Taipei - Photos of the Sept. 6 rehearsal parade for the 60th
anniversary of the Oct. 1 founding of the People's Republic of China
are generating excitement among China watchers.
the Chinese are going to put on a real show for the 60th anniversary,"
said Richard Bitzinger, a former CIA analyst now with the Institute of
Defence and Strategic Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) exhibited a wide range of arms never before seen by the public.
the 1999 parade, China displayed only three road-mobile Dong Feng 31
(DF-31) ICBMs, but this year the number jumped to eight. Analysts are
assuming the missiles are the new DF-31A variant, capable of carrying
three multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRV). The
DF-31A is the first road-mobile nuclear ICBM capable of hitting
"This is a sign they are sending a message to
Washington that they have a counterstrike capability," said Andrei
Chang, China defense analyst, Kanwa Information Center.
ICBM was a no show at the rehearsal despite speculation China would
show the missile for the first time to the public. There is still a
chance the missile could appear on Oct. 1.
"If the DF-41 is not
shown, it could be that they are still testing it and don't want to
look premature in revealing it," Bitzinger said. Based on the DF-31,
the DF-41 will have a range of 11,000-13,000 kilometers and carry 10
The PLA is moving toward a MIRV nuclear missile
capability, said Richard Fisher, vice president of the Washington-based
International Assessment and Strategy Center.
The Dong Hai 10
(DH-10) long-range land-attack cruise missile (LACM) also made its
first appearance to the public. The DH-10 is a three-missile tube
variant of the Russian Raduga Kh-55 cruise missile. China procured six
Kh-55s from Ukraine during the 1990s.
China has more than 200
DH-10s deployed along the coast across from Taiwan. The missile's
range, in excess of 1,500 kilometers, also places Okinawa, at 700
kilometers, within striking distance.
"I think it's significant
that they are taking the wraps off the DH-10, which openly demonstrates
China's LACM capabilities," Bitzinger said. "The West has been talking
for years about China's nascent LACM capabilities, and now it seems
that the PLA has arrived. Obviously, this complicates missile defense,
especially for regional U.S. forces and allies."
the rehearsal also reveal there were several new short-range missile
variants, including a DF-15 upgrade with new warhead stabilizer fins, a
DF-11 with a modified warhead, possibly a penetrator, and a
medium-range DF-21C equipped with a new engine.
"This is the
first real opportunity to see the DF-21C with a pointed launch tube
top," Fisher said. This missile is the basis for the future anti-ship
ballistic missile program, which is part of China's anti-access
strategy to deny U.S. navy ships from coming to Taiwan's aid during a
Another photograph, though unclear, could be the YJ-91
missile. Based on the Russian Kh-31 anti-radiation missile, the YJ-91
comes in both anti-radiation and anti-ship variants.
also two UAVs on display. One has been identified as the ASN-206 with a
"curious saucer-bulb above the forward fuselage; a likely satellite com
link or some kind of radar," Fisher said.
A second UAV photo is unclear, but could be the old ASN-205 that now serves largely as a target drone.
Infantry Vehicles and Equipment
The rehearsal also displayed a variety of new armored and infantry vehicles using a new digital camouflage pattern.
"This is intended to fox modern digitally enhanced imaging devices used in tanks, anti-tank devices and UAVs," Fisher said.
vehicles on display include the ZBD97 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV),
155mm PLZ05 self-propelled artillery, and the Type-99G main battle tank
The ZBD97 appears to be an attempt by the PLA to produce a well-armed IFV similar to the Russian BMP-3 series.
Type-99G MBT is the most modern variant of the new Type-98/99 series
first seen in the 1999 parade. Improvements include an upgraded turret
with detachable and upgradable composite armor, use of explosive
reactive armor, plus improved engine and targeting systems.
was also a new PLA Marine Corps blue camouflage IFV whose real
designator remains unknown. Images have appeared on the Internet since
2005, but this is the first public display.