Strategic Weapons: Straight Out Of Nowhere; The DF-16

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March 21, 2011: Taiwan revealed that China has deployed a new ballistic missile, the DF (Dongfeng) 16 and that some of them are aimed at Taiwan. The DF-16 has never been mentioned publically before. It appears to be an upgrade of the DF-15, as the Taiwanese announcement only described the DF-16 as having a "longer range."

Most of the 1,600 ballistic missiles aimed at Taiwan are DF-11 and DF-15 models. The DF-11 (also known as the M11) weighs 4.2 tons, has a range of 300 kilometers and carries a .8 ton warhead. The DF-15 (M9) weighs 6.2 tons, has a range of 700 kilometers and carries a half ton warhead. Both of these are solid fuel missiles, so the DF-16 probably would be as well. A "longer range" DF-15 would likely weigh over eight tons and have a range of 1,000 kilometers or more. Or something like that. No one else has mentioned a DF-16 missile, but the Chinese were known to have been continuing work on the DF-11/DF-16 class missiles, particularly warhead design (as in penetration aids to defeat anti-missile systems.) Give it a few months, and more details will come out.

 

 


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