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Bloomberg: Water Instead Of Fuel In Chinese Ballistic Missiles

As reported by the American news agency Bloomberg, citing intelligence sources, purges were carried out in the Chinese military and the state companies after a corruption scandal related to the Chinese nuclear deterrence potential.

On Saturday, January 6th, the American news agency Bloomberg reported, citing intelligence sources, that purges were carried out within the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF) and state-owned rocket industry, prompted by a corruption scandal related to the Chinese nuclear deterrence potential.

Illustrative photo with a solid fuel-powered DF-41: Ministry of Defense of the People’s Republic of China

The analysis conducted by American intelligence agencies revealed that the extensive purges in the military were ordered by China’s President Xi Jinping, who also serves as the Chairman of the Central Military Commission. These purges were prompted by widespread corruption that had undermined the Communist Party’s efforts to modernize the technical capabilities of the armed forces.

It has been disclosed by individuals familiar with the analysis, wishing to remain anonymous, that corruption within the PLARF and the entire defense industry is so prevalent that President Xi is considering taking significant actions in the coming years.

Among the corrupt practices mentioned were the use of ordinary water instead of rocket fuel for refueling ballistic missiles (indicating that this practice applied to older liquid-fueled missiles). Defects in the construction of underground missile silo covers in western missile bases were also found, potentially preventing the proper launch of missiles in emergency circumstances.

Investigations into corruption over the past six months have targeted several high-ranking military officials, making it the largest military purge in modern Chinese history. On December 29, 2023, the National People’s Congress approved the expulsion of nine senior military officers from the Central Military Commission, many of whom were members of the PLARF.

A few days earlier, three executives from the state-owned nuclear and missile industry complex were dismissed from their positions. In October of the previous year, Defense Minister Li Shangfu was removed from office after just seven months in the position.

In the New Year, the official military publication of the PLARF, China Military, announced the beginning of a war against corruption in 2024, suggesting that further purges may be forthcoming.

The scale of the corruption problem and its impact on the overall combat readiness of the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force, especially with regard to intercontinental land-based ballistic missiles such as the first-generation DF-4 with a range of 5,500 km and the second-generation DF-5 with a range of 13,000-16,000 km, which are powered by liquid/hypergolic propellants (a mixture of 1,1-Dimethylhydrazine with nitrogen tetroxide as an oxidizer), is not known.


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