China’s Mystery Missile Launcher

What are those mysterious Chinese mobile ballistic missile launchers that were spotted online last week? At first I thought they mght be carrying the DF-31/31A ICBMs to their launch sites that the Federation of American Scientists just discovered. But the trucks shown in these pictures don’t match older images of the DF-31 mobile launchers that appear to be much larger than the truck shown above.

(Click here to see just how massive the DF-31/31A mobile launchers are)

This comes just after China revealed that it will increase military spending by more than 11-percent this year, a slight decrease from last year’s 12-percent hike. Still might be misleading since many claim that China’s military spends twice as much as it publicly claims to.

So, anyone know what type of missile these trucks are carrying?  Sound off in the comments.

  • USSHelm

    Maybe a DF-41 on a new TEL?

  • pandaa

    Do people get thrown in jail for taking pictures like these in china?

    • Zeyn

      now taking a picture and sending it to DT would get you thrown in the chair.

    • crouchingtiger

      Not if they want us to see the pictures. Deception and disinformation, the whole art of war thing.

      • subescribetonone

        In that case I wonder if this is supposed intimidating or ridiculous.

  • FormerDirtDart


  • blight_

    For the TEL: Maybe this MAZ?

    Looks like a 12×12 or a 14×12, so it’s definitely bigger than some of the typical Soviet missiles. It might be in the Topol (not Topol-M) class?

    • jamFRIDGE

      So Russia is selling most of their Soviet-era toys to China? I know the carrier wasn’t Russia directly, but I’m sure they were involved.

      • blight_

        It’s not a big deal. The MAZ’s are used for more than ICBM transportation. It’s like their HEMTT with the smaller 8×8’s. A different MAZ vehicle forms the underpinnings of the Uragan and Smerchs…but it’s hard to imagine what other uses a 12×12 vehicle might have. Tank transporter?

  • drick

    Are you sure it’s not inflatable? ha

    • Korean War Vet

      DRICK: diversionary cardboard mock-ups, perhaps?

  • Ooh I Know

    CN-P.O.S. 4027?

  • Kski

    Just looking at the launcher classifies the weapon as a tactical or strategic missile, a ICBM would be bigger i think. In the end whatever that thing is it has to carry a wallop.

  • Bob

    What are the doors? It looks like the “missile” has door flaps that are opened all along the side of it. Are these NASCAR roof flaps? Is this even a missile or perhaps a pontoon bridge?

    • FormerDirtDart

      its a missile container/launch tube.

      • blight_

        Soviet TR-1 had an “environment canister” to protect the missile until it was fired. It also has the plus of concealing what the missile looks like, especially if the canister is just an ambiguous cylinder. The size of the cylinder gives you upper bounds on the size of the missile inside, but…

  • Hunter78

    Don’t kid yourselves. There’s almost no way China will not promote itself into a MAD relationship with US.

    • passingby

      You are right. I suspect China already has that capability vs the US. The problem is really whether it has enough war heads / delivery systems to take care of US allies such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Britain, etc. If you were the decision maker of Russia or China and a nuclear exchange is under way with the US, you’d want to eliminate ALL major US allies, especially Canada, Australia, Britain, France, and perhaps Germany. Russia has that capability for sure.

      South Korea and Japan can be nuked with short/medium range ballistic missiles or bombers. But ICBMs with multiple warheads should be used for far away targets, along with nuclear subs.

      This is a matter of national survival. Any major power would want to have the ability to wipe out all potential enemies in a nuclear war.

      • Nmate

        Even MIRV equipped ICBMs are a pretty poor weapon against SSBNs (unless of course, they’re in port). I remember reading one or two studies from the 1980s that laid out the problems of this and they were pretty detailed. In short, it could be workable against a county with a small sub force, like Great Britain or France, but not against a country with a a sizeable SSBN force like the United States or (then) USSR.

        • itfunk

          The Chinese are not dumb enough to thin you can win a nuclear war but are smart enough to know that the US will surrender after losing one large city.

          • blight_

            Bull. Americans don’t have the stomach for bleeding the army white for a poorly understood war that seems only to enrich certain parts of the population (or in the case of Somalia, dying for a failed UN mission, or in Libya/Iraq/Afghanistan dying for ungrateful corrupt governments), but most people will fight to the death when faced with annihilation, and nuclear weapons certainly qualify.

            If you drop nukes along the entire western seaboard, it will lead to a nuclear exchange. Even if only the coastal regions of China are nuked it will destroy the People’s Republic, since it’s historical power was based along the rivers and coastal cities. Without it, the PRC is severely crippled, and conversely, may not be worth occupying beyond for a foothold in resource rich areas in the interior.

          • DCNY

            I was under the impression that China didn’t yet have the technology to launch a full scale ICBM. Let alone, present a M.A.D. scenario…

        • passingby

          China has already deployed ballistic missiles that can track and attack US aircraft carriers. The only issue is adding sensors that track submarines on the move.

  • Lance

    Looks like a TEL MAZ that’s been enlarged.

    • Lance

      Nothing new the Soviets used MAZ and larger versions to have everything from SCUDs to SS/N-17 ICBMs transported around to prevent from being took out in a so called first strike.

      China is coming to the same conclusion.

  • Roland

    My research was telling me that, China military intended to use this ( China’s DF-31A) against our (US) defenses ABM/ ICBM arsenal site in Alaska.

    • Roland

      Probably the blogger commentator on the webpage is a communist blogger but not necessarily representing the entire country (China) agenda.

    • Juuso

      Diameter of this new missile canister is smaller than the diameter of any known DF-31 versions.

      But it looks very similar to DF-21C canister.

  • Sgt. Buffy

    Does the US have anything like this? Or anything resembling a mobile ICBM carrier?

    • blight_

      We used to have a Midgetman prototype and a MX railcar prototype. That’s about it I think….

    • Riceball

      Yes, they’re called boomers or SSBNs.

  • Mike

    It’s the Chinese version of the Oscar Meyer weiner mobile on it’s way to the paint hangar.

    • crackedlenses

      Good one…..

  • Juuso

    Missile canister what this mystery TEL carries has a smaller diameter than the DF-31 canister. It’s said that Chinese could MIRV their missiles if they wanted to do so, but they have chosen not to do that. If that’s true then something like DF-41 with 10 MIRV’s would be overkill for them, but something like MGM-134A Midgetman would make more sense…

    It could be also a new ASAT missile or improved DF-21 with more range.

    • blight_

      Yeah, it looks smaller than the TEL for Topol-M, so it doesn’t look like it’ll be a sixteen wheeler. It looks smaller than the Topols, so I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be.

      That said, images of DF-31 show a different transporter (looks like eighteen wheeler, so maybe not a TEL?) and a different storage vanister (cylindrical). The Soviets used a missile shaped canister for the TR-1, and the size of the DF-31 on other pictures suggests a TEL that might have to be bigger: maybe even the eight-axle instead of the six-axle, the MZKT-79921.

  • blight_

    I wonder what it would cost to design a new launch vehicle that contained one or two VLS cells to launch standard missiles from trucks. Though I suppose it conflicts with ATACMS/MLRS territory, which uses the packs from the M270..

  • Mark

    pfft, neither would persue the attack of the other. It would be economic suicide for both sides.

    • Bob

      When more than one nuclear capable missile flies it has moved beyond the bounds of the economic realm.

    • Jay

      Well, If we get nuked China can’t sell their products and pay their workers, so they will have massive internal problems.

      If China gets nuked we will have to start making a lot more cheap consumer goods to replace the Chinese production, so we will have to build factories and hire people. It would be like stimulus, but for real this time.

      If China went to war with the US it would either go nuclear, or our Navy would blockage them and their economy would collapse.

    • Buzz

      Always posssible because china wants siberia really badly and they do have that pesky population problem.

  • Roland

    We probably need to place a number of missile shield in Alaska. We could nay already been warned and targeted by China and Russia w/o knowing it.

  • Roland

    We probably need to place a number of missile shield in Alaska. We may be targeted by China and Russia w/o knowing it.

  • Digger880

    Any nuclear weapons mass exchanges would kill everyone on earth anyways from the

    radiation fall out. Where I live’ I would be gone in a flash, it,s a already targeted area.

    Fort Drum

    • Anon

      Possibly. The other side of the coin is, China isn’t held by any treaty to NOT build Neutron bombs that would minimize radioactive fallout. Then again, our retaliation would be enough to poison the world. (If we retaliated… personally I think any Democrat in charge would allow us to be nuked without retaliation, in fear of upsetting the hippies).

      • blight_

        FDR (an avowed liberal from a liberal new england family) approved Manhattan Project, knowing full well that any weapon built in world war always has a chance of being deployed.

        Final deployment went to Truman, a senator from Missouri. He was a Democrat, but in our modern understanding of the party line he might easily have been Republican. One way or another, I think he was pretty centrist, but it’s hard to say.

        In any case, Truman approved the use of nuclear weapons. He is the only POTUS to employ nuclear weapons, and since you opened this to party politics and went as far as saying “any Democrat” (to include Democrats from before the Southern shift); Truman was a Dem.

        That said, luckily we’ll never know how presidents respond to nuclear attack. Or at least I hope that remains true.

      • anona

        I love how Americans get so caught up with political party association. Riiight… A president in charge will just stand by and watch his country get nuked.

        • blight_

          Precisely. Then they’ll claim that Democrats are anti-war or are somehow weaker presidents.

          The label of Democrat used to belong to the deep South, and if it weren’t for Johnson, and southerners would be proud Democrats. Confusing, isn’t it? And perhaps, non-sensical to foreigners.

    • Jay

      That’s not true, the nuclear winter myth is propaganda.

      google “nuclear war survival skills”.

  • Kurt Montandon

    To which the only possible response is: [citation needed]

    • Jay

      try google.

      “The commander in chief who once pined for a world without nuclear weapons has decided a world without an American deterrent is a good start, seeking to cut the U.S. arsenal by 80%.

      In a world where rogue states with unstable leadership are either in possession of or pursuing nuclear weapons, and with Russia rearming and China emerging as a world military and nuclear superpower, President Obama has ordered the Pentagon to consider cutting U.S. strategic nuclear forces to as few as 300 deployed warheads — below the number believed to be in China’s arsenal and far fewer than current Russian strategic weapon stocks.”

      You could also try reading BHO’s college thesis proposing we cut our arsenal to promote world peace. really.

      • blight_

        Reagan and Gorbachev envisioned a world without nukes. For Reagan, this involved SDI defeating the use of nuclear weapons.

        Neither Reagan or Gorbachev could have anticipated a future where nuclear technology leaves the US and USSR and proliferates all over the place. It certainly no longer makes sense to have /thousands/ of nukes if the US and Russia temporarily agree to not target each other; but if the other guy doesn’t care about getting obliterated (“we are martyrs, fire the nukes, allahu ackbar!”) then five thousand nuclear weapons won’t stop a fireball from appearing in Honolulu or any American city.

  • superraptor

    China is rapidly increasing its nuclear arsenal. Think 10000 plus warheads in a 3000 mile long secret tunnel system. The US at the same time is decreasing its nuclear arsenal. It needs to push for a strategic treaty with China and verification of China’s nuclear arsenal or the US needs to increase its own arsenal.

    • crackedlenses

      Either the Chinese are nuts or they know something we don’t. All the rationals for cutting our nuclear arsenal are a little suspect when one of our major competitors are steadily increasing theirs….

    • Juuso

      What makes you think that they have 10.000 nukes? Most credible sources say well Chinese have under 500 nuclear weapons.

      • superraptor

        if you read the Washington Post article from last year, there is concern that they are hiding thousands of nuclear warheads in their secret 3000 miles long tunnel system. If they would allow verification of their nuclear arsenal, we would not have to speculate. The only thing the US can do, is to be prepared. President Romney will rebuild our Nuclear Deterrence.

        • blight_

          The FAS blog refuted some of the nuke allegations, under the assumption that many of the facilities identified as strategic facilities were actually standard munitions depots. The Second Artillery Corps (incidentally sharing acronym with old Strategic Air Command) does exist, does have ICBMs and is hiding them but isn’t as big as they think it is.

          • superraptor

            without verification China has 300 to 30000 warheads and nobody can claim to know the truth. It is up to China to clear this up. FAS is speculating wildly as anybody else myself included.

    • Oh My

      Why should we increase the arsenal when we have enough to kill every human being on the face of the earth already. I doesn’t matter how many you have–what matters is the destructibility of what we have..

  • Simon Reily

    ICBM is my guess

  • tribulationtime

    Weapons of Mass Destruction. We must bomb China and hit with flip-flops the pics of president, chinese one.

  • nary

    At least Obama has openly declared his desire to completely eradicate the US nuclear arsenal. Does everyone feel safer now?

    • Juuso

      That report was political nonsense.

      “As it turns out, Republican presidents have been the biggest nuclear reducers in the post-Cold War era. Republican presidents seem to have a thing for 50 percent nuclear reductions.”

      • blight_

        Shh! Didn’t you know it was Obama and Gorbachev that signed the INF treaty?

  • anon

    AShBM anyone?

  • anthony

    It has no use for china should we not let it get inspected by UN considering we got rid of ours in a treaty??

  • anthony

    We cannot afford another war,even the drug war is costing to much,but then on the other hand it creates jobs in jail system,court houses,bail,transportation ,would it not have been better to have destroyed the popies in afgan?we wouldnt have the war now in mexico.And aouth america can take care of it selfas long as the big two dont sell weapoms to start wars..

  • Bob

    Until we bring God back into our national lives and remove the elitist politicians that exist today we will all be speaking Chinese in a matter of time. The Chinese think in terms of centuries whereas our leaders cannot see past the next election. We also need to pass Amendment 28 to the Constitution as soon as possible. That will remove the elitism status of politicians but also reduce the bulging, growing deficit to guess who? Yes, China! Too bad most Americans are spoiled rotten idiots and cannot see what is coming. Are you one?

    • JRL

      Thanks for your very insightful analysis, Mr Robertson, but I’m a little confused… isn’t your first name supposed to be ‘Pat’?

    • Oh My

      Have you been shopping lately?

  • Buzz

    or it could all be a ruse to keep people guessing what it is. The soviets used to build fake weapons systems and parade them in public to drive the western intel agencies crazy trying to figure out what they were.

    • blight_

      Yupyup. It’s casing is quite small, but it’s carried on one of the longer MAZ TEL’s.

  • erichs

    Chinese Oscar Meyer Weiner Mobile?

  • passingby

    agree. I’m equally surprised.

    perhaps they haven’t bothered to follow comments