The latest success of the Chinese missile train development project is reported by The Washington Free Beacon in the article by Bill Hertz “China Tests New ICBM from Railroad Car” (“China has tested a new ICBM on a railroad car”) published on December 21. The author of this article from his sources in intelligence structures managed to learn about the latest developments of the Chinese industry in the field of strategic weapons. It is reported that American intelligence officers learned about China’s testing of a promising missile complex based on a train.
At the very beginning of his article, B. Hertz notes that the missile system tested by China is capable of attacking targets throughout the United States. According to an unnamed source in the US military, December 5 was recorded the fact of throwing tests of the DF-41 rocket, conducted at one of the ranges of the western part of China. It is noted that so far very little information is available about the new Chinese project of the promising BZHRK.
Estimated appearance BZHRK rocket DF-41. Photo Free Beacon / Asian Arms Control Project
According to reports, a prototype missile complex was recently delivered to the Wuzhai test site (the symbol used by American intelligence), also known as the Taiyuan Cosmodrome in Shanxi Province. The existence of this site, as the declassified documents of the CIA say, has been known since 1982.
B. Hertz admits that the recent tests of the missile complex are an important milestone in stories Chinese defense industry. In addition, they show that China intends to strengthen its strategic nuclear forces not only with mobile ground-based missile systems, but also with similar rail-based systems. All this should seriously impede the process of detecting and tracking missile systems on duty.
The Pentagon has so far refused to comment on the latest Chinese developments. Free Beacon reports that the official representative of the Ministry of Defense, Bill Urban, did not comment on the situation. He noted that the defense ministry does not intend to comment on Chinese work in the development of new weapons, but is carefully following them.
The author of the American edition reminds that earlier images of a promising Chinese railway missile complex appeared in free access. These photographs demonstrated the DF-41 rocket, located on a lifting launcher, which, in turn, is mounted on the base of a railway car.
It is reported that the intercontinental ballistic missile DF-41 is currently the most perfect representative of its class, created by the Chinese industry. According to unnamed sources, on the eve of throwing tests on a railway launcher, a rocket of this type was used in full-fledged flight tests. It is known that the DF-41 has a range of up to 7500 miles (about 12,5 thousand km) and is equipped with a shared warhead with individual targeting units.
B. Hertz refers to the opinion of unnamed military experts who evaluate the very concept of BZHRK and its prospects. They believe that the main task of the emergence of such military equipment is to simplify the preservation of strategic nuclear forces when attacked by a potential enemy. Mobile-based missiles can be dispersed throughout the country and thus removed from under a preemptive strike, including promising means of so-called. fast global strike. The Pentagon plans to adopt advanced weapons that will allow strikes against any targets in all regions of the planet in a matter of minutes. The presence of mobile launchers will allow the Chinese armed forces to save some of the missiles from the pre-emptive strike of the enemy.
American intelligence believes that the finished serial version of the intercontinental DF-41 rocket will receive a split head with 10 nuclear warheads. Currently, Chinese ICBMs are equipped with monoblock warheads, which determines the specificity of the strategy for their use. The total ammunition of the ground component of China’s nuclear triad is estimated at 300 warheads. The adoption of the DF-41 missile will significantly increase the number of deployed warheads.
It is assumed that in its new project, China used some of the lessons gained from third countries. Thus, in the report of the program “The Arms Control Project in Asia” (Asian Arms Control Project) of Georgetown University, it is stated that the Chinese specialists in their project used technologies obtained from Ukraine. It was Ukrainian enterprises before the collapse of the Soviet Union that took an active part in creating the BZHRK with the SS-24 rocket (PT-XNUMHUTTH “Molodets”).
B. Hertz recalls that even in 2006, Chinese television was talking about a certain project to develop a combat railway missile system. In the plot of the state television channel demonstrated launchers, command systems, etc. equipment based on passenger cars disguised as passenger cars.
Satellite image of the site of the Taiyuan Cosmodrome with an experimental BZHRK launcher. Photo Free Beacon / Potomac Foundation
The report of the specialists of Georgetown University as evidence of the use of developments on the Soviet project, obtained from Ukraine, pointed out some technical features of the two BZHRK. Thus, the Chinese complex, like its Soviet predecessor, often referred to abroad as the Land nuclear submarine (“Land Nuclear Submarine”), uses a so-called system. cold start with the release of the rocket from the transport and launch container before turning on the main engines.
Information on Chinese plans for the development and construction of a developed railway network in the central part of the country was cited as additional evidence. Numerous spans and tunnels can be used to move BZHRK during combat duty and perform various maintenance operations.
The publication Free Beacon cites the opinion of Philip A. Karber, a military expert of the Potomac Foundation. He claims that not so long ago, the experts of this fund analyzed commercial satellite photographs and found one DF-41 rocket mounted on a special launch complex on one of them. If it really was a promising ICF DF-41, then it should carry a split head. The combination of high mobility, disguise for civilian compositions, the possibility of building protected service facilities and separable warheads makes BZhRK an extremely difficult goal to detect and track.
F. Carber, of relevance to the study of Georgetown University, notes that the existence of the Chinese project of a combat railway missile complex became known about four years ago. However, then such messages were not taken seriously. Since that time, information has appeared on the construction in the interests of the 2 of the Chinese Artillery Corps (the structure responsible for the operation and use of nuclear weapons) of the 2000 km of special railways, which can be used in the future "rocket trains".
A promising system of railways and tunnels will significantly expand China’s capabilities in relation to nuclear missile strikes against targets in the United States. It is possible to divert the trajectory of an ICBM flight from Alaska, where American bases are located with interceptor missiles that protect against attack. The experts also got access to the images of large tunnels, the dimensions of which allow simultaneously hiding up to three trains with special cars.
The first official statements about the existence of a promising intercontinental rocket DF-41 refer to August 2014. A spokesman for the Chinese military, Gen Yansheng, said the new project was being developed for the security of the state. In this case, the military does not consider any third countries as a potential enemy and targets for new missiles. Also, the representative of the Ministry of Defense of China touched on the topic of disguise. According to him, the mobility of missile complexes makes it extremely difficult to track them with the help of reconnaissance satellites.
Back in 2013, the Chinese military came to conclusions about the prospects for the American program of rapid global strike. The Chinese Ministry of Defense believes that such strike systems pose a great danger to Chinese strategic nuclear forces. This year a new report has been released by the All-Chinese People’s Representatives Committee on the security of the state. The authors of this document stressed the importance of the creation and deployment of new intercontinental ballistic missiles, which should be able to overcome the enemy’s missile defense and be a full-fledged deterrent protecting the country from the attack of a potential enemy.
According to some data, recalls B. Gertz, the Pentagon is currently considering the possibility of a symmetrical response to the Russian and Chinese mobile missile systems projects. To do this, American experts are exploring the possibility of creating mobile missile systems of various classes, based on automotive or railway equipment.
Also, the author of the publication Free Beacon refers to an expert in the field of Chinese military programs Rick Fisher. He claims that the Chinese military has long been interested in the subject of BZHRK. The Soviet SS-24 rocket was transported by a special train and could deliver ten warheads to a range up to 10 thousand km. The latest Chinese rocket DF-41 has similar characteristics. China has some experience in creating railway vehicles with high load-carrying characteristics, which can be useful in creating BZHRK.
According to R. Fisher, the similarity of SS-24 and DF-41 is not limited to only the general features of the appearance of the complexes. He believes that the Chinese ICBM, like the Soviet / Russian counterpart, uses the so-called. cold start with the release of the rocket from the container using a powder pressure accumulator. The specialist believes that the purpose of the recent tests was to verify this method of ejecting a rocket from the transport and launch container.
Presumably the car with the launcher. Photo Free Beacon / Asian Arms Control Project
Fisher recalls the benefits of a cold start. The release of the rocket with the inclusion of engines after leaving the transport and launch container makes less high demands on the design of the latter. Because of this, a similar launch method is preferable for advanced rocket technology.
The expert touched on the length of the Chinese railways. At the moment, the country, according to R. Fisher, has 74565 miles of railways, including 9942 miles high-speed. By the end of the decade, the total length of Chinese roads will increase to 170 thousand miles. Thus, promising Chinese BZHRK will be able to quickly disperse throughout the country, for which they can use both regular and express roads. The characteristics of the DF-41 missiles, in turn, will double the number of deployed warheads, as well as attack targets throughout the United States from anywhere in China.
The building up of the Chinese nuclear potential, according to R. Fisher, should prompt the American leadership to reconsider its views on strategic arms limitations. At present, reminds the expert, Moscow and Beijing are intensifying military-political and military-technical cooperation. Official Washington should take into account these circumstances, including the risk of combining Russian and Chinese efforts in the field of nuclear missile weapons. Such combined forces may prove to be a serious tool for putting pressure on the United States, for example, on the issue of Taiwan’s independence, which the Chinese leadership refuses to recognize.
B. Hertz reminds that Russia is currently also creating its new “rocket train”. The commander of the Strategic Missile Forces, Colonel-General Sergey Karakaev previously mentioned that the project (code name "Barguzin") will be ready for 2017 year. A few days ago, 17 December, he said that a preliminary draft of the project is already ready, and now preparations are underway to develop a complete set of necessary documentation.
The new Russian BZHRK should be based on some work on the old project created during the Soviet era. According to Russian media, the emergence of a new railroad missile system should be an asymmetric response to the so-called American program. fast global strike.
Various fragmentary information about the Chinese project BZHRK appeared over the past few years. Now, thanks to Bill Gertz's sources in intelligence organizations, it has become aware of testing a promising system. According to the latest data, 5 December, the Chinese experts conducted a flip test of the rocket (presumably) DF-41 on the launcher So far, as follows from recent reports, the Chinese industry is engaged in working out the process of ejecting a rocket from a transport and launch container.
In the future, we should expect full-fledged launches with the help of new launch systems and other tests, up to a full-fledged exit of the “rocket train” to the firing position with the subsequent attack of the training target and departure from the launch area. Apparently, it will take several years to carry out all the necessary work.
The author of The Washington Free Beacon rightly notes the positive qualities of railroad missile systems. Such equipment is capable of running on the existing railway network and waiting for an order to perform a launch. In this case, trains with special equipment and weapons have minimal differences from other trains, which contributes to their disguise. China’s railways, in theory, make it possible to “hide” a significant number of trains with missile weapons, and plans for developing the network will only increase its potential.
Specialists have already learned the main characteristics and features of the DF-41 rocket. According to open sources, this product will be able to attack targets at ranges up to 12,5 thousand km and deliver to them ten warheads of individual guidance. In combination with the ability to launch rockets from almost anywhere in China, such characteristics make DF-41 an extremely dangerous weapon for the enemy, capable of keeping almost half of the globe under control.
The timing of the completion of the new project and the adoption of the promising BZHRK in service is still in question. Of the last News it is clear that Chinese experts, using some Soviet developments, were able to develop a new weapon system, as well as bring it to the stages of the first tests of a launcher and a missile. Subsequent work may take at least several years, but the manifestation of certain problems can lead to a delay in the project.
The crew of the promising Chinese BZHRK. Photo Free Beacon / Asian Arms Control Project
Without claiming the ultimate truth, it can be assumed that the project to develop a Chinese BZHRK will be completed by the end of this decade. Soon after, the industry will master the serial construction of new equipment and begin to supply it to the troops. The 2 Artillery Corps, which is responsible for other land-based missile systems, will probably operate the new “missile trains”. Thus, a double increase in the number of deployed ammunition predicted by US experts could occur by the middle of the next decade.
It is noted that the emergence of Chinese BZHRK may be a kind of asymmetric response to the American program of rapid global strike. Thanks to the implementation of this project, China will be able to remove most of the deployed missiles with warheads from the impact of a potential enemy. From the point of view of the United States, such a move by official Beijing may look rather threatening. What the US response will be is not yet completely clear. Perhaps the American leadership will decide to strengthen its grouping of intelligence satellites, or to solve the search problem by other means. In addition, it is possible to concentrate ships with antimissiles in the estimated areas of the flight of Chinese ICBMs, which will keep the grouping of antimissiles on the flight path DF-41. Anyway, it is required to create some rather complex structure for searching and, if necessary, destroying Chinese BZHRK.
In the context of the new Chinese project, it is also worthwhile to touch on its possible role in a hypothetical confrontation between China and Russia. American experts believe that in the future, Moscow and Beijing may unite efforts to put joint pressure on Washington, but we cannot exclude the possibility of developments in the less optimistic scenario for Russia. It is not difficult to guess that a promising air defense missile system with a DF-41 rocket may pose a serious danger not only for the United States, but also for Russia and even for Europe. Known characteristics will allow this complex to “hold on sight” significant parts of Russian territory.
Countering such a threat will be fraught with serious difficulties. It will be necessary to make every effort to search for trains with rocket armament on patrol routes and to discover their bases or secret tunnels with equipment for maintenance. Given the characteristics of the existing grouping of reconnaissance satellites, the solution of such a task can be quite difficult. How exactly this problem will be solved - time will show.
According to recent reports, the Chinese industry is actively engaged in the creation of a promising strategic weapons system with a number of characteristic features. The exact characteristics of this system and the time it takes to complete the work are still unknown, but even now foreign specialists and military leaders have a cause for concern. As the article by B. Gertz in The Washington Free Beacon and the expert opinions cited in it show, the DF-41 rocket and the railway complex to launch it, even without leaving the testing stage, can influence the plans of many states.
Article "China Tests New ICBM from Railroad Car":