In the current international power-play the rules of war/threat of war have changed and the increased range of nuclear missiles is a statistical number, because a nuclear war by any recognizable world power is cost prohibitive, besides being mutually destructive.
The new rules have put economic war as the most common and strongest element of power play, besides strategic alliances/partnerships, cyber, space, and calibrated use of regional partners and non state actors. Such missiles are therefore developments to force potential adversaries to play strategic games as per new rules of strategic competition.
The technological war/competition is also a prominent facet of new dimension of strategic competition, and having more long range nuclear missile will get followed up by better missile defences by adversary, like there has always been a technological competition between more capable anti-tank missiles versus better protective Armour, triggering a never ending technological race, adding to arms dealers making money both ways. The news-item below needs to be read in that context.
China’s top new long-range missile ‘may be deployed this year’, putting US in striking distance
‘World’s longest-range missile’ could be in service in PLA’s Rocket Force in Henan in 2016, report says
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 March, 2016, 11:51pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 March, 2016, 11:51pm
China will put its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile into service as early as this year, according to a regional defence magazine.
The DF-41, which was described by Washington as the world’s longest-range missile, has entered its final test phase, according to Canada-based Kanwa Asian Defence.
With an operational range of up to 14,500km, the DF-41 would first be deployed to the advanced brigade of the People’s Liberation Army’s new Rocket Force based in Xinyang in Henan province, the report said.
From there, the missile would be able to strike the United States within half an hour by flying over the North Pole or slightly more than 30 minutes by crossing the Pacific, the report said.
But defence analysts said it was not clear if the DF-41 could break through the multilayered US missile defence system in the Asia-Pacific region.
“No one questions the longest range of the DF-41 is near 15,000km. But within just a few minutes of being launched, it might be blocked by the US’ defence system at its Guam naval base,” Professor He Qisong, a defence policy specialist at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, said.
The solid-fuel, road-mobile ICBM had been tested at the Wuzhai Missile and Space Test Centre – also known as the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre – in Shanxi province since last summer, the Kanwa report said.
The DF-41 has been tested at least five times since July, 2014, according to the US-based Washington Free Beacon.
Earlier reports from the website said US intelligence agencies had detected that the PLA’s missile force submitted a DF-41 missile to a “canister ejection test” from a railway-mounted mobile launcher on December 5.
The test was a milestone for Chinese strategic weapons developers and showed that Beijing was moving ahead with building and deploying the DF-41 on difficult-to-locate rail cars, in addition to previously known road-mobile launchers, the website said.
Kanwa chief editor Andrei Chang said the strike rate of the DF-41 would improve further after 2020 when China completed its home-grown BeiDou navigation satellites, helping to wean the PLA off its dependence on the US’ Global Positioning System.
But He said the US might develop technology to jam the BeiDou system’s signals.
“The US has spared no effort to upgrade its missile defence system year after year,” He said. “The missile systems – so far – are just a game of threats played among the great powers.”