|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Sep 27, 2016 02:56 AM EDT|
(Photo : PLARF) DF-41 on its TEL.
Chinese president Xi Jinping let slip that China's fearsome DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile -- the world's longest ranged ICBM -- will be China's Christmas gift to the USA.
During a visit yesterday to the missile unit of the People's Liberation Army Rocket Forces (PLARF), Xi said the DF-41, which can reach out to 15,000 kilometers from China, "may be deployed this year."
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The deployment of this missile much earlier than expected will place the entire continental United States within its range from mobile launchers fired in China. It will only take 30 minutes for the DF-41 flying at Mach 25 (31,000 km/h) and its nuclear warheads to reach the U.S.
The DF-41 can carry from one to 10 nuclear warheads with yields ranging from 250 kilotons to one megaton. This missile is being called the "USA Killer" because it places all the U.S. at China's mercy.
Last April, China successfully conducted the seventh test of a DF-41 carrying two dummy warheads. The missile impacted in the South China Sea, a clear message to the U.S. and its allies ahead of the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling on July 12 that declared as illegal China's claim to own most of the South China Sea.
At the same meeting, Xi told the men of PLARF they need to build a mentality that "fears no death in battle." He described PLARF as "the core of China's strategic deterrence" and noted it played an important role in "deterring the threat of war."
Chinese military analysts believe Xi's pep talk to PLARF was part of his effort to improve the service's ability to withstand a nuclear counterattack from the U.S. Boosting the morale of the men behind China's arsenal of nuclear missiles and cruise missiles is also vital because China still lags far behind the nuclear capability of the U.S. but is upgrading its capability.
PLARF, which controls China's nuclear and conventional land-based missiles, is under the direct command of the Central Military Commission headed by Xi.
China is estimated to have 260 nuclear warheads, with an unknown number of them active and ready to deploy. U.S. intelligence in 2013 estimated the Chinese active ICBM arsenal to range between 50 and 75 land- and sea-based missiles.
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