satellites. China has obtained design information on train launches for SS-24 intercontinental missiles from Ukraine."
Chinese military expert Richard Fisher said: "China's new rail-mobile ballistic missile system, will greatly increase the difficulty of the US missile tracking China because China now has more than 120,000 kilometers of railway mileage will allow DF-. 41 missiles deployed rapidly changing place.
China also conducted research in the 1970s through the use of long-range ballistic motorized railway system, since there is a great technical threshold and give up, the other was China's heavy-duty railway mileage is quite inadequate. Later, China turned to the development of the technical difficulty of the relatively small pre-launch position of quasi-road mobile missile, which is emerged as the DF-31 ICBM.
The official name of the missile train is "mobile ICBMs railway system" refers to the range ballistic missile mounted on a special train, train, rail-mobile ballistic missile launches carried out in the train along the rail-mobile. The Soviet Union in the early 1960s started to develop missile train, the official service in October 1987 and combat duty. Rail-mobile launchers as a means of transmission, the maximum advantage is the continuous speed of up to 80 and maneuvering 100 km / h, and the distance the motor, a motor can be transferred over 1,000 kilometers of missile train can expand the range of maneuver, easy to get rid of the enemy tracking reconnaissance means.
The use of rail transport missiles, stability is better than the road motorized transport, it can be a missile test in motorized transport, reducing the positions launch preparation time, greatly improving the survival probability of the missile. Requirements for rail-mobile emission technology is extremely high, due to the advance could not be determined longitude and latitude, elevation and direction of the reference point of emission, thus requiring emission must be independent of the fast train location, orientation equipment, installation fast sighting equipment, the road between the missile test equipment, Once the train stops, the missile erector deployes and the missile can be quickly launched.
In December 2015 China tested a new rail-car-mounted long-range missile capable of hitting targets in the United States, according to American intelligence agencies monitoring the test. A canister ejection test for a DF-41 missile mounted on a rail launch platform was detected December 5 in western China, defense officials familiar with reports of the test told the Washington Free Beacon.
The spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Defence, Colonel Yang Yujun did not deny the testing of rail-mobile DF-41 when a reporter raised the issue during an interview. He replied 31 December 2015 that scientific experiments and research are being carried out as planned. A piece of information revealed in a government environmental monitoring file indirectly confirmed the existence of a new generation of Chinese intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), the Dongfeng-41 (DF-41) missile. The official website of Northwest China's Shaanxi Environmental Monitoring Center mentioned a site monitoring to guarantee proper conditions for the research of DF-41 missiles in a weekly work summary in June 2014. Previously China had not acknowledged the existence of DF-41 missiles. At a press conference in December 2013, responding to speculation over the trial of new ICBMs, the Ministry of National Defense spokesperson Geng Yansheng said that the scientific research and drills carried out as planned were normal with no specific targets. In the report the US Department of Defense issued on June 5, Military and Security Developments involving the People's Republic of China 2014, it mentioned that the China's second artillery had been equipped with DF-31A ICBMs and were developing the DF-41 missiles. Tang Bohu, a military commentator with Ifeng News, told the Global Times 02 august 2014 that the accidental confirmation of the existence of DF-41 missiles will give the international community, including the US, a new understanding of China's nuclear power. "I believe revealing the information was unintentional. But sooner or later, China will demonstrate these new nuclear weapons at international military parades. Eventually, the weapons will be meant for deterrence." Song Zhongping, a Beijing-based military affairs commentator, said it is no surprise that China is researching the next generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles. "The development pattern for our military industry is deploying one generation of weaponry, researching the next and forecasting a third. Now that the DF-31 missiles have long been in service, it is normal that research into the next generation is underway," he told the Global Times. "With proper master of the satellite launching and recovery technologies, one can send a warhead to any place around the globe, in theory," Song said. He added that what matters more than range is precision. "The next generation should be able to carry both nuclear and regular warheads that can perform accurate attacks." Tang said it is widely speculated that the DF-41 missiles will be able to carry three nuclear warheads. He added that the new generation would also likely to have better mobility as the launchers can cross more complicated terrain, and have better survivability in the event of a first strike. Song noted that the new missiles would also have stronger penetration abilities and faster response times. "Only with these advantages can they have the chance to quickly penetrate through the missile defense system of the US." Chinese military observers have widely connected China's efforts in improving its missiles' functions with the missile defense plans of the US. At present, the US is developing a multi-level missile defense network including the Ground-based Midcourse Defense System, Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, and Sea-based SM-3 Missile Defense System. Song said China's development of the new missiles is aimed at maintaining military balance to protect national security, not to seek hegemony, while the US is trying to break it by being ambitious in improving military technologies in both defense and attack. China has a "no first use" policy for nuclear weapons. "The US has been building its missile defense network like a shield, which other countries' missiles cannot penetrate. This for sure stimulated other countries to sharpen their 'spears.' Otherwise, if the US has both the strongest shield and spear, they could impose an aggressive strategy on us, and we would be driven into passivity," said Song.
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