2.2.17

China Tests Advanced ICBM

According to reports, China tested a new version of its Dong Feng-5 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the DF-5C. This new version is thought to be able to carry 10 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs). The DF-5C has a range of 8,000 miles. The test does not violate any international treaties.
The Cipher Take: The Dong Feng, or “East Wind,” family of missiles have been in service by China for decades. The new development here is the number of MIRVs on one missile - it suggests China has made progress in miniaturizing its warheads and may be increasing its nuclear stockpiles above the current estimate of 250 nuclear devices. The DF-5C is not China’s only ICBM. The DF-41, which can allegedly also carry 10-12 MIRVs, has a range as high as 9,300 miles. This would make it the farthest reaching ICBM in the world. China’s ICBM advancements are thought to be due, in part, to advances in U.S. missile defense technology. China’s published nuclear doctrine is a “no first use”policy. It appears that in Beijing’s eyes, MIRVs are the surest route to maintaining a credible deterrent—it is much harder to shoot down 10 MIRVS than one missile.

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