World / Victory parade

Missile capacity gives PLA cutting edge

By Zhao Lei (China Daily) Updated: 2015-09-04 08:46

Bigger and better weaponry on display at grand military parade are China's 'trump card' in naval warfare, offering clear evidence that nation can easily defend itself, Zhao Lei reports.

Missile capacity gives PLA cutting edge

Yinji-12 anti-ship missile. WANG ZHUANGFEI/CHINA DAILY

China has obtained a full strategic strike capability thanks to the rapid development of its strategic missile force, military experts said after the People's Liberation Army made public some of its most powerful missiles in Thursday's parade.

"Compared with last parade in 2009, the missiles displayed in this year's parade were more advanced and powerful. Such missiles represent the long-range strike capability and are must-have weapons for world powers," Senior Colonel Shao Yongling, a military strategy professor at the PLA Second Artillery Corps Command College, told China Daily in an exclusive interview.

A total of 112 missiles from the PLA second artillery corps, the country's de facto strategic missile force, appeared in the parade on Thursday on Tian'anmen Square that marked the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and World Anti-Fascist War. The seven types shown at the grand event were the CJ-10A cruise missile, the DF-15B and DF-16 short-range ballistic missiles, the DF-21D medium-range ballistic missile, the DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile, and the DF-31A and DF-5B intercontinental ballistic missiles.

In the 2009 parade, marking the 60th anniversary of New China, 108 missiles in five types were displayed, including the DF-11A short-range ballistic missile and the DF-31A intercontinental ballistic missile.

Among the military hardware on display on Thursday, the DF-26 and DF-21D were the stars of the parade, Shao said.

"The DF-26 can be used to destroy ground targets and mobile seaborne targets. The missile has closed the gap in the PLA Second Artillery Corps' strike range, as we previously lacked intermediate-range projection platforms because the DF-21 is for medium-range tasks while the DF-31 is for intercontinental projection," she explained.

Foreign media reported that the DF-26 is an upgraded version of the DF-21, which was the first solid-fuel ballistic missile deployed by the PLA Second Artillery Corps. It is able to hit targets up to 4,000 kilometers from the launch site, according to IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.

Talking about the DF-21D, the senior colonel said the missile was much anticipated by military observers who have dubbed it as the "aircraft carrier killer".

The official introduction of the DF-21D, which was announced during the parade, said that the weapon will be used to hit ships and is a "trump card" in asymmetric naval warfare.

The DF-21D and DF-26 are likely to be the only two ballistic missiles in the world that are capable of sinking aircraft carriers, she said.

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