China’s Rocket Force has conducted an exercise with advanced DF-16 medium-range ballistic missile (Representative Picture) (AFP)
China’s newly-formed Rocket Force has conducted an exercise with advanced DF-16 medium-range ballistic missile that has a range of over 1,000 kms and could target a number countries in the neighbourhood, including India.
Significantly the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which is secretive about its weapons systems, has released a video of the recent exercise of its troops employing the advanced Dongfeng-16 medium-range ballistic missile.
First displayed at a military parade in Beijing in 2015, the missile is believed to have a range of 1,000 kilometers, putting it within striking distance of Okinawa, home to several US military installations in Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines.
The Rocket Force is a special contingent to handle range of missiles in its military’s arsenal. Several 10-wheeled mobile launch vehicles carrying the ballistic missiles were seen in the footage released to show the training of Rocket Force missile brigade soldiers around the Spring Festival holiday.
The participating units handled a number of scenarios, including chemical/biological contamination, countering satellite reconnaissance and electronic jamming, state-run China Daily reported today.
The crews practised in multiple manoeuvres, such as rapid loading, redeployment and launch sequence, though the video showed no missile actually being launched.
Two types of DF-16 appeared in the exercise. The video represents the third time the DF-16 has been shown to the public. The missile made its debut at a military parade in Beijing in September 2015.
In July, a television news programme showed General Fan Changlong, a vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, inspecting a DF-16 unit of the Southern Theatre Command.
Though the PLA has never disclosed its ballistic missiles’ specifications, experts said the DF-16 poses a challenge to foreign military installations along the first island chain, which is what the Chinese military calls the series of islands that stretch from Japan in the north to Taiwan and the Philippines to the south, the report said.