Chinese Internet buzz suggests that the DF-16 missile will make a public debut at the August 2015 Victory Day parade in Beijing on the 70th anniversary of World War II’s end, as suggested by this photo of the missile being transported to northern China.
China is quickly upgrading its formidable missile forces to match advances in defense technologies. While existing Chinese forces make use of anti-air and ballistic to deny access around large portions of airspace, ocean and land bordering China, newer missiles will be more effective against elements of America’s Air Sea Battle concept, like stealthy drones, and mobile enemy targets like anti-ship missile launchers.
The DF-16 short ranged ballistic missile (SRBM) is an improvement over the DF-11 and DF-15 SRBMs fielded by the PLA and Second Artillery. Currently, China has deployed over 1,000 of the two older missiles, which have ranges of about 500km-700km and an accuracy of about 30 meters, opposite of Taiwan. According to the Project 2019 Institute, a think tank, the DF-16 is currently deployed to a Second Artillery regiment in Guangdong Province, a suitable location for targeting either Taiwan or Vietnam.
The DF-16 is larger, as evidenced by its use of a five axis transport erector launch (TEL) vehicle, versus the older missile’s four axle TEL. With an estimated range of around 1,000km and a 5-10 meter accuracy, the DF-16 also flies higher and faster, making it more difficult for missile defense systems to intercept it. The DF-16’s high accuracy, rapid flight time and its large 500kg-1000kg warhead would allow it to target moving enemy targets, such as ships, missile TEL vehicles and leadership convoys.
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