Chinese state media has claimed that the country’s new DF-31AG Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) is capable of being armed with multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) warheads.
China has unveiled the new ICBM at a large military parade held at Zhurihe military base in Inner Mongolia celebrating the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on July 30. The parade was presided over by the President Xi Jinping.
The ICBM was previously identified as the DF-31B by U.S. government sources as it is thought to be an upgrade to the DF-31A missile introduced in 2009. The DF-31A only carries a single warhead. The missile was developed by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).
The DF-31AG is mounted on a 16-wheel all-terrain Transporter, Erector and Launcher (TEL) vehicle while the DF-31A is mounted on trailer-type TEL which is only capable of transversing paved roads. Due to this, DF-31AG demonstrates better mobility and survivability.
The missile reportedly also has a longer range compared to its predecessor (7,200–8,000 km (4,500–5,000 miles) for DF-31A).
The appearance of the missile in such a parade indicates that the DF-31AG has entered service with the PLA Rocket Forces. But, China has yet to officially release details of the missile.
During the military parade, more than 100 planes flew overhead and nearly 600 different types of weaponry were on display, including the J-20 stealth fighter and DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles.