|Place of origin||China|
|Used by||People's Liberation Army Rocket Force|
|Manufacturer||China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT)|
|Weight||~80,000 kilograms (180,000 lb)|
|Length||~21 metres (69 ft)|
|Diameter||~2.25 m (7 ft 5 in)|
|Warhead||Thermonuclear weapon, 10-12 MIRVs (single 1 Megaton or MIRV with selectable 20, 90, 150 kiloton)|
|Engine||Three-stage Solid-fuel rocket|
|~14,000–15,000 kilometres (8,700–9,300 mi)|
|Speed||Mach 25 (30,626 km/h; 19,030 mph; 8.5073 km/s)|
|Inertial, likely with stellar updates and BeiDou|
|Silo, road-mobile Transporter erector launcher|
It has an operational range between 12,000 km to 15,000 km. This would make the DF-41 the world's longest range missile, surpassing the range of the US LGM-30 Minuteman which has a reported range of 13,000 km. It is believed to have a top speed of Mach 25, and to be capable of MIRV delivery (up to 10). The development of the MIRV technology is reported to be in response to the deployment of the United States national missile defense system which degrades China's nuclear deterrence capability. The project started in 1986, and may now be coupled with the JL-2 program.
Richard Fisher, an expert on Asia-Pacific military affairs, says that a typical Second Artillery Corps unit has 6-12 missile launchers and may have an additional 6-12 "reload missiles", i.e. missiles to be launched after the first missile with which the launcher is equipped are launched, indicating 12-24 DF-41 missiles per one unit and giving a single SAC unit the capability to target the contiguous United States with 120-240 nuclear warheads.
Air Power Australia reported that the DF-41 was cancelled pre-2000, with the technology developed transferred to the DF-31A. It was incorrectly anticipated that the DF-41 would be delivered to the Second Artillery around the year 2010. Some military experts had expected that it could be unveiled at the 2009 National Parade. However, rehearsals of the military parade did not feature this missile.
American conservative website The Washington Free Beacon reported that the DF-41 had its first flight test on July 24, 2012. The U.S. Department of Defense made no reference to this claimed test in its 2013 report to Congress, but the Free Beacon reported in 2014 that U.S. officials had said by then that the DF-41 was test launched twice since 2012.
The U.S. Department of Defense in its 2013 report to Congress on China's military developments made no explicit mention of the DF-41, but did state that "China may also be developing a new road-mobile ICBM, possibly capable of carrying a multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV)", which may refer to the DF-41. Later in 2013 the Washington Free Beacon reported that the second launch test took place on December 13, 2013 from the Wuzhai missile launch center in Shanxi province to an impact range in western China, according to officials familiar with details of the tests.
In August 2014, China Shaanxi Provincial Environmental Monitoring Center website accidentally made a news report about events of setting environmental monitoring site for DF-41 ICBM. This is the first official proof available in public and it also proves the developments of DF-41 is nearing the end. This news report (and the whole website) was taken down shortly after getting public attention.
The Washington Free Beacon claimed that China had test-launched a DF-41 using multiple reentry vehicles for the first time on 13 December 2014. China soon confirmed that the launch occurred, saying it has a legitimate right to conduct scientific tests within its border, and that they are not targeting any country and does not affect their policy of not using nuclear weapons first in a conflict. The launch took place at the Wuzhai Missile and Space Test Center in central China and impacted in the west of the country.
In August 2015, the missile was flight-tested for the fourth time.
In December 2015, the missile was flight-tested for the fifth time. The latest flight test demonstrated the use of two multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles. The missile launch and dummy warheads were tracked by satellites to an impact range in western China.
In April 2016 China successfully conducted 7th test of DF-41 with two dummy warheads near the South China Sea amid growing tensions between Washington and Beijing about the area.
On January 23, 2017, China was reported to have deployed a strategic ballistic missile brigade to Heilongjiang province, bordering Russia, along with another strategic ballistic missile brigade deploying to Xinjiang.
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- China Confirms Multiple-Warhead Missile Test in South China Sea
- Say Hello to China's ICBMs, SpaceDaily.com, 2017-01-30