China conducted a flight test this month of its newest long-range missile that U.S. intelligence agencies say lofted two independently-targeted simulated nuclear warheads, according to defense officials.
The launch of the DF-41 road-mobile missile Aug. 6 was the fourth time the new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) has been test-fired in three years, and indicates that the weapon capable of hitting U.S. cities with nuclear warheads is nearing deployment.
The DF-41, with a range of between 6,835 miles and 7,456 miles, is viewed by the Pentagon as Beijing’s most potent nuclear missile and one of several new long-range missiles in development or being deployed.
As with earlier DF-41 flight tests, Pentagon spokesmen had no direct comment. A defense official, however, told the Washington Free Beacon: “We do not comment on PRC weapons tests but we do monitor Chinese military modernization carefully.”
The Pentagon has said it expects the new missile to become operational as early as this year. Deployment of the DF-41 also could coincide with China’s first patrols, slated to begin this year, of submarines armed with nuclear-tipped JL-2 missiles.
According to sources in China citing several witnesses, an ICBM was successfully tested for the fourth time on August 5 2015. If the reports are accurate, this means that People’s Liberation Army (PLA or Chinese Army) DF-41 new generation intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) continues its development and was tested for the fourth time following tests in July 2012, December 2013 and December 2014.