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September 28, 2009

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New missiles in show of strength

THE 108 missiles to be paraded on Thursday's National Day parade in Beijing will feature previously undisclosed technologies, a senior army commander revealed yesterday.

Yu Jixun, deputy commander of the People's Liberation Army Second Artillery Force and vice commander-in-chief of the joint headquarters for the military parade, said all the missiles were new models or upgraded weapons never before seen in public.

They include two types of surface-to-surface conventional missiles, a land-based cruise missile, surface-to-surface intermediate and long-range missiles that could be equipped with either nuclear or conventional warheads, and nuclear-capable intercontinental missiles, he said.

Yu said the conventional missiles could launch precision strikes in all weathers and directions, while the land-based cruise missile boasted long-range and low-altitude flight, precision targeting and quick emergency response from concealed places.

The new surface-to-surface intermediate and long-range missiles were "major weapons in winning information-based warfare," Yu said.

He said the nuclear-capable intercontinental missiles were "remarkable symbols" of China's defense muscle.

"The land-based cruise missiles and the new surface-to-surface intermediate and long-range missiles will make their first appearance."

The 108 missiles will form five groups that would rumble past the Tian'anmen rostrum for a review by top leaders and foreign guests, he said.

"All five types of missiles are solid-fueled, with smaller bodies," Yu said. "In the past, missiles were mostly liquid-fueled and their bodies were huge," so limiting their maneuverability.

"The missile arsenal includes both solid-fueled and liquid-fueled missiles of different ranges, capable of carrying various types of warheads and conducting nuclear counter-attacks," he said.

"These show the PLA's latest developments in strategic deterrence and medium and long-range precision strikes."

It will be the PLA strategic missile troop's third appearance in a national military parade since their debut at a National Day parade in 1984.

Cadets from several PLA schools will also march in formation during the parade.


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