Future PLA strategic procurement priorities


ZeEa5KPul

Senior Member
Registered Member
and if the silos get filled and if so, with what?
The missile intended for them is called DF-45. Unfortunately, we don't know much (meaning anything) about them.
Seems a bit of a waste to put road-mobile DF41s in them.
It is.
Why do you think it be a waste to put DF-41s in the silos? It's the only solid fuelled ICBM that has the range to cover all the US
A missile intended to be mobile is overengineered and of limited capability compared to a purely silo-based one. A good analogy is between carrier and land-based fighters - the former is more expensive and than the latter due to the constraint of operating from carriers.
 

AndrewS

Colonel
Registered Member
The missile intended for them is called DF-45. Unfortunately, we don't know much (meaning anything) about them.

It is.

A missile intended to be mobile is overengineered and of limited capability compared to a purely silo-based one. A good analogy is between carrier and land-based fighters - the former is more expensive and than the latter due to the constraint of operating from carriers.

I would class the DF-41 and DF-45 as variants in the same family, and I wouldn't expect too many differences
 

Maikeru

Junior Member
Registered Member
I would class the DF-41 and DF-45 as variants in the same family, and I wouldn't expect too many differences
Any source for this assertion? For all we know, DF45 (if that is indeed the correct designation) could me a completely different missile to DF41.
 

AndrewS

Colonel
Registered Member
Any source for this assertion? For all we know, DF45 (if that is indeed the correct designation) could me a completely different missile to DF41.

The nomenclature (DF-41 and DF-45) suggests variants of the same family.

And common sense says that if you already have an operational DF-41 missile, you can reuse most of it for a silo-based version.
 

ZeEa5KPul

Senior Member
Registered Member
The nomenclature (DF-41 and DF-45) suggests variants of the same family.

And common sense says that if you already have an operational DF-41 missile, you can reuse most of it for a silo-based version.
I wouldn't read too much into the choice of nomenclature, all it could signify is that the two missiles are broadly of the same technological generation. The DF-45 is thought to have a larger motor diameter (>= 2.2m) than the DF-41 (2m). So components would not be directly reusable.
 

AndrewS

Colonel
Registered Member
I wouldn't read too much into the choice of nomenclature, all it could signify is that the two missiles are broadly of the same technological generation. The DF-45 is thought to have a larger motor diameter (>= 2.2m) than the DF-41 (2m). So components would not be directly reusable.

Well, let's see what happens. It doesn't make much difference in the final analysis.
 

Maikeru

Junior Member
Registered Member
Well, let's see what happens. It doesn't make much difference in the final analysis.
It kinda does, because a silo based missile can be a lot larger than a mobile one and thus have much greater payload/range. Not that you'll be caring about that if you're on the receiving end.
 

weig2000

Senior Member
I don't see that as the only or even the most likely course of events. If one side sees it's going to lose conventionally, it has two options:
A) escalating to nuclear - which has a high likelihood of escalating so much that everyone loses hard. Which involves the active side losing 50% of its population and 90% of its economy/industry/tech base.
or B) saying "ok, you win" and backing down. If it does that, it will lose a few percent of its population and some more percent of its economy/industry/tech base.

Under option A - the active country may require centuries to get to the level where it was before the war. Also centuries to get to the same level relative to the other belligerent country.
Under option B - the active country may require just decades to get to the level where it was before the war. With also a chance to once again match the other belligerent country; perhaps not within those same decades but certainly within a much, much shorter timespan than the aforementioned "centuries".

Now, if the other belligerent country insists on fighting further, after the active country said "you win", and perhaps even, as it keeps fighting, it insists on some ludicrous "peace terms" where the active country would be punished even far more than WW1 Germany was,
then the active country still retains that option of "okay, you're being totally unreasonable and if you don't stop you do leave us no choice but to nuke you and thus die together". At that point, the other belligerent has much more to lose, relatively speaking, than in the option A) and will likely back down and accept more normal peace terms.

Case in point - Germany. After WW1 it was punished severely. Politically and economically. Yet it rose up in mere 20 years to capability levels which were enough to once again question the primacy in Europe. And Germany again after WW2. It lost once again, but within half a century, it lived to see the political barriers that separated it into two countries defeated and proliferated into the most powerful European economy.

Bottom line: global nuclear war leads to very certain centuries of destruction and harsh life. Conventional defeat gives a very realistic chance that things may change within decades. Because if anything is certain from history- it's that people forget. Administrations come and go. And within just a few decades old enemies can become some kind of partners, out of necessity if not out of anything else. And from that point, it's once again race to the top. Or to some next war.

You're talking about a more conventional war. In the age of nuclear weapon, the deterrence effect of mass destruction raises the threshold of war even between a strong country and a much weaker country (e.g., North Korea vs the US); it minimizes the direct conflicts and prevents severe escalation between peer or near-peer nuclear adversaries (e.g. USSR vs the US).

China vs the US is currently in a category in between the above two. One the one hand, both countries are nuclear weapon states and therefore they minimize the chance of major conflicts. On the other hand, the US possesses significantly larger nuclear weapon arsenal than China, which in theory could lead to your option A as you implied, when an existential crisis emerges.

China's current minimum deterrence policy was based on the fact that China was not an existential threat to the US and the US had bigger existential threat than China. Therefore China only needed maintain a small number of nuclear weapons to deter the US from using nuclear weapons against China in the time of conflict - it's simply not worth it for the US to incur such a cost even if it can achieve option A.

Now the strategic competition between the US and China have changed fundamentally. China is now considered by the US as the #1 competitor or adversary and the US ruling elites feel an existential threat from China, not militarily, but a severe threat to the US primacy. The US now arguably has both the capability and the motivation to image an option A when a major crisis breaks out.

I think Chinese leadership and Chinese elites understand the threat and the changing dynamics. That's why Xi Jinping was saying that the world is in the midst of once-in-a-century change. That's also why Chinese media such as Global Times calls for substantial increases in Chinese nuclear war heads given the US hostilities. That's also why former China chief arms control negotiator Sha Zukang recently publicly said that China should revisit its strategic deterrence policy and, while maintaining its no-first-use policy against non-nuclear states, the US should be excluded from the list. And finally, people suspect that all these are not just rhetoric, and that China is now constructing large number of silos to expand its nuclear arsenal. China possesses the technological, industrial and financial means to build up its strategic arsenal relatively quickly.

So, no, China is not going to sit still to allow your option A to become a reality, and no, WWI or WWII Germany results will not happen to China.
 

ZeEa5KPul

Senior Member
Registered Member
You're talking about a more conventional war. In the age of nuclear weapon, the deterrence effect of mass destruction raises the threshold of war even between a strong country and a much weaker country (e.g., North Korea vs the US); it minimizes the direct conflicts and prevents severe escalation between peer or near-peer nuclear adversaries (e.g. USSR vs the US).

China vs the US is currently in a category in between the above two. One the one hand, both countries are nuclear weapon states and therefore they minimize the chance of major conflicts. On the other hand, the US possesses significantly larger nuclear weapon arsenal than China, which in theory could lead to your option A as you implied, when an existential crisis emerges.

China's current minimum deterrence policy was based on the fact that China was not an existential threat to the US and the US had bigger existential threat than China. Therefore China only needed maintain a small number of nuclear weapons to deter the US from using nuclear weapons against China in the time of conflict - it's simply not worth it for the US to incur such a cost even if it can achieve option A.

Now the strategic competition between the US and China have changed fundamentally. China is now considered by the US as the #1 competitor or adversary and the US ruling elites feel an existential threat from China, not militarily, but a severe threat to the US primacy. The US now arguably has both the capability and the motivation to image an option A when a major crisis breaks out.

I think Chinese leadership and Chinese elites understand the threat and the changing dynamics. That's why Xi Jinping was saying that the world is in the midst of once-in-a-century change. That's also why Chinese media such as Global Times calls for substantial increases in Chinese nuclear war heads given the US hostilities. That's also why former China chief arms control negotiator Sha Zukang recently publicly said that China should revisit its strategic deterrence policy and, while maintaining its no-first-use policy against non-nuclear states, the US should be excluded from the list. And finally, people suspect that all these are not just rhetoric, and that China is now constructing large number of silos to expand its nuclear arsenal. China possesses the technological, industrial and financial means to build up its strategic arsenal relatively quickly.

So, no, China is not going to sit still to allow your option A to become a reality, and no, WWI or WWII Germany results will not happen to China.
Very well said. It's a point I've been making for a very long time and I'm glad to see more people making it: At the present time, the limits on China's nuclear arsenal (even its military more broadly) are entirely self-imposed and political. Minimum deterrence was a policy of poverty; it was all China could afford when it became a nuclear weapons state. It was a pragmatic compromise, nothing more.

Today both China's wealth and technological sophistication as well as its strategic environment have profoundly changed. The minimum deterrence policy is no longer fit for purpose and Chinese decisionmakers seem to finally realize that at long last.

I'd also like to commend your response to that user - you handled his risible comment quite gracefully.
 

FangYuan

Junior Member
Registered Member
If Russia, a country with economy and population only one tenth of China's, could replace and maintain thousands of nuclear warheads. There is also funding to develop various weapons programs. That means that building and maintaining thousands of nuclear warheads is not a burden for China.

China's military budget is more than 170 billion dollars a year. Just $70 billion is enough to build many new warheads and maintain it for 20-30 years. This is an economic and effective solution to protect China against direct attacks from abroad.
 

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