by AUBREY REBELO
A highly accurate Chinese ballistic missile that is capable of threatening the United States, and Japanese bases in Asia, has made an appearance at the recent “Rocket Force” drills. It is a medium-range DF-16. It was featured in a video that was posted last week on the Defense Ministry website showing the missiles aboard their ten wheeled mobile launch vehicle that would be deployed in the deep forest during exercises over the Chinese New Year holiday.
While the Rocket Force is known to have an extensive armory of missiles of various ranges, the “DF-16” fills a specific role in extending China’s reach over waters, it seeks to control within what it calls the “first-island chain.” It was first displayed in Beijing at a military parade in 2015. The missile is believed to have a range of six hundred twenty miles, putting it within striking distance of Okinawa, Japan, which is home to many U.S. military personnel, as well as the Japanese islands, Taiwan, and the Philippines.
The two-stage DF-16 replaces the older, range DF-11, that is said to be over used, and is threatened with a final stage that can adjust the aims to strike slow moving targets and evade anti-missile defenses, like, the U.S. Patriot system deployed by Taiwan. The DF-16 also carries up to three warheads weighing as much as a ton and carrying high explosives or a nuclear weapon.
Further increasing the threat factor, the missile is believed to be accurate to within as little as 16 feet of the target, similar to a cruise missile. The United States is now questioning whether or not we should be the one worried of the threat, rather than the neighboring islands and countries of China.