China adds warheads to older DF-5s
By Bill Gertz - The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 10, 2016
China's military has begun retrofitting single-warhead DF-5 intercontinental ballistic missiles with multiple, independently targetable re-entry vehicles, according to U.S. defense officials. The upgrading of the DF-5 missiles with multiple warheads, known as MIRVs, was detected by U.S. intelligence agencies within the past several months.
The addition of three warheads on the long-range missiles marks a significant shift for China's nuclear arsenal that is increasing in both warheads and missile systems under a major buildup.
Strategic Command spokesman Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell declined to comment on the impact of the MIRVed Chinese missiles.
Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of the Strategic Command, confirmed last month that China is making “significant investments” to both nuclear and conventional forces, including the addition of MIRVed missiles.
“China is re-engineering its long-range ballistic missiles to carry multiple nuclear warheads,” Adm. Haney said Jan. 22 in a speech.China upgrading older DF-5A ICBMs with multiple warheads
Richard D Fisher Jr, Washington, DC - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
11 February 2016
China's People Liberation Army (PLA) Rocket Force is upgrading its older liquid-fuelled, silo-based Dong Feng-5A (DF-5A, or CSS-4 Mod 2) intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to carry multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRV), according to US government sources.
While not mentioning this missile, on 9 February in his annual 'World Wide Threat Assessment' for the US Senate Armed Services Committee, Director of National Intelligence James R Clapper stated that China "continues to modernise its nuclear forces by adding more survivable road-mobile systems and enhancing its silo-based systems".
That China has been observed replacing the DF-5A's former single warhead with three warheads "within the past several months" was first reported by The Washington Times on 10 February.
The new MIRV-equipped warhead bus being retrofitted to the DF-5A is probably the same as that on the MIRV-equipped DF-5B first displayed in China's 3 September 2015 military parade. Both the DF-5B and the upgraded DF-5A probably also carry penetration aids such as decoys and chaff to counter ballistic missile defences.
In its 2003 China Military Report to the US Congress the Pentagon stated that "China is replacing CSS-4 Mod 1 ICBMs with longer-range CSS-4 Mod 2s. The replacement of all the approximately 20 CSS-4 Mod 1s reportedly will be completed by mid-decade."
The 2009 'Cruise and Ballistic Missile Threat' report of the US Air Force's National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) stated that the PLA's CSS-4 Mod 2 inventory was "about 20".