Images of mobile launchers posted on the Internet last week could provide confirmation of the long-suspected deployment of the Dong Feng 16 (DF-16), China’s most recent medium-range ballistic missile.
The pictures, which were taken at an undisclosed location, showed a pair of 5x5 wheeled transporter erector launcher (TEL) vehicles surmounted by wide, half-oval-shaped covers for the missile ramp, driving in an urban area. In three of the pictures seen by the Taipei Times, street signs had been digitally blurred out.
News of a potential new class of Dong Feng missile emerged in March last year when National Security Bureau Director-General Tsai Der-sheng (蔡得勝) told the legislature that the Chinese military had completed testing the DF-16 and begun its deployment. The revelation caught the intelligence community by surprise and sparked debate on whether China had in fact developed a new class of missile or that what Tsai was referring to was simply an extended-range variant of the DF-15 short-range ballistic missile (SRBM).
Analysts said at the time that the DF-16 could have maneuverable capability to counter air-defense systems, such as Taiwan’s PAC-3s, with the higher re-entry speed associated with its higher ascent making it more difficult to intercept.
Up until now, little news concerning a DF-16 has emerged, though defense analysts agree that it would make sense for the Chinese military to develop a medium-range missile to fill the gap between the DF-11 and DF-15 SRBMs — most of which are directed at Taiwan — and the long-range DF-21.
The TELs seen in the images that came out last week have larger missile ramp covers, which would indicate the presence of a missile larger than the DF-15.
Although the location where the pictures were taken has yet to be confirmed, Mark Stokes of the Project 2049 Institute, an expert on the People’s Liberation Army’s Second Artillery Corps, speculates that the DF-16 could be deployed at 52 Base 827 Brigade (Unit 91166) in Shaoguan, Guangdong Province. The location of the base, added to the missile’s suspected 1,000km to 1,200km range, could make 91166 a “swing unit,” with the ability to target not just Taiwan, but as China starts flexing its muscles within the region, also serve as a deterrent in the South China Sea and Vietnam, more specifically.
‘LONE WOLF’: The suspect was difficult to locate, as he did not use a cellphone, did not contact family and often lived in abandoned sites or parks, police said Taipei police on Thursday morning arrested a man accused of numerous burglaries and at least 14 incidents of sexual assault spanning more than 20 years, in what might be the nation’s most notorious crime spree in recent years. Sixty-year-old Tu Ming-lang (涂明朗) — who was yesterday placed in judicial detention, after a judge determined he was a flight risk without a fixed address — faces multiple charges of sexual assault and burglary, police said. A task force comprised of various law enforcement agencies arrested Tu as part of an investigation into an April 28 burglary in Daan District (大安), in which a
The majority of parents surveyed in northern Taiwan favor the suspension of all on-site classes at schools from the junior-high level and below amid a surge in domestic COVID-19 infections, parent groups said yesterday. About 84.4 percent of respondents in a survey of 2,912 parents in northern Taiwan, where the outbreak is the most serious, said they supported suspending classes, the Action Alliance on Basic Education, the Taiwan Parents Protect Women and Children Association, and the Taiwan Love Children Association said. The groups distributed questionnaires to parents in New Taipei City, Taipei, Keelung, Taoyuan and Hsinchu city and county from Saturday morning
ASEAN BATTLEGROUND: Japan and Australia could be drawn into Pacific tensions as China sets its sights on the Diaoyutai Islands and further beyond the first island chain Tensions between China and the US in the Indo-Pacific region are expected to intensify, the National Security Bureau and Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, recommending that Taiwan continue to emphasize its shared values and interests to encourage resistance to Chinese aggression. US commitments in the Indo-Pacific region are expected to continue unabated despite the war in Ukraine, as Beijing takes advantage of the conflict to expand its influence in the region, the agencies said in reports delivered to the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee on Sunday, ahead of a hearing yesterday on regional developments and trends. Although Russia’s invasion of
ONLINE REPORT: Confirmed cases filling out the online contact tracing report can check a box to indicate that a close contact had received a booster dose, an official said The guidelines for diagnosing COVID-19 have been revised to include people aged 65 or older who test positive with a rapid test that is confirmed by a healthcare worker, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported 65,794 new local infections. The CECC had first announced the change on Monday, before publishing the new guidelines. Starting today, people aged 65 or older, regardless of whether they are undergoing home quarantine, home isolation or self-disease prevention, can be classified as a confirmed COVID-19 case by a healthcare professional, based on a positive result from an antigen rapid test, said