BEIJING, Feb. 17 (ChinaMil) -- China's newly-released Dongfeng (DF-16), a short-range ballistic missile, has an optimized conventional strike capability and poses a threat not only to Taiwan, but also to the military bases in South Korea and Japan, according to a report on the website of Forbes on February 15.
The report said that according to Mark Stokes, the executive director of the Arlington, Va.-based The Project 2049 Institute, a US think-tank, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) may already have at least dozens of such DF-16s.
Forbes Website said that the DF-16 can theoretically reach accuracies of 50 meters or less, and features a maneuverable warhead cable of carrying a 500-kilogram payload as well as extra vertical fins. Also, it has the ability to outmaneuver enemy defenses.
“From permanent garrison locations in China’s northern Guangdong Province, the DF-16 system appears to be most applicable in the event of use of force against Taiwan,” said Stokes.“[That] includes strikes against air defenses, runways, and unhardened command and control facilities.”
Taiwan has some Lockheed Martin-built PAC-3 (Patriot Advanced Capability) interceptor missiles, which Stokes said can offer a defensive capability against China’s ballistic missile systems.
But as he pointed out, longer range short-range ballistic missiles like the DF-16 can present more of a challenge to Taiwan's existing missile defense systems.
That’s because during the last part of its cruise phase, the DF-16 approaches its target at higher speeds than earlier type systems like the DF-11 or DF-15, which means the PAC-3 interceptors would be forced to defend a larger coverage area, according to the report.
The report said that Christopher Twomey, an associate professor of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School notes that the DF-16’s upgrades have likely enabled a more robust mobile launch architecture.
If deployed to sites in Liaoning or Jilin provinces, along China’s northeastern coast, the DF-16 could stretch its range to target the whole of the Korean peninsula. And if deployed to launch sites in Fujian or Zhejiang Provinces, he says, the system could also be used against U.S. and Japanese military facilities on the island of Okinawa, said the report.