Chinese hypersonic missile capabilities discussed by Nikolai Sokov
The Dong Feng 17 or DF-17, which is launched from land, can reach a speed of 7,680 mph (ten times the speed of sound) and has a range of up to 1,600 miles. Wu Qian, spokesperson for China’s Defense Ministry, said Beijing had ordered both the D17 and the DF-26, a medium-range ballistic missile with a range of over 3,000 miles, “on a large scale. number ”.
China announced the DF-17 two years ago with a four-minute clip of what it called the “blindingly unstoppable rapidity” missile capable of evading all existing anti-missile shields.
The DF-17, which includes a hypersonic glide vehicle, can be equipped with a nuclear warhead.
In addition, China, led by President Xi Jinping, is also working on another missile, the DF-27, which will have a range of up to 5,000 miles, potentially putting the US state of Hawaii within range.
China’s Xi Jinping is building an arsenal of hypersonic missiles (Image: GETTY)
US President Joe Biden (Image: GETTY)
Military analyst Malcolm Davis, writing for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said the DF-17 was highlighted in the US Department of Defense’s 2021 Military Power in China report, released earlier this year. .
Mr Davis said, “China’s expanding nuclear arsenal and growing concern that Beijing is moving towards a launch-on-warning posture, as well as the potential for a sub-strategic and tactical capability, raises the issue. whether she is also shifting from her traditional “no first use” posture.
“The report notes that China’s no-first use policy is declaratory and suggests that” there is some ambiguity about the conditions under which it would no longer apply. “
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DF-17 missiles during a Chinese military parade in 2019 (Image: GETTY)
“He says:” The PRC’s lack of transparency regarding the scope and scale of its nuclear modernization program … raises questions about its future intentions as it deploys larger and more capable nuclear forces. “”
Mr Davis added, “These developments are important in terms of timing, not only in relation to an anticipated crisis in Taiwan, but also because the Biden administration is considering the possibility of adopting a non-use declaration first or “Disposable” as part of its 2022 nuclear posture review.
“The administration should consider the implications of doing so for allies concerned about US leadership and for deterrence more broadly.
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DF-17 missiles can travel at ten times the speed of sound (Image: GETTY)
DF-17s can be equipped with nuclear warheads (Image: GETTY)
“China is preparing to quickly exit its traditional posture of minimal deterrence and may consider using its nuclear forces as a shield behind which it would feel free to employ conventional forces in a future crisis. “
The latest revelations come at a time of escalating tensions over both Taiwan and the South China Sea, over which China is claiming sovereignty.
An expert suggested that Beijing was building fictitious US aircraft carrier targets to help troops train for real operations.
China’s military might in numbers (Image: Express)
Speaking to The Sun, Sam Armstrong of the Henry Jackson Society said: “These are working models that are ready to be deployed as a training exercise for an actual operation against Western forces.
“You don’t build a training model of an aircraft carrier unless you plan to launch a bombardment on an aircraft carrier. “
Images suggest China built desert missile targets based on at least two Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers and a US aircraft carrier.
Collin Koh, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, added: “I don’t think desert targets will be the final step. It’s meant to be further refined.
The speed of the D-17 means it can evade missile defense systems (Image: GETTY)
Asked earlier this month, Wang Wenbin, spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, denied knowledge, saying, “I am not aware of the situation you mentioned.
Separately, China’s Foreign Ministry said it had filed harsh representations to the United States over the visit of five American politicians to Taiwan this week.
In his regular press briefing on Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, “We are advising some people in the United States not to play the Taiwan card because it is a bad card. and a losing hand.
The United States should abide by the one-China policy and immediately stop official trade with Taiwan in any form, and remove any obstacles to Sino-US relations in advance, Zhao said.