China: Modemiziiwi (he Nuclear Deterrent
is replacing ihe vintageedium-range missile with an intermediate-range missile, theh>ch wiilcapand coverage of targets in the eastern Soviet Union and in Vietnam and provide Beijingore stable and lethal mastic force.
The number of these scmimobileof China's nucleario havelateau. The force probably will not grow until thehen China's firstsubmarine (SSBN) becomes operational.
The Role of an Improved Missile Force The replacement of MRBMi withs asimple, low-cent way for China lo improve the capabilities of its semimobile missile force, which la composed of weapons that can be transported on roads, but not cross-country. I
Treads for China's Srmlmoblle*
deployed theRBM. whichilometers,nd thewhichangeilometersBoth
delivered on irailesflrrffWrTTrBTWrTiOTfWrrS'and are firedurface launch pad.
A variant of ibeocket, thean antiquated missile with serious limitations of range, lethality,Because itsoxygen propellant rapidly boils away, thean be held al full readiness for only about an hour. The poor accuracy of the missile and Ihe relatively low yield ofkitolon warhead do not make (he missile a
Thes superior in all respects. It cancgaion warhead for more lhan twice ihe range with about the same accuracy. Its itorable liquid proMt-
lints do not limit how long il can be kepi fully ready to fire. Heavy-duty trucks supplied lonits make the missiles more maneuverabk.
Beijing appears io be pointing toward an allorceo achieve this coal, it needseplace one regiment of CSS^lseaetvyear.l
leadership more (IcKibilliy because Ihe missiles con be kept on full alen indefinitely, lij.contraii. iheequired the Chinese lo choose between keeping ihe forcenoderoie level ofis.fuel inadiness posture thai would fluctuate rapidly between ready-to-fire and hours-to-firc.
Thelso provides increased range.previously within range of Ihe missiles alhinese missile bases, now is within range ofases. Saigon, formerly within range of eight bases, now could be attacked fromases. Because most of ihe semimobele missile bases are near ihe coast or ihe borders, theenerally offers wider choices in targeting potential adversaries on China's periphery.
The Chinese probably will not modernize the bases closest io the USSR until last.issiles al these bases can reach Important Soviet targets andremain useful against China's main adversary. Moreover, by rcequipping the more southerly bases. China can strike the Soviei Union from more distant areas. This also will provide greater capabilities againsi Vietnam, about which the Chinese areconcerned because of improvements in Vietnamese forces and ihe growing Soviet presence.Original document.