China’s National Day military parade, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), included the expected public debut of the advanced Dongfeng-41 (DF-41) intercontinental ballistic missile.
Chinese state media claim the new weapon is intended to protect the PRC from “nuclear blackmail.”
The parade included 16 mobile DF-41 launchers, praised by Chinese experts as a flawless weapon system that had “no failure record” during testing and development.
“This proves that China has sufficient and reliable strategic nuclear power, and decision-makers have the confidence to show and use them to respond to any kind of nuclear threat from any country,” gushed Chinese defense news editor Wu Jian to the state-run Global Times.
“No matter how advanced the missile is, it always needs a mature and comprehensive system to make sure it can accurately strike a target, which at least includes intelligence gathering, satellite surveillance, logistics, and construction of launching positions,” Wu added, portraying the DF-41 as not just an impressive achievement on its own, but a sign of how advanced China’s military apparatus has become.
The Global Times quoted other Chinese analysts who were equally enthusiastic about the DF-17, a new ballistic missile that uses a hypersonic glider to deliver warheads at very high speed and with the ability to change course in flight. These characteristics are supposed to make the DF-17 impossible for American missile defenses, such as the THAAD system deployed in South Korea or Japan’s upgraded defense network, to intercept.
The Global Times was much more explicit about portraying the DF-17 as a weapon specifically intended to penetrate U.S. defenses and implying the missile’s prospective targets would be U.S. and allied bases in Asia.
The hardware on display in China’s military parade included the submarine-launched JL-2 ballistic missile, the new generation of YJ-18 anti-ship missiles, and new surface-to-air missiles “capable of intercepting multiple air strike weapons in a complex electro-magnetic environment.”