China's DF-16 Medium-range Ballistic Missile

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Richard D. Fisher, Jr. writes:

In mid-September 2012 the first full image of the China Aerospace Science and Industries Corporation’s (CASIC) Dong Feng-16 (DF-16) was revealed on Chinese web pages. In mid-March 2011 the Director of Taiwan’s National Security Bureau (their CIA) told the Taiwan legislature that the DF-16 had been deployed and that it had an estimated range of 800km to 1,000km, the latter falling within the definition of a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM).

It is reported to be deployed with one Second Artillery Brigade in the Guangzhou Military Region, contributing to what the Taiwan Ministry of Defense says are now 1,600 missile aimed at Taiwan. The DF-16 is seen as a faster successor to CASIC’s 300-500km range DF-11 short-range ballistic missile (SRBM), better able to counter Taiwan’s U.S.-made Patriot PAC-2/3 and domestic Tien Kung anti-tactical ballistic missile interceptors.

New imagery reveals that the DF-16 is both wider and longer than the DF-11 and that its bi-conic warhead structure leaves room for potential growth to include specialized warheads, like the terminally guided and deep penetrating warheads used by the competing DF-15 SRBM family. It uses a 10x10 wheeled transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) similar to that employed by CASIC’s new DF-21C/D MRBMs but does not use the latter’s “cold launch” missile storage tube. Instead the DF-16 uses a new protective “shell” to cover the missile.

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