China considers using trains capable of launching nuclear weapons

How to use nuclear missiles without his enemies knowing? China may have found the answer to this question if an article by the South China Morning Post (SCMP) is to be believed. According to reports, the country is currently considering the use of high-speed trains capable of crossing the territory with high-powered missiles on board.

The idea is to use a network of high-speed railroads to carry intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), which will keep them constantly moving to avoid enemy detection. These “doomsday trains” could even be used as a missile launch pad, using heavily reinforced railroad tracks and foundations to absorb the shock. In theory, these ICBMs could also be loaded with nuclear warheads.

This is an idea that has already been considered by other countries in the past, notably the United States and the USSR during the Cold War.

The idea of ​​the apocalypse train

At the moment, China’s plan is still in the draft stage. However, it is the subject of a national research project funded by the Chinese central government and led by Yin Zihong, an associate professor of civil engineering at Southwest Jiaotong University in Chengdu. According to the researchers, unlike heavy rail transport, high-speed networks are faster and smoother. This means that on this type of rails, mobility, safety, as well as concealment of military vehicles would be better.

In recent years, the idea of ​​launching ICBMs from trains has been somewhat forgotten. However, it seems that this concept is starting to come back into fashion. China, for example, already tested the “cold launch” of an ICBM from a train in 2015. North Korea also demonstrated its ballistic missiles launched from a train in 2021.

China: a confirmed nuclear power

China is one of nine countries that officially possess nuclear weapons. With it, there are the United States, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea. After successfully testing nuclear bombs in the 1960s, China has since maintained an arsenal of around 350 warheads, as reported by the Union of Concerned Scientists. This nuclear stock is, however, relatively modest compared to that of the United States and Russia, which possess approximately 5,500 and 6,300 nuclear warheads respectively.

China has become the first country to propose a “non-first use” nuclear policy. This involves keeping most nuclear warheads away from missiles in peacetime. In contrast, most nuclear weapon states including the United States and Russia follow a policy that allows them to use this type of weapon first in a conflict.

Despite its modest stockpile of nuclear warheads, China is certainly a world leader in high-speed rail. The country has a total of 40,000 kilometers of rails that can be used by trains running at speeds of 200 to 350 km/h. These infrastructures will surely allow the Chinese to carry out their project of “apocalypse trains”.

SOURCE: IFLScience

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