The Dong Feng 41 (CSS-X-10) is a road- and rail-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The DF-41 is currently in its final testing stages and will be the next land-based ballistic missile to be deployed in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). It is estimated to have an operational range of 12,000 to 15,000 km, which would make it the longest range missile in operation. It will likely have a top speed of Mach 25 and will be capable of delivering up to 10 MIRVed warheads. It is projected to be able to strike the continental United States within 30 minutes. Source missilethreat.csis.org
The DF-41, which was described by Washington as the world’s longest-range missile, has entered its final test phase, according to Canada-based Kanwa Asian Defence.
With an operational range of up to 14,500km, the DF-41 would first be deployed to the advanced brigade of the People’s Liberation Army’s new Rocket Force based in Xinyang in Henan province, the report said.
From there, the missile would be able to strike the United States within half an hour by flying over the North Pole or slightly more than 30 minutes by crossing the Pacific, the report said.
But defence analysts said it was not clear if the DF-41 could break through the multilayered US missile defence system in the Asia-Pacific region.
“No one questions the longest range of the DF-41 is near 15,000km. But within just a few minutes of being launched, it might be blocked by the US’ defence system at its Guam naval base,” Professor He Qisong, a defence policy specialist at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, said.
The solid-fuel, road-mobile ICBM had been tested at the Wuzhai Missile and Space Test Centre – also known as the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre – in Shanxi province since last summer, the Kanwa report said.
The DF-41 has been tested at least five times since July, 2014, according to the US-based Washington Free Beacon.
Earlier reports from the website said US intelligence agencies had detected that the PLA’s missile force submitted a DF-41 missile to a “canister ejection test” from a railway-mounted mobile launcher on December 5.
The test was a milestone for Chinese strategic weapons developers and showed that Beijing was moving ahead with building and deploying the DF-41 on difficult-to-locate rail cars, in addition to previously known road-mobile launchers, the website said.
Kanwa chief editor Andrei Chang said the strike rate of the DF-41 would improve further after 2020 when China completed its home-grown BeiDou navigation satellites, helping to wean the PLA off its dependence on the US’ Global Positioning System.
But He said the US might develop technology to jam the BeiDou system’s signals.
“The US has spared no effort to upgrade its missile defence system year after year,” He said. “The missile systems – so far – are just a game of threats played among the great powers.” Source: scmp.com
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