- BEIJING (Agence France Presse)
- China will imminently test the Julang 2, an intercontinental sea-to-surface
ballistic missile with an estimated range at least 9,000 kilometres (5580
miles) that will boost its nuclear deterent capability, foreign military
experts in Beijing said Tuesday.
- "The test is imminent," said an expert who
asked to not be named, but added the missile, capable of hitting any city
in the United States and Europe, could be equipped with a small nuclear
- According to Monday's Washington Times newspaper, the
transit of Chinese Golf class submarines from southern areas to the north
of the country, carried out last month, signals the approach of the JL-2
- The newspaper also put the range of the Jl-2 at nearly
- The second generation Julang, which translates as "great
wave," is the successor to the Julang-1, which was tested successfully
in the 1980s from Golf submarines, which are powered by Soviet-made engines,
and from the Xia, believed to be the Chinese navy's only nuclear-powered
- The Xia's first successful missile launch of the JL-1
took place in September 1988, according to defense specialists Jane's Information
- "It was generaly held that (a JL-2 launch) would
be from the Golf, but it could also be from a submarine platform or an
upgrade of the Xia," Robert Karniol, Jane's Asian correspondent based
in Bangkok, told AFP.
- China hopes to place the JL-2, also known as the CSS-N-4X,
aboard a new generation of type 094 nuclear submarines, whose construction
will begin during the next few weeks, said the Washington Times, citing
- The newspaper said the submarine would carry a smaller
underwater variant of the Julang-2 and could be operational by 2005-2006.
- No confirmation of the new submarine could be obtained
from foreign military experts in Beijing, though they said China has two
nuclear submarine programs, one for attack submarines, the other for missile-launching
- Some experts believe the JL-2 will be equipped with a
2.5 megaton warhead, however others believe it will be 10 times less powerful.
- A megaton is a unit of explosive power equal to a million
tonnes of TNT.
- According to American experts, the JL-2, like China's
intercontinental surface-to-surface Dongfeng-31 (DF-31), tested successfully
this summer, is equipped with technology adapted from the Trident D-5.
- The Triden D-5 is America's most modern missile and is
equipped with W-88 miniature nuclear warheads.
- Only China, Russia and the United States stock a full
range of nuclear weapons, comprising surface, air and sea missiles.
- If the JL-2 test is successful, Karniol said, "China
will have made a significant step in the modernization process of its nuclear
force, it will give her a second strike capability if a nuclear war starts."
((c) 1999 Agence France Presse)