Stratcom: China Rapidly Building Up Nuclear Forces


Beijing doubled warhead arsenal and will double again in 10 years

VADM Dvid Kriete / Bill Gertz

Bill Gertz – August 1, 2019 5:00 AM

OMAHA—China is aggressively building up nuclear warfighting forces as part of a larger effort to expand power over Asia and globally, according to senior officials of the U.S. Strategic Command.

Vice Admiral David Kriete, deputy commander of the command, said he is concerned by China’s rapidly growing nuclear arsenal when combined with other alarming activities in the South China Sea and elsewhere.

“China is and has been for the last couple of decades on a very clear trajectory where they’re increasing the numbers of nuclear weapons that they field, they’re increasing the number of and diversity of the delivery systems,” Kriete said in a press briefing.

“They are working on fielding a triad—ballistic missile submarines, strategic bombers, and land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles.”

In addition to a delivery system, Beijing is expanding its nuclear weapons production capabilities that will “allow them to continue on this trend or actually increase it in the future should they so choose,” the three-star admiral said.

Regional missile systems that do not have the same range as strategic missiles are being fielded.

Kriete also questioned China’s declared no-first-use policy, the statement that Chinese military forces would not be the first to use nuclear arms in a conflict.

“When it comes to the no-first-use policy, I have read about this no-first-use policy,” he said. “Beyond that statement, they don’t talk much about it, so I’m not exactly sure what it is.”

Kriete said the nuclear buildup should be viewed within the context of China’s regional and global expansion.

“China’s leadership has made it clear in recent years that they have goals of becoming a regional power and exerting—economic and military—over the western Pacific at some point in the future,” he said. “And then obtaining some level of global influence at some point after that.”

Chinese military activities in the western Pacific are supporting those goals.

Also troubling are China’s militarization of disputed islands in the South China Sea.

China has reclaimed some 3,200 acres of islands and last year was detected deploying anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles on them, along with electronic warfare capabilities.

Kriete said Stratcom is not focused on deterring regional conflicts with China but supports the Indo-Pacific Command in its efforts to do so.

“At the same time we’ll work on that strategic deterrent effect vis a vis China as well as Russia and some other countries,” he said.

China’s buildup of nuclear forces includes several new mobile nuclear missiles, including the DF-41 that is being deployed with multiple warheads. New ballistic missile submarines are being deployed along with a new strategic bomber.

China is believed to have more than 200 warheads for strategic weapons. However, Chinese secrecy has prevented knowing the precise numbers of warheads, which could be as high as 1,500.

China also is nearing deployment of a hypersonic glide vehicle—a maneuvering ultra-high-speed missile that can defeat missile defenses.

The admiral stressed that the United States does not want a war with China or any other country but needs to be prepared to do so.

“We really want a peaceful coexistence in a lot of places around the world, and I think there are ways to achieve that,” he said. “The strength that we show through our military force in the region and really domestically back home is an important part of that face that we show to China and other countries around the world.”

Another official, Rear Adm. Michael Brookes, director of intelligence for the command, said China’s nuclear forces modernization is a concern.

“China has long had a no-first-use policy, and yet they’ve doubled their nuclear arsenal in about the last decade, and they’re on track to double it again in the next decade,” Brookes said during a Stratcom conference on deterrence.

“It’s a little bit concerning the breathtaking pace of change with regard to their arsenal,” he said.

Combined with the nuclear buildup, Chinese leaders “appear to have a disinterest, at least at this time, to submit to any arms control regime.”

The Trump administration has said it is seeking to include China in a three-way or bilateral arms control regime. Beijing’s military has rejected entering into any negotiation on its nuclear forces over concerns that the talks would undermine its deterrent value.

Brookes said another concern regarding the Chinese nuclear buildup, as well as Russia’s nuclear modernization, are worries about their buildup of cyber warfare, space warfare and electronic warfare capabilities that could impact U.S. nuclear deterrence.

These weapons “fan the flames of competition” and jeopardize “the U.S.’s ability for indications and warning and C2 [command and control] of our nuclear forces,” Brookes said.

“That’s viewed as somewhat destabilizing and inflammatory,” the intelligence director said.

The Stratcom officials’ comments reflect warnings issued in May by Army Lt. Gen. Robert Ashely, who warned that China also is stepping up nuclear testing by operating a test facility year round.

Ashely called the nuclear modernization “the most rapid expansion and diversification of its nuclear arsenal in China’s history.”

China’s nuclear forces remain couched in secrecy. China operates large-scale underground nuclear storage and production facilities in a tunnel system dubbed the Great Underground Wall.

The system is estimated to include more than 3,000 miles of tunnels and underground plants.

On the topic of extending the New START arms treaty past its 2021 deadline, Kriete said Russia is building new strategic weapons and capabilities that are not covered by the treaty and that pose risks to deterrence.

Moscow has announced the development of a nuclear-powered cruise missile, hypersonic glide vehicles, and a nuclear-tipped underwater drone.

North Korea and Iran also are worried about their nuclear forces.

Stratcom is also assisting with the development of a new warfighting command, the Space Command, that will take over military space and defense responsibilities from Strategic Command. The new command could be stood up in the coming weeks, Kriete said.

Regarding U.S. nuclear forces modernization, Kriete said the military is moving ahead with a new Ground Based Strategic Deterrent—a nuclear missile to replace aging Minuteman III ICBMs.

Kriete said there are no current plans to deploy the new ICBM in a road-mobile launcher, but he did not rule out that mobile basing for U.S. strategic missiles could be used in the future.

Source: Washington Free Beacon “Stratcom: China Rapidly Building Up Nuclear Forces”

Note: This is Washington Free Beacon’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Successful Test of China’s JL-3 Nuclear SLBM Able to Hit Entire USA


Test launch of JL-3 SLBM

Test launch of JL-3 SLBM

On March 30, I had a post based on a huanqiu.com report on a US military officer’s words in an interview with an international media that it was quite probable that China has completed its deployment of six 096 submarines to have the capability of nuclear strike covering Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. .

Huanqiu.com said in addition that according to media report, not long ago, a 096 submarine launched a JL-3 SLBM from the Yellow Sea and successfully hit its target in Gobi Desert 8,000 kilometers away.

On February 19, I said in another post on JL-3 based also on qianzhan.com report, which said according to Yumiuri Shimbun, a Chinese submarine successfully test launched a JL-3 and hit a target in Xinjiang. The report did not mention where the missile was launched.

I believe both previous tests failed to see whether the JL-3 launched has a designed range exceeding 8,000 km while the recent test from the Atlantic has actually proved that the missile is capable to hit a target within its designed range that covers the entire United States.

The qianzhan.com report I now based is dated August 4, 2014. It said that recently Japan’s Yumiuri Shimbun reported that a nuclear submarine of Chinese navy successfully launched a new-type JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) at the Atlantic a few days ago. The missile hit its target in a desert in Xinjiang.

According to foreign research institute, JL-3 has been developed on the basis of Changzheng-2F rocket and DF-41 ICBM. It is a smaller version of Changzheng-2F rocket without booster and with warheads installed. The liquid fuel has been replaced by solid fuel. It has a range 5.000 km longer than JL-2 so that the entire United States is within its range. It can carry 5 to 7 35kt nuclear warheads with MIRV delivery.

The US and Japan pay great attention to that test launch of great significance. The successful test means that China has full second-strike capability as long as it has one nuclear submarine armed with such missiles. The missile greatly enhances China’s nuclear deterrence and signifies China’s entry into the club of nuclear powers.

US intelligence agency believes that PLA’s Type 094 strategic nuclear submarines armed with 12 JL-2 SLBMs will begin their first routine patrol in preparations for war within this year. China’s new generation of nuclear submarines will carry JL-3 SLBMs.

According to Russian media’s recent reports, PLA Navy has 9 first-generation Type 091 and Type 092 nuclear submarines. The number of its second generation Types 093 and 094 submarines is unknown. The third generation (perhaps the improved version of Types 093 and 094) is expected to be commissioned within 5 years.

This blogger’s note: There are discrepancies among the three posts based on huanqiu.com and qianzhan.com as China’s SLBMs and strategic nuclear submarines are well-guarded secrets. We cannot be sure whether the information provided by the media is correct or accurate.

Source: qianzhan.com “Chinese navy successfully tests JL-3 missiles, Russian experts warn the US” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)

Related posts:

  • China Completes Deployment of Six 096 Nuclear Submarines with JL-3 SLBMs dated March 30, 2014
  • China Successful Test of JL-3 nuclear SLBM Able to Hit Anywhere in the US dated February 19, 2014
  • China Test Launches in a Row of New Types of ICBM and SLBM within 10 Days dated December 24, 2013
  • China Conducts Second Flight Test of New DF-41 ICBM with 10 MIRVs dated December 19, 2013

China Fields DF-26C New Intermediate-Range Nuclear Missile to Reach Guam


Chinese Internet photos first published Feb. 29, 2012 show China's new DF-26c intermediate-range ballistic missile

Chinese Internet photos first published Feb. 29, 2012 show China’s new DF-26c intermediate-range ballistic missile

U.S. intelligence agencies recently confirmed China’s development of a new intermediate-range nuclear missile (IRBM) called the Dongfeng-26C (DF-26C), U.S. officials said.

The new missile is estimated to have a range of at least 2,200 miles—enough for Chinese military forces to conduct attacks on U.S. military facilities in Guam, a major hub for the Pentagon’s shift of U.S. forces to Asia Pacific.

As part of the force posture changes, several thousand Marines now based in Okinawa will be moved to Guam as part of the Asia pivot.

In April, the Pentagon announced it is deploying one of its newest anti-missile systems, the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) to Guam because of growing missile threats to the U.S. island, located in the South Pacific some 1,600 miles southeast of Japan and 4,000 miles from Hawaii.

And on Feb. 10, the Navy announced the deployment of a fourth nuclear attack submarine to Guam, the USS Topeka.

Chinese military officials said the Topeka deployment is part of the Pentagon’s Air Sea Battle Concept and posed a threat to China.

Disclosure of the new Chinese IRBM follows the announcement this week by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that the U.S. military is sharply reducing its military forces.

“How can [U.S. policymakers] possibly justify such reductions in defense spending when American forces as far away as Guam, Korea, and Okinawa are targeted by these nuclear missiles,” said one official familiar with reports of the DF-26C.

It was the first official confirmation of China’s new IRBM, which officials believe is part of the People’s Liberation Army military buildup aimed at controlling the Asia Pacific waters and preventing the U.S. military entry to the two island chains along China’s coasts.

The first island chain extends from Japan’s southern Ryuku Islands southward and east of the Philippines and covers the entire South China Sea. The second island chain stretches more than a thousand miles into the Pacific in an arc from Japan westward and south to western New Guinea.

Few details could be learned about the new missile and a Pentagon spokesman declined to comment, citing a policy of not commenting on intelligence matters.

The missile is said to be on a road-mobile chassis and to use solid fuel. The fuel and mobility allow the missile to be hidden in underground facilities and fired on short notice, making it very difficult to counter in a conflict.

The DF-26C is expected to be mentioned in the Pentagon’s forthcoming annual report on China’s military power, which is due to Congress next month.

Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, told a congressional hearing this week that missile and other nuclear threats from China and Russia continue to grow.

“The current security environment is more complex, dynamic, and uncertain than at any time in recent history,” Haney said in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Advances of significant nation state and non-state military capabilities continue across all air, sea, land, and space domains—as well as in cyberspace. This trend has the potential to adversely impact strategic stability.”

Russia and China in particular “are investing in long-term and wide-ranging military modernization programs to include extensive modernization of their strategic capabilities,” Haney said. “Nuclear weapons ambitions and the proliferation of weapon and nuclear technologies continue, increasing risk that countries will resort to nuclear coercion in regional crises or nuclear use in future conflicts.”

Richard Fisher, a China military affairs specialist, said Chinese reports have discussed a DF-26 missile as a medium-range or intermediate-range system. Medium-range is considered between 621 miles and 1,864 miles. Intermediate-range is between 1,864 and 3,418 miles

Online reports of three new types of medium- and intermediate-range missiles have said the weapons could be multi-role systems capable of firing nuclear or conventional warheads, along with maneuvering anti-ship and hypersonic warheads, Fisher said.

According to Fisher, two likely transporter erector launchers (TEL) for the new missiles were displayed last year on Chinese websites. They include two versions from missile TEL manufacturing companies called Sanjiang and Taian.

Three years ago, the state-run Global Times reported that the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. (CASIC) was working on a new 2,400-mile range missile that would be deployed by 2015.

That Chinese manufacturer also produced the DF-21 missile, prompting speculation that the DF-26C is a follow-up version of that system.

“China is developing and will soon deploy new longer-range theater missiles as part of its anti-access, area denial strategies, to be part of a combined force of new long-range bombers armed with supersonic anti-ship missiles, plus space weapons and larger numbers of submarines,” Fisher said in an email.

These forces are being deployed to push U.S. forces out of the first island chain and to have the capability to reach the second chain, including Guam, he said.

“China also consistently refuses to consider formal dialogue about its future nuclear forces or to consider any near term limits on them,” Fisher said. “China is giving Washington and its Asian allies no other choice but to pursue an ‘armed peace’ in Asia.”

According to Fisher, the Chinese missile buildup has forced the Navy to redesign its first aircraft carrier-based unmanned combat vehicle into a larger and longer aircraft.

The new Chinese long-range missiles also highlight the urgent need for a new U.S. long-range bomber to replace an aging fleet of strategic bombers.

To counter the Chinese threats, the United States should field its force of anti-ship ballistic missiles on submarines to match Chinese capabilities and deter China from using its naval power against U.S. allies such as Japan and the Philippines, Fisher said.

Russian officials have cited China’s intermediate-range missiles as one reason Moscow is seeking to jettison the U.S.-Russia Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which bans medium and intermediate ballistic and cruise missiles.

U.S. officials have said Russia is violating the INF treaty with a new cruise missile and testing its long-range missiles to INF ranges.

“It is time to retire the INF treaty because the United States now requires this class of missiles in order to deter China,” Fisher said.

“The bottom line: We are in an arms race with China and if America falters, so will our strategic position in Asia, which will surely increase the chances of conflict, nuclear proliferation and even nuclear war.”

The Pentagon’s latest report on China’s military forces, published last year, said the PLA is investing in “a series of advanced short- and medium-range conventional ballistic missiles, land-attack and anti-ship cruise missiles, counter-space weapons, and military cyberspace capabilities.”

The weapons “appear designed to enable anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) missions, what PLA strategists refer to as ‘counter-intervention operations,’” the report said.

The Washington Free Beacon first reported on March 7, 2012, that the Chinese military had revealed online photos of a new intermediate-range nuclear missile.

The new missile is believed by U.S. officials to be the DF-26C.

China’s military frequently uses the Internet to reveal the first photos of new weapons systems.

Analysts said the missile TEL shown in the photo is smaller in size than China’s DF-31 intercontinental missile and larger than the DF-21 missile.

Source: Washington Free Beacon “China Fields New Intermediate-Range Nuclear Missile: DF-26C deployment confirmed”

Related posts

  • China Developing DF-26 Aircraft Carrier Killer Missile with Hypersonic Warhead dated January 30, 2014
  • China challenging U.S. military technological edge: Pentagon official dated January 29, 2014
  • China’s 12 Advanced Weapons to Be Turned out or Developed in 2014 dated January 24, 2014
  • China Tests Mach 10 Hypersonic Weapon: US media dated January 14, 2014
  • China: DF-41 ICBM with Range of 14,000 km, Able to Break Through US Anti-missile Network dated October 8, 2013
  • First Revealing Photo of Simulated Test of China’s Anti-Carrier Missile dated January 24, 2013

 


China Completes Deployment of Six 096 Nuclear Submarines with JL-3 SLBMs


One of the six  096 strategic nuclear submarine China has deployed

One of the six 096 strategic nuclear submarine China has deployed

Type 096 Qin class nuclear submarine began to be formally commissioned in July 2008. It carries 24 JL-3 SLBMs with a range of 15,000 km and MIRVs.

JL-3 SLBM is the submarine version of DF-41 land-based ICBM. DF-41 can have 10 MIRVs but JL-3 seems to carry less MIRVs as the report says the 24 SLBMs can hit at lease 64 targets simultaneously. As a result, a 096’s fire power is equivalent to that of six 094 Jin class strategic SLBM submarines.

Moreover, installed with an anti-satellite device, a JL-3 can hit an enemy satellite.

A 096 submarine has a maximum displacement of 10,000 tons and is said to be rival to US Ohio class nuclear submarine characterized by low noise, high undetectability and maneuverability, great survival ability and long-range attack capability.

Recently, there has been media report that a 096 submarine launched a JL-3 SLBM from the Yellow Sea and successfully hit its target in Gobi Desert 8,000 kilometers away.

In an interview with an international media, a US military officer said that it was quite probable that China has completed its deployment of six 096 submarines to have the capability of nuclear strike covering Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. .

Source: huanqiu.com “China’s deployment of six 096 nuclear submarines armed with JL-3 SLBMs gives rise to great panic in Japan”

Related posts:

  • China Successful Test of JL-3 nuclear SLBM Able to Hit Anywhere in the US dated February 19, 2014
  • China Test Launches in a Row of New Types of ICBM and SLBM within 10 Days dated December 24, 2013
  • China Conducts Second Flight Test of New DF-41 ICBM with 10 MIRVs dated December 19, 2013
  • China: DF-41 ICBM with Range of 14,000 km, Able to Break Through US Anti-missile Network dated October 8, 2013
  • SCMP: China’s Nuclear Arsenal Is Fully Mobile dated August 28, 2012

China Successful Test of JL-3 nuclear SLBM Able to Hit Anywhere in the US


China's most powerful strategic missile

China’s most powerful strategic missile

Yomiuri Shimbun disclosed that a few days ago, a PLA nuclear submarine successfully launched a JL-3 SLBM that is regarded as the strongest strategic missile and hit a target at a desert in Xinjiang.

JL-3 is China’s third-generation submarine launched ICBM with a range exceeding 10,000 km. It can carry one or several warheads and is expected to be deployed in Type 096 nuclear submarines.

JL-3 uses a Changzheng-2F carrier rocket with reduced size. The the rocket has its booster removed but has been installed in addition with warheads and solid fuel. Its range is 5,000 km longer than JL-2 (can reach 20,000 km to hit the remotest target in the world). It carries 5 to 7 350,000-ton nuclear warheads, each of which can strike a different target.

Analysts of US Navy Times believe that if JL-3s are deployed in China’s new generation of nuclear submarine, the entire United States will be within the range of the missiles no matter where they are. This enables China to have the capacity of multiple nuclear strikes after being hit by its enemy as long as some of its submarines have survived.

A Russian military expert believes that the launch of a JL-3 SLCM proves that China’s nuclear deterrence has been upgraded from tactic to strategic level. China has integrated the technology of new submarines and new missiles to meet the requirements of actual war.

Source: qianzhan.com “China’s uncomparably powerful JL-3 strategic missile that the US and Japan pay great attention to” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)

Related posts:

  • China Test Launches in a Row of New Types of ICBM and SLBM within 10 Days dated December 24, 2013
  • China Conducts Second Flight Test of New DF-41 ICBM with 10 MIRVs dated December 19, 2013
  • China: DF-41 ICBM with Range of 14,000 km, Able to Break Through US Anti-missile Network dated October 8, 2013
  • SCMP: China’s Nuclear Arsenal Is Fully Mobile dated August 28, 2012

China’s DF-41 ICBM with 12 Warheads and Range to Cover Entire USA


Verification of China’s major lethal weapon: ICBM with 12 warheads difficult for the US to deal with

Verification of China’s major lethal weapon: ICBM with 12 warheads difficult for the US to deal with

China’s DF-31 began to be commissioned 16 years ago. It is China’s first solid-fuel ICBM with a range exceeding 8,000 km that can barely reach the US. However, an improved version DF-31A appeared later with multiple warheads and a range of 12,000 km able to reach the US. Western media believe that China now has DF-41 with a range of 15,000 km to cover entire USA.

DF-31 weighs 46 metric tons and is 20 meters long and 2.25 meters in diameter. It is now deployed on vehicles and stationed in China’s 5,000 km long tunnels as China’s second-strike nuclear force.

No details of DF-41 have ever been published but there has been intelligence that it is similar to Russian SS-25 and US Minuteman ICBM. It is very likely to be road-mobile and solid fueled and use MIRV and decoy technology. It is expected to carry 1,000 kg load with 3 to 6 warheads. There has been verified information on China’s test flight of a new ICBM from Xinjiang to mid Pacific with a range of 15,000 km on July 15, 2003.

The missile travels at high supersonic speed and did an move of curved change in orbit high above the Pacific Ocean. According to US military’s speculation, DF-41 was more advanced than Russia’s most advanced SS-25 ICBM by 5 years. The missile successfully hit the target with an error of only 50 meters. There is further speculation based on the above information that DF-41 ICBM uses three-stage solid-fuel rocket engine and can carry a load of 1,000 kg including 10 to 12 independently targetable warheads.

However all the above information about DF-41 is foreign media’s speculation as no information has been given by Chinese military as usually China does not officially make public its newest technology.

Source: qianzhan.com “Verification of China’s major lethal weapon: ICBM with 12 warheads difficult for the US to deal with” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chines)

Related posts:

  • China Conducts Second Flight Test of New DF-41 ICBM with 10 MIRVs dated December 19, 2013
  • China: DF-41 ICBM with Range of 14,000 km, Able to Break Through US Anti-missile Network dated October 8, 2013
  • Bare the Mystery of China’s ICBMs and DF11, DF15, DF15B Missiles dated March 16, 2013
  • First Revealing Photo of Simulated Test of China’s Anti-Carrier Missile dated January 24, 2013
  • SCMP: China’s Nuclear Arsenal Is Fully Mobile dated August 28, 2012

China Test Launches in a Row of New ICBM and SLBM within 10 Days


Submarine launch of JL-2 SLBM

Submarine launch of JL-2 SLBM

According to some Western military blogs and commentators, on December 22, China tested the launch of a JL-2 SLBM from a Type 094 nuclear submarine in a designated banned area in Bohai Sea toward a certain comprehensive missile target range in Xinjiang, China.

This was a new move soon after its test launch of its new Type DF-41 ICBM on December 13.

Foreign media commentators and military fans believe that those were China’s strategic shows of muscles of great significance as JL-2 second-generation SLBM and DF-41 third-generation ICBM will be China’s core force of nuclear deterrence in the coming two decades.

Source: huanqiu.com “China conducts test launches of 2 new types of ICBM within 10 days” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)

The report contains 26 photos, but only one of them on the test of JL-2 is posted here. All the 26 photos can be viewed at http://mil.huanqiu.com/mlitaryvision/2013-12/2721810.html

Taking into account of Chinese major official media’s high-profile disclosure of China’s strategic and attack nuclear submarines on October 28 and China’s provision of nuclear umbrella to Ukraine on December 5, the tests obviously aim at further display of China’s confidence in having adequate nuclear deterrence.

In particular, the disclosure and tests shortly before and after the intensification of tension due to China’s establishment of East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone clearly indicate that China is prepared to fight a war for the disputed islands in East China Sea if Japan is unable to tolerate China’s provocation and fires the first shot.

Related posts:

  • China Conducts Second Flight Test of New DF-41 ICBM with 10 MIRVs dated December 19, 2013
  • War of Words over ADIZ Goes on and May Lead to Hot War Despite Biden Visit dated December 6, 2013
  • China Does Not Budge in its Brink of War Policy on Air Defense Identification Zone dated December 5, 2013
  • China advises nationals living in Japan to register with embassy in Tokyo dated November 26, 2013
  • Sino-Japanese Air Confrontation, Repetition of Hainan Collision between Chinese and US aircrafts? dated November 26, 2013
  • Signals of Beijing’s Determination to Fight for Diaoyu Islands dated November 26, 2013
  • China: DF-41 ICBM with Range of 14,000 km, Able to Break Through US Anti-missile Network dated October 8, 2013
  • SCMP: China’s Nuclear Arsenal Is Fully Mobile dated August 28, 2012