Aaron SteinMIRVS!

“MIRV” stands for Multiple Independently-targetable Re-entry Vehicles, the ability to put lots of very accurate nuclear warheads on a single missile.  Michael Krepon watched the US-Soviet arms race dangerously accelerate as both sides deployed large numbers of MIRVed missiles in the 1970s. Now other countries, like China and India, seem to be heading down this path.  Michael has edited a new book, The Lure and Pitfalls of MIRVs, that looks at the challenges and includes, among others, a chapter by Jeffrey on China’s nuclear forces.  Jeffrey and Michael discussion counterforce, MIRVs and the possibility of more intense nuclear arms races in East and South Asia.

The Lure and Pitfalls of MIRVs: From the First to the Second Nuclear Age, Michael Krepon, Travis Wheeler and Shane Mason, editors (Stimson Center, 2016).

Jeffrey Lewis, “Great, Now China’s Got Multiple Nuclear Warhead Missiles?” Foreign Policy.com, May 26, 2015.

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  1. J_kies (History)

    Jeffrey – your payload # for the DF-5 seems to have slipped a decimal or 3 (tons?). Retention of the DF-5 is likely dubious as the DF-41 seems to have a similar mission and liquid ICBMs aren’t a good logistics answer. When moving to mobile solids (DF-31 and 41) the mobility sets upper limits on missile size/throw weight capability so less or non-MIRVable than the antique. Do recall the miniaturization for MIRVs is all about the efficiency of the device and to significantly shrink warheads to put multiples on the mobile missiles is probably untenable without testing.