The levels at which China appears to be planning a missile attack on US military bases in the Pacific have been detailed in a new report.
An investigation of satellite imagery comparing China’s missile testing grounds and US military bases shows a pattern – all of the missile tests have been aimed at destroying US carriers, destroyers and airfields in East Asia, the report said.
The images show that the test areas have been designed to look like the military bases, according to the report by Thomas Shugart on War on the Rocks.
Earlier this week, a highly accurate Chinese ballistic missile capable of threatening US and Japan bases in Asia made its latest appearance at recent Rocket Force drills.
The medium-range DF-16 featured in a video posted last week on the Defense Ministry’s website showing the missiles aboard their 10-wheeled mobile launch vehicles being deployed in deep forest during exercises over the just-concluded Lunar New Year holiday.
While the Rocket Force boasts an extensive armory 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 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), 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 defenses such as the US Patriot system deployed by Taiwan.