(FT) A weapon so secret China would not reveal it for years will make its first public appearance in a military parade on Thursday, Chinese defence experts say.
The Dongfeng (East wind) 21D, the so-called “carrier killer” missile that threatens to reshape the balance of power in the western Pacific, is set to wheel through the centre of Beijing along with 12,000 troops and 500 tanks and other vehicles as China marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war.
The missile has been the subject of much speculation after a stray mention last week in a Communist party newspaper ignited excitement among China defence-watchers.
China’s defence ministry has been notably silent on the missile, other than to confirm in 2011 that it was in development. Western defence experts estimate it has a range of 900km-1,500km and that it may be able to travel at up to 10 times the speed of sound — faster than anything that could intercept it.
Like an intercontinental ballistic missile, the DF-21D goes into orbit, but after re-entering the atmosphere it is capable of manoeuvring onto a target, making it theoretically capable of landing a large warhead on or near a moving ship. China can also make roughly 1,200 of them for the price of a single aircraft carrier, meaning they could easily overwhelm defensive counter-measures.
Some analysts say such missiles threaten to consign aircraft carriers — which form the basis of current US naval strategy — to the dustbin, just as aircraft carriers themselves did to battleships with Japan’s 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.China-set-to-parade-its-...hrough-Beijing-FT