China last week reportedly carried out its second test-launch of a mysterious new strategic missile, which could have the ability to fire multiple warheads.
The Friday test of the Dongfeng 41 intercontinental ballistic missile took place at the Wuzhai rocket-firing complex in Shanxi province, the Washington Free Beacon reported, citing interviews with anonymous defense officials.
Not much is publicly known about the Dongfeng 41, though some believe it had its first test-firing in July 2012. The long-range missile is thought to have a top flight distance of between roughly 6,800 miles and 7,450 miles, and to be designed to carry multiple independently targetable nuclear warheads.
A recent annual report to Congress on China’s military capabilities did not include mention of the road-mobile ICBM, though previous versions of the study detailed at some length the status of the weapon’s development.
Larry Wortzel, a member of the expert group that drafts the commissioned report, in November testimony to a House panel said China was bolstering its nuclear force by continuing development of the Dongfeng 41.
“This missile could be equipped with a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle, allowing it to carry as many as 10 nuclear warheads,” Wortzel said.