The American website Washington Free Beacon published an article on June 5 saying that China recently completed the 10th flying test of the DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), marking a substantial step forward for the actual deployment of China's latest and most powerful strategic weapon.
An official from the U.S. Department of Defense said that the DF-41 missile was launched from Taiyuan City of northern China's Shanxi Province on May 27, 2018, and travelled thousands of miles before it hit a simulated target in western China's Gobi desert.
The article said that China issued a flight notice that day that designated a no-fly zone in the northwest airspace, same as when it test-flew the DF-41 last year.
"We noticed the latest flying test and will continue to pay attention to China's weapon development, but we won't disclose any specific information about this test," said Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Logan, spokesperson of the Pentagon.
American media reported that the last test shooting of the DF-41 missile happened on November 6 last year and this was the 10th test flight, and it is expected to be commissioned in 2018.
As one of China's most powerful strategic weapons, the DF-41 missile system has a shooting range of more than 7,500 miles and is able to carry more than ten Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRV), American media reported.
According to a senior researcher at the U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the test flight of DF-41 was an important milestone that marked a substantial step forward toward the actual deployment of this solid fuel ICBM both on the railway and on the road.
The researcher added that the next DF-41 may be prioritized as the carrier for China to test hypersonic gliding warhead, which, as it will be deployed in the next few years, will give China a similar capability to America's "prompt global strike". DF-41 will also speed up China's development of the new "JL-3" submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
Chinese military expert Song Zhongping said in an interview on June 6 that if the news from American media that DF-41 has been tested ten times was true, it must be close to commissioning.
Song added that the commissioning of ballistic missile, especially ICBM, includes trial commissioning and formal commissioning to the troops. The DF-41 must be in the later stage of trial commissioning and relevant departments will make an overall evaluation of this test, after which the missile will be finalized and mass-produced. Then, it will be commissioned to the troops on a large scale, he said.