China is supposedly building more than 100 new silos for ICBMs in a desert near the northwestern city of Yumen, according to a US group of independent experts, pick up The Washington Post.
The satellite images, obtained by researchers at the James Martin Center for Non-proliferation Studies, in Monterrey, California, show the works being carried out at dozens of sites on a grid that covers hundreds of square kilometers in the Gansu province. The 119 nearly identical construction sites have characteristics similar to those of the existing launch facilities for the Chinese arsenal of ballistic missiles with nuclear warhead, the specialists detailed.
China is building more than 100 new silos for ICBMs in what could signal a major expansion of Beijing’s nuclear capabilities https://t.co/5Xrs7awMDs
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 30, 2021
Each site is located about three kilometers from its neighbors, and many of them are covered by a large dome-shaped roof, following a practice observed at known missile silos construction sites in other parts of the country. In places where the dome is not in place, construction crews can be seen digging a characteristic circular pit in the ground. Meanwhile, another work seems to be a partially constructed control centerthe researchers explained.
Jeffrey Lewis, director of the institution’s East Asia Non-Proliferation Program, noted that the sites are likely intended for DF-41 ICBMs, which can carry multiple warheads and hit targets at 15,000 kilometers, potentially putting the continental United States within reach. Major excavation work at the sites began earlier this year, although preparations were likely to have been underway for months, he added.
“If you add the silos being built elsewhere in China to the count, the total comes to about 145 silos under construction,” Lewis said. “We believe that China is expanding its nuclear forces in part to maintain a deterrent that can survive a first US strike in sufficient numbers to defeat US missile defenses, “he added.
The discovery follows recent warnings from Pentagon officials about rapid advances in the Asian giant’s nuclear capability.
Admiral Charles Richard, who commands the nuclear forces of the North American country, declared last April that a “impressive expansion“in China, which included a growing arsenal of ICBMs and new mobile missile launchers that can be easily concealed from satellites. In addition, he added that the Chinese Navy has added new nuclear-weapon-capable submarines to its growing fleet. .
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