The DF-21D–now 30% more powerful
Media reports suggest that a new variant of China’s mighty DF-21D missile has just gone through pre-deployment tests by a specialist brigade of the People’s Liberation Army’s Rocket Force, and that it has ramped-up assault capabilities that could put an aircraft-carrier strike group out of action.
State broadcaster China Central Television and Sina Military reported that the new missile was “30%” more powerful than the previous-generation DF-21D, but no details of its specifications or the parameters of the tests were provided.
It is believed that the series’ launch vehicle has received a big boost to its ability to travel off-road, as compared with the previous model that required support vehicles and would need to park on a huge solid-surface area prior to a launch.
It is not clear if the missile itself has been improved in terms of range or speed.
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When the missile family first entered service, it was said to be the world’s first hypersonic, satellite-guided anti-ship ballistic missile capable of targeting a moving aircraft carrier, with a maximum range exceeding 1,450 kilometers on the strength of its maneuverable re-entry vehicles, a terminal guidance system and over-the-horizon radar.
It is thought to be able to carry high-explosive and submunition warheads, as well as a nuclear warhead of 300 kilotons.