Amid growing fears of North Korean nuclear missile threats, China recently showed off a new and more lethal long-range nuclear missile of its own.
The DF-31AG, a variant of the DF-31 road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), was unveiled July 30 during the annual military parade marking the founding of the People’s Liberation Army.
Chinese state-run television’s broadcast of the parade showed at least 16 of the new DF-31AGs during a parade in Zhurihe near a combat training base in northern China.
Few details were available on the new missile, shown mounted on an all-terrain mobile launcher. Chinese state media declared the missile carries multiple warheads and boasts a longer range than its earlier variants, the DF-31 and DF-31A. The all-terrain mobile launcher represents greater survivability of the missile system against preemptive airstrikes because the DF-31AG will be capable of hiding in mountainous areas.
China has been uploading its single-warhead missiles with multiple, independently targetable re-entry vehicles or MIRVs, for the past three years. The earlier DF-31 variants are equipped with a single warhead.
The disclosure of the DF-31AG was not a surprise. U.S. intelligence agencies have known of the development for the past several years.