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9/3/2009 - 5 types of missiles to debut on National Day

5 types of missiles to debut on National Day 2009-09-02 09:33:25 Print

BEIJING, Sept. 2 -- China will showcase five new types of domestically designed missiles at the Oct. 1 National Day parade, a leading missile expert from the Second Artillery Force, revealed Tuesday.

A number of advanced weapons of air and sea forces will also be on display, other sources said.

Five types of missiles, including nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles, conventional cruise missiles and medium-range and short-range conventional missiles, will be displayed for the first time at the highly anticipated military parade, said the expert, who asked to remain anonymous and has been closely following the preparations of the strategic force of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

"These missiles are domestically designed and manufactured and have never been officially reported before," he said, adding that they belong to a second generation of missiles that have already been distributed to the military and are ready for operation.

He declined to disclose the model numbers of the missiles, citing state-secrecy reasons.

"The third generation is still under development and is unlikely to be displayed this time," he said.

Military aficionados have been expecting to see the Dongfeng 41, known as the DF-41, and the CSS-X-10, which is said to be a third-generation, solid-fuel, intercontinental ballistic missile.

While China is a late starter in the milssile development, compared with the US and Russia – countries equipped with fifth-generation missiles and in the process of developing sixth-generation missiles – it has made rapid progress, the expert said.

"Our second generation can match their third and fourth generations, and the third generation under development is comparable to their fifth and sixth generations," he said.

Progress made by the Second Artillery Force in the decade since the last military parade in 1999 will be highlighted at the Oct. 1 event, with marching soldiers and vehicles carrying missiles, three for every type.

"The force has created weaponry and equipment with nuclear and conventional missiles, both solid-fuel and liquid-fuel missiles, with different launching ranges, quick emergency response and precision strikes," he said.

The Second Artillery Force is a strategic unit under the direct command and control of the Central Military Commission, and the core force of China for strategic deterrence, according to a white paper entitled "China's National Defense in 2008," issued earlier this year by the Information Office of the State Council.

One of the force's responsibilities is "conducting nuclear counterattacks," the paper said.

"The statement indicates that the force can survive a nuclear attack before carrying out a counterattack. Any country that attempts to attack China with nuclear weapons must get ready for revenge, even if it has an anti-missile system," the expert said, adding that China's nuclear missiles, though few in number, have a high strike accuracy and formidable power.

A new submarine-launched ballistic missile, Julang 2, also known as JL-2 and CSS-NX-4, is also highly anticipated by fans of military hardware to make an appearance at the parade. It is said to have a maximum range of 8,000 kilometers and be designed to be installed onboard current and next-generation Chinese nuclear-powered submarines.

Li Jie, a naval expert, didn't exclude the possibility of Julang-2's appearance on Oct. 1. Li told the Global Times that the navy would showcase some types of ship-to-ship missile, ship-to-air missile and multiple rocket launchers at the parade.

"Maybe two to three of them will be unveiled for the first time," Li said. "The new weapons will help enhance the navy's combat capability in any future sea war."

Dai Xu, an air force colonel and military strategist, told the Global Times that a large part of the weaponry and equipment of the air force would be showcased at the parade, including third-generation warplanes, land-to-air missiles and sophisticated radar equipment.

"The backbone warplanes of the major military powers in the world are third generation. The qualities of some of our warplanes are at a level that is advanced in terms of the rest of the world," Dai said.

Li Daguang, a senior military expert at the PLA University of National Defense, emphasized that the military parade is not for saber rattling but aims to promote national pride, confidence and awareness of national defense.

"Some countries, observing China's parade with colored glasses, show off their weapons around the world on the battlefield instead," Li said.

Li Jie argued that the parade can reflect the current situation and tendency of China's military weaponry, as well as a way of showing China's military openness and transparency, and how it is aligned with international military standards.

According to the arrangement, President Hu Jintao will offer a keynote address at the huge celebration at Tian'anmen Square on Oct. 1, followed by the military parade and a mass pageant involving 200,000 people, 60 floats and a fireworks display.


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