China’s “ultimate doomsday weapon”, the Dongfeng-41, was on display during one of the country’s biggest military parades held in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, to mark the 70 years of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
The Dongfeng-41, is a solid-fuelled road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile, a devastating nuclear weapon of the People’s Liberation Army capable of reaching the US within 30 minutes. It has an operational range between 12 000 km to 15 000 km.
A solid fuel missile means that it only requires a very short time to deploy and launch, making it difficult to stop while it is still on the ground. There were no less than 16 of these weapons in the parade held in Beijing.
The DF-41 is thus currently the world’s longest range missile, surpassing the range of the US LGM-30 Minuteman which has a reported range of 13 000 km, according to Jane’s Strategic Weapons Systems classification.
American conservative website The Washington Free Beacon reported that the DF-41 had its first flight test on July 24, 2012. The US Department of Defense made no reference to this test in its 2013 report to Congress, but the Free Beacon reported in 2014 that US officials had said by then that the DF-41 was test launched twice since 2012.
But US Major General Lori Reynolds believes the way the United States will defeat more homogeneous nations China and Russia, is rather by diversity in the ranks of US troops.
Reynolds, deputy commandant of information and a three-star general, shared her insights with more than 300 intelligence Marines at the 9th Annual Marine Corps Association and Foundation Intelligence Awards Dinner on Thursday, last week.
“The challenges of the future operating environment are happening now for the intelligence community, the Marine Corps’ top general for information said,” according to The Marine Times.
“And I believe a dramatic mix of talent, of all races, religions, backgrounds and genders will be the difference in the future,” Reynolds underscored.
Diversity will give an intelligence understanding of adversaries which competitors China and Russia do not have, she added. “We must talk about diversity as a warfighting necessity and tonight I’m declaring it essential to the information environment,” Reynolds said.
The US will no longer resort to gunboat diplomacy. US aircraft carriers have become sitting ducks when entering waters within range of enemy forces.
“More serious still is the deployment of Russian and Chinese area denial systems, like the so-called carrier killer DF-21 antiship missile developed in the last decade by China. Its range of over 1 000 miles far outstrips the range of any warplane on US flight decks today,” Foreign Policy magazine noted. And the DF-21 is no longer even China’s top weapon.
Another weapon unveiled on Tuesday was the Dongfeng-17, a glider capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, which foreign analysts say is designed to maneuver at high speed to evade anti-missile defenses. It is a weapon against which US aircraft carriers have absolutely no defenses.
Other systems of interest were what seemed to be a communication relay drone, making Chinese drones independent of satellite communications, and the HSU-001, a diver vehicle, likely to be used as reconnaissance against US submarines and ships.
China’s equivalent of the Russian S-300 was also on display together with several large and very modern early warning radars.