China tests intercontinental missile with 10 nuclear warheads

China has reportedly tested a new version of a missile that can carry up to 10 nuclear warheads, signalling a major shift in its nuclear capability.

China tests intercontinental missile with 10 nuclear warheads

China has reportedly tested a new version of a missile that can carry up to 10 nuclear warheads, signalling a major shift in its nuclear capability.

The test might be an attempt to put pressure on the Trump administration, experts say. The flight test of the DF-5C missile was carried out last month using 10 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs, the Washington Free Beacon reported.


The missile was carrying a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) bus containing ten inert warheads. Earlier versions of the DF-5 have either a single warhead or from six to eight MIRVs, according to estimates.

The test of the inert warheads was monitored closely by US intelligence agencies, said two officials familiar with reports of the missile test.

The Dongfeng-5C missile, carrying 10 dummy warheads, was launched from the Taiyuan Space Launch Centre in Shanxi province, and flew to a desert in western China, the report said.

China is estimated to have about 20 DF-5 missiles, which have two stages and range of over 12,000 kilometres. The drawback of its liquid-propellant design is that it takes up to two hours to fuel and prepare for launch.

The test comes amid a period of heightened tensions between China and the US in the wake of the election of Donald Trump as America’s 45th president. Trump has threatened to oppose China on a number of fronts, from its military build-up in the South China Sea to its monetary policy.


He has even cast doubt on Washington’s long-standing commitment to the “one China policy,” which regards Taiwan as one with mainland China governed by Beijing.