As early as the first half of 2018, China’s People’s Liberation Army is slated to commission a new multi-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile, the Dongfeng-41, that can target “anywhere in the world,” the Global Times reports.
Speaking before 2,300 delegates of the Chinese Community Party, President Xi Jinping declared that Beijing “would strive to fully transform the people’s armed forces into a world-class military by the mid-21st century,” worrying some of China’s neighbors.
The Dongfeng-41 can reportedly reach speeds up to Mach 10 and uses dummy flares to throw off enemy air defense systems.
The missile has been tested eight times since 2012, the India Times reported, leading analysts to believe it must have progressed considerably if the PLA is prepared to declare the missile at operational capability.
The eighth test occurred sometime in early November, the South China Morning Post said, without specifying a location except for the country’s western desert area. The report did not specify the exact date the test occurred, either. A TV broadcaster who formerly belonged to the PLA Rocket Force said the missile was probably already in service, since trial tests can be conducted after the projectile is formally commissioned.
According to Global Security, the missile has a range of 10,000 to 12,000 kilometers, uses solid fuel propellant, has an estimated length of 15 meters and a diameter of about 2 meters, and has a mass of roughly 30,000 kilograms.
The missile will “carry up to 10 nuclear warheads, each of which can target separately,” the Global Times reported, but added, “China does not have an arms race agenda and will not compete with any country for any such purpose.”