Cold War II is heating up as Communist China radically increases its nuclear first-strike capability, new satellite images reveal.
The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) revealed earlier this week new satellite imagery showing a massive new silo field that could soon be home to as many as 110 nuclear missiles.
This new discovery comes close on the heels of news from June of construction of the first huge silo field in Gansu province.
Combined, China could in short order field an additional 230 nuclear-tipped missiles. While the Communist government is tight-lipped about its nuclear weapons program, FAS estimates that China had 260 total warheads as of 2015.
FAS also says that the “silo construction at Yumen and Hami constitutes the most significant expansion of the Chinese nuclear arsenal ever,” and if anything, that’s actually understating the threat.
The Print yesterday concluded that the huge expansion “indicates a shift in China’s nuclear policy.” China had previously maintained “a minimum deterrent” as part of its no-first-use policy.
The addition of 230 nuclear use-them-or-lose-them ground-based missiles will fundamentally alter the nuclear calculus between the U.S. and China/Russia.
Assuming Beijing stuffs those new silos with their latest DF-41 ICBM, the country would easily double its current count of nuclear warheads — and radically increase its ability to hit targets across the entire continental United States.
That’s just if China sticks a measly single warhead in each DF-41. However, the missile is believed to be able to deliver between three and 10 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles — AKA, nuclear warheads.
The United States Air Force has an active duty roster of 450 Minuteman III (LGM-30G) missiles that first entered service in 1970, the year after the Apollo 11 moon landing.
While the Minuteman III was designed to carry multiple warheads, they’re limited by the US-Russia New START agreement to a single warhead each.
Communist China is not an adherent to any nuclear weapons limitation treaties such as New START. And they will soon have an all-new ground-based missile force (in addition to their current forces) able to deliver, at the low end, around 875 warheads — nearly double our capability.
The Air Force is currently working with Northrop-Grumman to develop a new “Ground Based Strategic Deterrent” missile (GBSD) to replace the aging Minuteman ICBMs, but even if everything goes according to schedule, the first new missile won’t enter service until 2029.
GBSD won’t add anything to the size and reach of America’s ground-based nuclear deterrent, since it is merely a replacement program for missiles that are almost as old as I am.
Even so, Kris Osborn reported for The National Interest in June that “some have called for the elimination of the GBSD, calling for yet further upgrades to the Minuteman III, and some have even argued in favor of eliminating the ground-based portion of the triad.”
Meanwhile, China is also engaged in the largest naval expansion in peacetime history and is rapidly fielding fifth-generation stealth aircraft.
In the air, on the sea, and now in nukes, China is militarily challenging America like never before.