CONTENT PREVIEW
CBRN Assessment

DF-31AG ICBM can carry multiple warheads, claims China’s state media

08 August 2017
While images first appeared on Chinese webpages in 2013, China identified its DF-31AG ICBM in late July and featured 16 in its 30 July military parade marking the 90th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army. Source: CCTV

Key Points

  • Chinese media have suggested that China's DF-31AG ICBM could be armed with MIRV warheads
  • The DF-31AG uses a 16-wheel road-capable TEL, widening its deployment options and thus increasing its survivability

While official Chinese sources have said almost nothing about the capabilities of the recently identified DF-31AG intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Chinese state media have in recent days offered indications that it might be armed with multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) warheads.

An aft image of the DF-31AG ICBM shows the use of a prominent pad at the base of the cold-launch missile tube, also used by the new DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile. (Via Meyet.com)An aft image of the DF-31AG ICBM shows the use of a prominent pad at the base of the cold-launch missile tube, also used by the new DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile. (Via Meyet.com)

Although images of this missile first appeared on Chinese webpages in mid-2013, it was not until its mid-July appearance in model form at a new exhibit at Beijing’s Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution that a new variant of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) DF-31A was identified as the ‘DF-31AG’.

Then, on 30 July, 16 DF-31AGs appeared in a major military parade marking the 90th Anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Its appearance in such a parade would indicate that the DF-31AG has entered service with the PLA Rocket Forces.

Previously this ICBM was identified as the ‘DF-31B’ by US government sources in a 2 October 2015 article in the Washington Free Beacon , which also reported that the DF-31B had been tested on 25 September 2015.

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