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China's ‘underground steel wall’ nuclear shelters could stop hypersonic missiles

The steel wall is a series of defence facilities located deep under mountains that can withstand bunker busting missiles.

world Updated: Jan 14, 2019 17:40 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
China’s underground steel wall is a series of defence facilities located deep under mountains that can withstand bunker busting missiles.
China’s underground steel wall is a series of defence facilities located deep under mountains that can withstand bunker busting missiles.(Representative Image/AP File Photo)
         

An octogenarian scientist who received China’s top science and technology award this month has said that the “underground steel great wall” created by him for missile bases located under mountains could withstand attacks from nuclear and hypersonic weapons.

Qian Hu, 82, called the steel wall China’s last line of defence and inseparable part of the country’s “no first strike” nuclear doctrine.

Attached to both the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, Qian received the 2018 State Supreme Science and Technology Award during a conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing earlier this month.

In an interview to state media, Qian said if attacked with nuclear or futuristic hypersonic weapons, the protective wall will give China the ability to retaliate.

Calling China’s nuclear and missile arsenal “spears”, Qian said the development of the shield was an important follow-up to developing weapons.

“The development of the shield must closely follow the development of spears. Our defense engineering has evolved in a timely manner as attack weapons pose new challenges,” Qian told the Global Times.

Also read: India to build 44 strategic roads along China border for Rs 21,040 crore

“The ‘underground steel great wall” is a series of defence facilities located deep under mountains. While the mountain rock is thick enough to resist enemy attacks, entrances and exits of these facilities are often vulnerable and Qian’s work was to provide extra protection for these parts,” the report said.

“If other lines of defence including the strategic missile interception system, anti-missile system and air defense system fail to function against hypersonic missiles and recently developed bunker-busters, Qian’s work can still thwart such attacks,” it added.

“National defence challenges do not only emerge from the development of advanced attack weapons but are also a result of an unpredictable international environment,” Qian said.

“The defence facilities against nuclear explosions are steel underground great wall for our country,” Qian had said in an earlier interview with state news agency China News Service.

Also read: China develops naval radar which can monitor area the size of India, says Report

“If nuclear weapons such as atomic bombs are upgraded, so should our defence system. My goal has been to design a nuclear weapons-proof wall for my country,” he said.

Besides Qian, 82, Liu Yongtan, 83, also received 8 million yuan (US$1.2 million) for his contribution to developing China’s first high-frequency radar system.

“Liu’s latest research helped improve the accuracy of radar-detected signals and target detection even against the backdrop of sea clutter, atmospheric noise or radio signals. Under his direction, China’s first high-frequency radar system became a leader in target detection in the 1990s,” state media reported.

Also read: China deploys vehicle-mounted cannons in Tibet along border with India

First Published: Jan 14, 2019 16:29 IST

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