Tuesday, March 6, 2012

DF-41 Back From The Dead?

    China Defense Blog posted this photo showing an unidentified Chinese missile being carried on a WS-9000 commercial truck chassis. Defense Tech suggested that this might be a DF-31, but he pointed out it is much to small to be a DF-31. However, there are couple of other possibilities, 1) It could be a DF-41, 2) It could be a DF-16, or 3) something new.
     Personally, my first thought is that this is a DF-41. The DF-41 program was started in 1986, and was supposedly canceled 2002. However, no one really knows what has happened to the program, and it is entirely possible that it is still going strong. Also, the DF-41 was reported to be silo-based and road mobile, which could make this a DF-41. 
      As to the possibility that this might be a DF-16, this is probably the most debatable as no one actually knows anything about the DF-16 is, if it is in the first place road mobile, and the dimensions. All that is known about the DF-16 is that is an IRBM with a range of 4,000km, and that it is in development. As to the possibility that this is an entirely new missile, it is either an ICBM or an IRBM, obviously road mobile, has length of at least 20m, besides that there is not much else one can tell from this photo.
      It will be interesting to see over the spring and summer to find out whether or not this is a DF-16, -41, or an entirely new system.

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