China has successfully tested a new version of a DF-5C missile that can carry up to 10 nuclear warheads in January 2017.
The flight test of the missile was carried using 10 multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles, (MIRVs), from the Taiyuan Space Launch Centre in Shanxi province and to an impact range in the western Taklamakan desert.
- The Dongfeng 5 (DF-5) is a three stage Chinese intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). It has a length of 32.6 m and a diameter of 3.35 m. It weighs in at 183,000 kilograms.
- It has an estimated range of 12,000 to 15,000 kilometers. It is primarily designed for nuclear weapons delivery.
- The DF-5’s first flight was conduected in 1971 and was in operational service 10 years later. This missile’s development is considered as response to development of US’s ballistic missile defence system.
This development indicates shift in China’s nuclear deterrence policy to modify older its arsenal of rockets with new MIRV busses. It means that China intends to increase the number of nuclear warheads it possesses. It is currently estimated to have about 250.