China claims developing new missile by 2015

Last Updated: Friday, February 18, 2011 - 16:15

Beijing: China is developing a new type of conventional missile with a range of 4,000 km which could engage targets in land, sea, air, space and tackle cybernetic attacks "greatly enhancing" the capability of the Chinese military, official media here reported on Friday.

China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), the nation`s largest missile weaponry manufacturer, is set "to complete research, production and delivery of this new generation of missile by 2015," state run `Global Times` said.

The new missile would be part of a network forming a solid defence system which can be used for attack as well as defence and capable of dealing with various threats from land, sea, air, space as well as cybernetic attacks, the report said.

"The subject under development is a medium-and long-range conventional missile with a travelling distance of as far as 4,000 km", it quoted an unnamed military official involved in the development of the missile as saying.

"The research is going smoothly, and the missile will be produced and ready for service in five years," he said, adding that the project would also entail a three-year evaluation period.

"It extends the range of China`s missiles and will therefore greatly enhance the national defence capabilities," the source said.

The official also confirmed last year`s US military intelligence reports that said Chinese military has developed and deployed a "game changing" carrier killer missile that could hit an aircraft carrier from hundreds of km away.

"The Chinese-made Dong Feng 21D missile, with firing range between 1800 and 2800 km is already deployed in the Army," he said.

US media reports termed the Dong Feng 21D would prove to be a game-changer in the Asian security environment, where US Navy aircraft carrier battle groups have ruled the waves since the end of World War II.

The US at present has three aircraft carriers in the region. China has also demonstrated its space weapon capability in 2007 by destroying its own orbiting satellite.

The disclosures about the new missile came ahead of next month`s annual Parliament session of the National Peoples Congress during which China would unveil its defence budget.

Last year, China said it allocated USD 77 billion for its budget to modernise the 2.3 million strong Peoples Liberation Army, (PLA), described as the largest standing Army of the world.

The daily described the claims by the Chinese military about development of new missile as part of China’s "military transparency" about its arsenal of weapons.

But defence analysts see it as a muscle flexing exercise by China in the light of US reactivating its presence in Asia building close ties with India, Japan, South Korea and several South East Asian countries who have disputes with China over a number of islands in South China Sea.

The revelations of the new missile followed recent disclosures by China that it had developed a stealth fighter jet, the J-20 in January, in a test flight that coincided with a visit to Beijing by US Defence Secretary Robert Gates.

This was followed footage aired by the official media providing glimpses of the country’s first aircraft carrier, which was an upgraded version of the partially built ship purchased from Ukraine in 1998.

Also Chinese military has "amended" rules for its armed forces to increase their capability to win "local wars" and to enhance ability to conduct military operations in non-battle conditions.

Commenting on the new missile, Li Daguang, a military expert at the People`s Liberation Army National Defence University, told the daily that the revelation speaks volumes about the significant progress China had made in the field of missile technology as well as proving the country`s commitments to transparency in military affairs.

PTI



First Published: Friday, February 18, 2011 - 16:15

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