China has confirmed that it now possesses an upgraded version of its DF-5A intercontinental ballistic missile, which has been in existence since 1971. It had previously denied that the Dongfeng-41 (DF-41), which has a range of 7,500 miles, existed.
The U.S. Department of Defense said in June that the weapon was possibly capable of “carrying multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles,” Agence France Presse reported Friday.
News of the DF-41 briefly appeared on an official government website but was taken down on Friday, AFP reported. The Global Times was able to take a screenshot of the page before it was removed.
“As the U.S. continues to strengthen its missile defense system, developing third generation nuclear weapons capable of carrying multiple warheads is the trend,” the Chinese website read before the content on the new missile was removed, AFP reported.
In addition to boosting its offensive capabilities, the People’s Liberation Army was reported to have been linked to stolen technology connected with Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. Between 2011 and 2012, Elisra Group, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems were compromised by cyberattacks tied to a the hacking group Unit 61398. Security experts believe the group is tied to the PLA.
The Chinese hackers successfully breached the company’s systems by using phishing emails aimed at tricking users into reading an email, the security website KrebsOnSecurity reported July 14.
“At the time, the issue was treated as required by the applicable rules and procedures,” IAI spokeswoman Eliana Fishler wrote in an email to the website, Krebs reported.