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China's military weapons

New Chinese missile capable of threatening US, Japan bases in Asia makes latest appearance in drills

Beijing posts video of medium range DF-16 with a range of 1,000km – within striking distance of Okinawa, home to several US military installations, Taiwan and Philippines

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 February, 2017, 4:34pm
UPDATED : Monday, 06 February, 2017, 4:34pm

A highly accurate Chinese ballistic missile capable of threatening US and Japanese bases in Asia has made its latest appearance at recent Rocket Force drills.

The medium-range DF-16 featured in a video posted last week on the website of China’s Defence Ministry showing the missiles aboard their 10-wheeled mobile launch vehicles being deployed in deep forest during exercises over the Lunar New Year holiday.

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While the Rocket Force boasts an extensive armoury of missiles of various ranges, the DF-16 fills a particular role in extending China’s reach over waters it seeks to control within what it calls the “first-island chain”.

First displayed at a Beijing military parade in 2015, the missile is believed to have a range of 1,000km, putting it within striking distance of Okinawa, home to several US military installations, as well as the Japanese home islands, Taiwan and the Philippines.

The two-stage DF-16 replaces the older, shorter range DF-11, with a final stage that can adjust its trajectory to strike slow moving targets and evade anti-missile defences such as the US Patriot system deployed by Taiwan.

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It also carries up to three warheads weighing as much as a tonne and carrying conventional high explosives or a nuclear weapon.

Further increasingly its lethality, the missile is believed to be accurate to within as little as 5 metres of the target – similar to that of a cruise missile.