The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Rocket Force recently conducted live-fire drills in the deserts in Northwest China in which it launched two new-type conventional short-range missiles that accurately hit “hostile” defense nodes despite them being well protected. The new-type missiles seem to be of a new variant of the DF-15 short-range ballistic missile family, upgraded with two new advanced warheads. The new missiles can paralyze entire hostile systems by pinpointing key hostile facilities, and they could play a vital role in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity including Taiwan.
Using road-mobile missile vehicles, the brigade troops took advantage of nighttime for fast maneuvering, and after receiving orders to launch, the troops took half the time to initiate the launch sequence when compared to past records. The missile is capable of fast-reaction and has higher levels of automatization. The PLA Rocket Force will make use of the new missiles, along with all other missiles it has at its disposal, in a potential conflict across Taiwan Straits, against not only secessionist forces, but also foreign interventionist forces. By pinpointing key hostile facilities, the missile can paralyze entire hostile systems, providing an important tactic to the PLA.
Under harsh natural environment and complex electromagnetic jamming, the 1st Conventional Missile Brigade attached to the PLA Rocket Force launched two new-type missiles in a rapid-reaction confrontational exercise, accurately hitting well-protected “enemy” defense positions hundreds of kilometers away, and effectively paralyzing the opponents’ key information nodes in their defense systems. The launches show that the PLA Rocket Force has expanded its arsenal with the new-type advanced warheads, and enhanced the capabilities of conventional missiles in striking with precision in different situations, paralyzing key hostile nodes and destroying “enemy” target.
The Dong-Feng 15 (DF-15) is a short-range ballistic missile developed by the People’s Republic of China. The DF-15 and the newer DF-16 are thought to be the only non-nuclear missiles in use by the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force. The U.S. Department of Defense estimated in 2008 that China had 315–355 DF-15 missiles and 90–110 launchers. The DF-15 uses a solid fuel, single-stage rocket. It is vertically launched from an eight-wheeled transporter erector launcher (TEL). The missile’s trajectory is guided using small thrusters and an inertial guidance system on the warhead. The warhead is only a tenth of the size of the missile body.