China’s military carried out a fourth flight test of an intercontinental ballistic missile last week, firing off a new road-mobile ICBM on Thursday, according to U.S. officials.
U.S. intelligence agencies monitored the flight test of the DF-31A missile from China’s Wuzhai Space and Missile Test Center to an impact range in western China.
Thursday’s DF-31A test came 10 days after the flight test at Wuzhai of a silo-based CSS-4 Mod 2 long-range missile, and several weeks after flight tests of a new road-mobile DF-41 ICBM, on July 24, and a submarine-launched JL-2 missile on Aug. 16.
U.S. intelligence officials believe the DF-41 will eventually be outfitted with between three and ten warheads. It would be the first time China’s strategic missiles were outfitted with multiple, independently-targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs.
China is currently in the middle of a major strategic nuclear forces buildup that includes four new ICBMs – the DF-41, JL-2, DF-31A, and another road-mobile missile called the DF-31 that is assessed to have less range than the DF-31A.
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