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Report says this Chinese weapon could overwhelm U.S. ballistic missile defenses.
China has reportedly tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile that has the range to reach any city in the United States.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, China carried out a flight test Saturday for the long-range missile -- called the DF-41 -- which marks the first successful test of a weapon that has multiple warhead capabilities.
China rolled out it's DF-31 mobile ICBM launchers in 2007, and the DF-41 improves upon those launch capabilities with greater range and multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (Image source: Defense.pk)
The Free Beacon quoted unnamed officials who verified the test took place, but could not verify some of the flight test details, such as how many dummy warheads were used.
According to Jane's Defense, the the new road-mobile ICBM, the DF-41 has a range of just under 7,500 miles, "putting the entire US at risk." The site notes a report by the US China Economic and Security Review Commission (dubbed USCC) -- the review is an annual effort mandated by Congress -- and it revealed each of the new Chinese ICBMs can carry 10 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles.
The USCC report says this weapon could "[overwhelm] US ballistic missile defenses."
The DF-41's capacity to carry ten warheads was also verified by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (the primary missile spy identification center for the U.S. intelligence community), according to the Washington Free Beacon.
China has amassed a formidable nuclear arsenal; multiple sources estimate China has around 240 large warheads that could be used for either direct damage or be exploded miles above a target country to cause a crippling electromagnetic pulse blast -- a maneuver that could knock out all power in the United States for months or years.
By comparison, the U.S. strategic warhead arsenal includes 1,642 nuclear warheads, but all Minuteman missiles have been modified so they cannot carry MIRVs -- the multiple reentry vehicles. However, the Navy's Trident II submarine-launched missiles can still delivery 14 warheads per launch.
After illegally obtaining the multiple-warhead technology from the United States in the 1990s, China has been steadily developing the capabilities to deploy several nuclear warheads at once, and Saturday's test of the DF-41 is likely to stir significant interest among U.S. intelligence groups because it marks hefty leap in capacity for China’s strategic nuclear forces.
The USCC report notes, "It is clear ... China's nuclear forces over the next three to five years will expand considerably and become more lethal and survivable with the fielding of additional road-mobile nuclear missiles ... (and) China in 2014 continued to pursue a broad counter-space program to challenge US information superiority in a conflict and disrupt or destroy US satellites if necessary."
Frank Gaffney, founder and president of the Center for Security Policy, told TheBlaze the threat from China -- especially the considerations for a massive, country-wide blackout that could see 90 percent of Americans perish -- is significant, and cannot be ignored.
"China has the doctrine, the appreciation of our vulnerabilities and increasingly the means to conduct electromagnetic pulse attacks against the United States," he said. "As it improves the range and lethality of its ballistic missile forces, that threat will only grow. We ignore it, and continue to leave ourselves vulnerable to such a nation-ending danger, at our extreme peril."
According to Want China Times, this is what the DF-41 looks like when in transport mode -- though TheBlaze couldn't independently confirm the photo shows the latest version of the ICBM (Image source: Want China Times)
Peter Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and a member of the Congressional EMP Commission, told TheBlaze Chinese military doctrine calls for use of electromagnetic pulse attacks.
"In addition to planning for a nuclear EMP attack against the U.S. homeland, China in military doctrine and exercises is preparing to make an EMP attack against U.S. aircraft carrier groups coming to the rescue of Taiwan," Pry said.
"ICBMs can reach U.S. carriers long before they can enter the theater of operations and become a military factor. Moreover, the execution of a nuclear EMP attack against a U.S. carrier group, China calculates, might well deter the United States from rescuing Taiwan," he noted. "As General Xiong Guangkai threatened, on the eve of the 1996 crisis over Taiwan, 'the U.S. cares more about Los Angeles than it does about Taiwan.'"
(H/T: Washington Free Beacon)
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