China Ballistic Missiles and Nuclear Arms Thread


gelgoog

Senior Member
Registered Member
It is important to the degree that it might make the USA develop a symmetrical response to systems like the DF-26 in the Pacific Ocean.
 

Viktor Jav

Senior Member
Registered Member
Should be important.
Depends what angle you look it from, from a China to Russia perspective the balance of power in Asia would receive a significant lurch when Russia starts to redeploy it's land based cruise missiles and IRBMs. In the past China was the only nation that deploys this kind of weapons. It is pretty much an open secret that Russia resents the INF because it denies it a powerful tool in the balance of power in the area. As a form of asymmetrical warfare, ground base cruise missiles can conduct deep strikes at a very low cost while using Russia's vast geography to elude detection and destruction.
From a China to US perspective, nothing really would have change. Even if the US deploys ground based cruise missiles in the Pacific there is very little place where it can deploy them effectively. Any small island can potentially be overwhelm in a counter missile barrage, whereas islands like Guam or Okinawa while defensible, limits the direction of where the missile can engage.
 

nicky

Junior Member
inf treaty aborted deployment of advanced version of ss-20 with extended range and multiple warheads less than 500 miles from alaska
 

Klon

Junior Member
Registered Member
From about
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
ago.
Digging Into China's 'Tactical' Hypersonic Boost-Glide Vehicle Program
A new document provides the first primary source evidence of a Chinese hypersonic boost-glide vehicle program.

By Raymond Wang
September 05, 2018

In April 2018, a screenshot of a “leaked document” started circulating on Chinese social media – first posted on Tiexue, a Chinese online forum for military affairs, it was
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
on
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
other outlets, while the original post is no longer
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
. It details the achievements of Zhu Xuejun, a chief designer of tactical weapons series at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, which is the First Research Institute of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. Read an English
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
(PDF).

thediplomat-picture1-675x790.png

The document is allegedly a page from a nomination form for the 12th Guang Hua Science and Engineering Prize, a prize awarded by the Chinese Academy of Engineering. As such, it must be written before the nomination
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
of September 2017. It lists four “significant achievements” of the nominee, of which the last one is the development of “China’s first operationalised boost-glide tactical missile weapons system,” which reached “hypersonic speeds of Mach 10, and conducted a full length flight test in 2014.” China conducted three HGV tests in 2014, two of which were successful.

Of course, one should not take the authenticity of this document for granted – Chinese social media is a hotbed of rumours and misinformation. I believe it is authentic for the following reasons.

First, the template matches with that of the official nomination form, which you can still
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
off the website of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. According to the website, the nomination process started in June 2017.

Second, Zhu’s name appears on the official nominee’s
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
of the China Association for Science and Technology, which was made
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
in November 2017. The list is no longer available on the CAST website, but remains accessible on the websites of other academies. While the “leaked” document never mentions Zhu’s name explicitly, it does refer to a “she.” The attribution to Zhu seems plausible, as she is the only female nominee who works in missile development.

Third, Zhu’s nomination form was never actually “leaked” – rather, it was publicly available from November 6-10, 2017, according to the
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
, as part of the nomination procedure. This “public airing period” was meant to offer peers a chance to comment on the nominee’s achievements. Indeed, you can confirm through WayBackMachine, which has a November 10 version of the CAST page
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
, that there were hyperlinks to the completed nomination forms for candidates. These links no longer work, as CAST has removed the files from its website. Regardless, this offers a more plausible explanation as to how this document ended up on Chinese social media.

Finally, we can confirm her work in boost-glide technology through official sources. According to a CCTV
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
, Zhu was nominated for the CCTV Person of Innovation in Science and Technology of 2017. The article affirms that she “created the design and theoretical framework for boost-glide tactical missiles.” While the article never specifies that this was a hypersonic boost-glide program, it confirms that she was involved in boost-glide technology for missile development.

For these reasons, I believe that the page from Zhu’s nomination form is authentic.

The first question is whether the program Zhu worked on was the one that eventually produced the DF-17 – a missile system with a hypersonic glide vehicle that was first tested in November 2017. Obviously, the document does not refer to these tests since it was written two months prior, and as such, we cannot draw any conclusions. That said, the document’s language echoes that of
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
’s
article, which quoted U.S. intelligence sources describing the DF-17 as the first HGV system that is “intended to be fielded operationally.”

What we do know is that there is a HGV program for a “tactical” (战术) missile system — what does this means in the Chinese context? Based on how the PLA classifies its missile systems, it seems that “tactical” refers to the intended missions of a weapon system, rather than its range or payload. A “tactical” missile
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
“important operational or tactical targets”; while a “strategic” missile targets “strategic targets.”

Considering that China official doctrine does not include tactical uses of nuclear weapons, it is tempting to infer that the program Zhu worked on is a HBGV with a conventional payload. This could mean a few thing — Zhu could have worked on the conventional variant of the DF-17, which is
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
. It could also be a completely separate conventional HBGV program.

However, there is another possibility: we do not know who wrote this document, and the author could have been using “tactical” in another sense, such as a reference to the missile’s range. Given that this is only one data point, we simply cannot draw a concrete conclusion about the nature of the missile’s payload.

Ultimately, this document raises more questions than it answers. Having said that, if authentic – which I believe it is – this is the first semi-official confirmation of the existence of a hypersonic boost-glide missile system in China. Thus far, its coverage in Chinese media only draws on Western reports.

Raymond Wang holds an MA from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. The author would like to thank James Acton and Zhao Tong for their comments.
 

Broccoli

Junior Member
Some thoughts on chinese ballistic missiles. Various onlines sources often regurigate data that df-31A is longer than df-31. By some 4 meters. How did they get to that figure is beyond me. When one actually compares the two launch containers, using various available images online, it appears df-31A container is more or less the same dimensions. If it's longer, it's perhaps by half a meter, not more. Of course, range figures are impossible to deduct, so one either has to believe various sources like Jane's and their collaborators like Erikson, (CSIS missile threat uses their figures) or the figures mentioned by US DoD report to congress. The latter mentions 7200 km range for 31 and 11200 km range for 31A. CSIS mentions 8000 km for 31 and 11000 km for 31A.

Since the actual size is similar, the only differences imaginable are: last stage propulsion, as df-31 had a quite slim last stage. Materials/weight of whole missile, as 31A may have used lighter materials. And payload weight. If a more miniaturized warhead was developed, DF-31A might be using less payload, which would propel the warhead further with same engine. Or, theoretically, the engine itself could have been made bigger with a smaller payload.

Another way to estimate range is to use other missiles:
Bulava. 1-2 meters shorter, similar diameter. Allegedly can deliver multiple warheads to 8300 km, using CSIS data. Also reported tested at over 9000 km. Possibly/probably with smaller payloads. Bulava was developed from knowledge gained with Topol, (soviet first solid fuel icbm? if we categorize Pioneer as IRBM) Finally, after decades of low funding in 90s and 2000s it became operational from 2011 onward.

JL-2 was also tested in similar timeframe through 2000s and became operational in early 2010s. Now, it may or may not feature similar solid rocket fuel tech, or materials tech.

There is also US Trident I, as comparison. Tested in 1970s, deployed from 1979 onwards. It's a 1.8 m wide missile, 10.2 m long, so smaller than JL-2. It is credited with range of 7400 km.
Trident II, slightly larger than JL-2, (13.5 m long, 2.1 meters wide) deployed from 1990 is credited with range of "over 12000 km".

Basically, when one looks at hike in range claimed for DF-31A, without a big size increase, and when one compares the other missiles, which, save for Trident II, aren't necessarily meaningfully more advanced, It seems quite plausible that JL-2 range, with a single warhead (weighing a few hundred kg) is actually 8000+, possibly even reaching 9000 km.
Original DF-31 didn't have payload shroud only a huge RV (US estimation 470-500kg in weight) on top the missile while DF-31A has a shroud what suggests that payload inside is much lighter... perhaps 1x90kt warhead + penaids.To me it seems that DF-31A is only an place holder before they get DF-41 in service, something they can use for deterrence before better missiles are ready.

Indian Agni V is probably best comparison vs DF-31.
 
Last edited:

gelgoog

Senior Member
Registered Member
Depends what angle you look it from, from a China to Russia perspective the balance of power in Asia would receive a significant lurch when Russia starts to redeploy it's land based cruise missiles and IRBMs. In the past China was the only nation that deploys this kind of weapons. It is pretty much an open secret that Russia resents the INF because it denies it a powerful tool in the balance of power in the area. As a form of asymmetrical warfare, ground base cruise missiles can conduct deep strikes at a very low cost while using Russia's vast geography to elude detection and destruction.
From a China to US perspective, nothing really would have change. Even if the US deploys ground based cruise missiles in the Pacific there is very little place where it can deploy them effectively. Any small island can potentially be overwhelm in a counter missile barrage, whereas islands like Guam or Okinawa while defensible, limits the direction of where the missile can engage.
Nuclear armed Tomahawk missiles could be launched from any ship with an Mk-41 VLS system or even a submarine. But if all they wanted was to use naval Tomahawks they would not need to break the INF Treaty. It does make sense to me in the following perspective: in the past when the Saudis needed ballistic missiles the CIA arranged for them to buy Chinese missiles because the USA had no IRBM to sell them. The USA might be interested in arming the Saudis and other nations with IRBMs to counter other nations with major IRBM composition in their arsenal i.e. Iran, North Korea, perhaps also Pakistan, India, and China. Imagine that in addition to selling these to the Saudis they started selling or lending them to the Japanese, South Koreans, Taiwanese, Ukraine, or Vietnam.
 

Viktor Jav

Senior Member
Registered Member
Nuclear armed Tomahawk missiles could be launched from any ship with an Mk-41 VLS system or even a submarine. But if all they wanted was to use naval Tomahawks they would not need to break the INF Treaty. It does make sense to me in the following perspective: in the past when the Saudis needed ballistic missiles the CIA arranged for them to buy Chinese missiles because the USA had no IRBM to sell them. The USA might be interested in arming the Saudis and other nations with IRBMs to counter other nations with major IRBM composition in their arsenal i.e. Iran, North Korea, perhaps also Pakistan, India, and China. Imagine that in addition to selling these to the Saudis they started selling or lending them to the Japanese, South Koreans, Taiwanese, Ukraine, or Vietnam.
There is nothing in the INF that forbids the signatories from selling cruise missile technologies to other states, only that they cannot use certain missiles. That one that does is the MTCR, and both Russia and the US have not pull out of that treaty yet. At least know which kind of international treaty you are referring to here. Moreover that the idea that the US would sell cruise missile tech to China's neighbors is a rather irrelevant factor, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan all have cruise missiles in one form or another.
The US has IRBM in the past like the Pershing, so it is not like they are completely lacking in that department.
 

gelgoog

Senior Member
Registered Member
The Pershing has gone out of use a long time ago. You would need to develop a new missile if the USA wanted an IRBM right now. They certainly have the technological base for it. Just look at the solid rocket booster engines used in the Atlas V space launcher for example. Still it would take years to develop a new rocket. But the Trident II is still available and that could be used on ground platforms if they wanted a portable ballistic missile quick.
 

Top