Strategic Weapons: Countering the Tibetan Terror

Archives

February 16, 2010: Chinese officials were quick to respond to the recent Indian success in getting their Agni III ballistic missile into active service. This came about after the fourth test of the fifty ton, two stage, solid fuel missile. Agni III has a range of 3,500 kilometers and was built to reach targets in China. Chinese officials pointed out that India was, with the Agni III, still at least a decade behind China in the long range ballistic missiles department.

The Chinese introduced the DF-21 in 1999. This missile has a range of over 1,800 kilometers and can haul a 300 kiloton nuclear warhead. It's a two stage, 15 ton, solid fuel rocket. Launched from Tibet, the DF-21 can reach most major targets in India.

Fifteen years ago, China put the larger DF-31 into service. Sort of. This was China's first solid fuel ICBM (with a range of over 8,000 kilometers) and roughly equivalent to the U.S. Minuteman I of the 1960s. The DF-31 weighs about 46 tons and is 60 feet long and 7 feet in diameter. It was designed for use on submarines, land silos and mobile launchers (which would halt at those "parking lots in the middle of nowhere" visible in satellite pictures of Qinghai province). The DF-31 has been shown stored in a TEL (transporter, erector, launcher) vehicle. Driving these vehicles along special highways in remote areas provides more protection from counterattacks, than using a reinforced silo.

 The DF-31 was been in development for over twenty years, and only had its first successful launch eleven years ago. It's now believed to have a reliable and accurate guidance system, as well as a third stage that carries three 50 kiloton warheads. Only about a dozen DF-31s are in service.

The Chinese officials were also quick to dismiss Indian efforts on anti-missile systems (in cooperation with Israel). The Chinese comments appear to be largely for internal consumption, as the Indian efforts are belittled, and it is strongly implied that the Indian missiles not really ready for prime time.

 

 


Article Archive

Strategic Weapons: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close