BEIJING – On October 1, in Beijing, there was a large military parade dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the creation of the People’s Republic of China. The parade in Tiananmen Square was attended by 15,000 military personnel, 580 pieces of equipment and 160 aircraft and helicopters.
However, the real sensation was the demonstration of several brand new missile systems.
Expert attention was drawn to the WZ-8 supersonic recognition drone, DF-17 hypersonic warhead missile systems, DF-100 supersonic cruise missile and DF-41 intercontinental missile. None of these systems had been previously displayed. Dmitry Kornev, Sputnik’s military expert, analyzed the military material exhibited by China.
About the brand new WZ-8 recognition drone, first introduced to the public, there is virtually no credible information. One can only draw some conclusions about its capabilities based on its exterior appearance, dimensions and the limited data on the Internet. The aircraft has been designed with the tailless aircraft aerodynamic scheme. A rather unusual aspect is that it looks like, like Soviet cruise missiles from the 1960s to 1970s, it is equipped with a liquid-fueled two-chamber rocket engine.
It should also be noted that this device is not launched from a ground device but from an air carrier – this is indicated by the suspension elements at the top of the drone fuselage. We can assume that the device has a high supersonic speed, probably Mach 2 or 3. The probable flight altitude of the WZ-8 can be 20,000 m or higher, while its range, considering the dimensions and possible fuel reserve, can be up to 800 km.
It is quite possible that the aircraft will operate in two regimes: it will fly at low economic speed outside enemy territory and a high speed flight during reconnaissance of objectives within the range of enemy air defense. This way, thanks to the high aerodynamic quality of the device an even greater range can be obtained. In addition, the range of the carrier must also be considered.
We must note that the modern armed forces of the world’s largest military powers do not have such devices in their armaments. Destroying such a device by today’s air defense systems will be a difficult but possible task. If the defensive side does not have a modern air defense, then the flights of these reconnaissance drones are very likely to go unpunished.
Neither the press nor any other open source has published information regarding the capabilities of these missiles or their appearance, but it is probably a weapon system that is at least already undergoing combat testing, as it was already presented at the parade in appreciable amount – viewers saw 16 launchers.
Considering the launchers’ green camouflage paint, they belong to the Ground Forces or strategic grounding forces of the People’s Liberation Army of China. The dimensions of the containers suggest that the range of these missiles may be 500 km or more.
Modern supersonic cruise missiles are extremely difficult targets for any modern air defense system because they can travel at very high speeds at low altitude, so they are difficult to detect by radar and anti-aircraft systems are left with very little time to fly. destroy them. In addition, such a missile can maneuver, avoiding anti-aircraft missiles and disrupting its aim.
Supposedly, by its qualities the new Chinese missile system is similar to the Russian Bastion system with Oniks supersonic missiles, and probably, like the Russian system, could hit both ground and surface surface radio wave reflective targets.
The emergence of such a weapon system indicates significant successes of Chinese science and technology in the development of supersonic flying devices.
It seems that this was the biggest sensation of the parade. For the first time, a brand-new Chinese medium-range missile system with a hypersonic warhead glider on mobile launchers was shown, as well as 16 units. This suggests, to say the least, that China has already moved from experimental work in the area of designing hypersonic missile systems to adoption by military units. However, in this case a medium range system (the range of the system is estimated to be 1,800 to 2,500 km) has been demonstrated and its creation was banned until recently for both Russia and the USA. It seems that China has considerably surpassed its two strategic partners.
The capabilities of such a modern missile system are not yet fully clear, but we can safely say that such a warhead in the final stages of flight will be an extremely difficult target for any current missile system. For its strong sides will be its high hypersonic flight speed (greater than Mach 5) and the relatively low height of the aerobalistic trajectory, ie late detection and minimal reaction time of the defense systems.
Such a warhead could probably perform maneuvers to evade missiles, which would make the operation of the missile defense even more difficult. Given the great accuracy of modern missile systems, such a system would be used against targets especially important for the success of military operation: against radar and anti-aircraft systems, headquarters and large ships (including aircraft carriers, of course).
It has been known for several years that a large new mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) has been in China. From time to time Chinese military blogs published sporadic photographs of the missile launcher and some data on the features of the new ICBM. But behold, finally, the DF-41 was shown during the parade, and I think in the coming days more accurate data on its capabilities will be released.
Expert analysis notes that the DF-41 is a modern solid fuel mobile ICBM with dimensions close to those of the Russian Yars system. I think that given the later start of the Chinese missile creation work and China’s greater ability to absorb all the technological advances of the world’s major powers, the DF-41 could indeed be one of the most developed ICBM in the world.
This ICBM is believed to carry between 6 and 10 individually oriented warheads with a range of 12 to 15,000 kilometers and can respectively reach targets both throughout Eurasia and across the ocean.
We can also refer to the obvious successes of Chinese missile builders in building top-level missile systems: everything that we once saw only in Russian ICBM mobile systems has now been integrated into the Chinese DF-41 system. No wonder such a missile system is already part of the People’s Liberation Army arsenal and is likely to later become the main intercontinental missile system of China’s strategic forces.