PLA’s DF-31B ICBM ‘poses threat to US national security’

       After China tested its DF-31B intercontinental ballistic missile on Sept. 2, the Washington-based Strategy Page said that this new missile with a range of 10,000 poses a serious challenge to the national security of the United States.

     The report said that China is estimated to have 400 missiles with the capability to carry nuclear warheads. Only a few dozen of them including the DF-5, the DF-31A/B and the DF-41 can reach the United States, however. China is believed to have had about 24 DF-5 missiles in service over the past 20 years. Even though they are capable of reaching the United States, few of them were believed to be operational because of reliability and maintenance problems.


     Most of China’s ballistic missiles are tactical missiles like the DF-21, which is capable of hitting targets in Russia and India. The United States has the capability to intercept nearly all DF-5s launched from China and Beijing claims that it has not aimed its missiles against any nation. While the DF-26C is being developed to replace the older DF-21, China is designing new missiles such as the DF-31A/B and the DF-41 to replace the role played by the DF-5 in the past.

     With a range of 15,000 kilometers, the DF-41 can be used against any targets in the United States. It can be moved, erected, and launched from a special truck. The article said that the missile has very similar capabilities to the 36-ton Minuteman III of the United States, first deployed in the 1970s. However, the DF-41 is unlikely to enter service with the PLA for quite some time.

     China’s nationalistic tabloid Global Times said that the DF-31B will be able to enter service much faster because it is only an upgrade version of the DF-31A.



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