The Dong Feng-16 (DF-16) is a road-mobile, solid-fueled, short-range ballistic missile developed and deployed by China. It was first publicly displayed during a Chinese military parade in 2015.
DF-16 at a Glance
Originated from: People’s Republic of China (PRC)
Possessed by: People’s Republic of China (PRC)
Class: Short-Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM)
Alternate names: CSS-11, CSS-11 Mod 2
Diameter: 1.2 m
Payload: 500-1,000 kg
Warhead: 1-3 HE, submunition, nuclear
Propulsion: Solid propellant
Range: 800-1,000 km
In service: 2011
Dong Feng-16 Development
Development of the DF-16 began in the mid-2000s. It was likely a replacement to China’s older DF-15 and DF-11 SRBMs, which date back to the 1990s and 1970s, respectively.1 In September 2012, the first image of the DF-16 was revealed on Chinese websites. China, however, did not officially unveil the DF-16 until a September 2015 military parade in Beijing.2
Dong Feng-16 Specifications
The DF-16 is a two-stage solid-fueled, road-mobile, short-range ballistic missile. It has a diameter of 1.2 m and can carry a 1,000 kg payload between 800-1,000 km. It can be equipped with up to three MIRV high explosive, nuclear, or submunition warheads.
In February 2017, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) released a video of a missile exercise, which appeared to show two distinct DF-16 variants.3 One version, likely the original, had a more aerodynamic bullet-shaped fuselage, while the other appeared to be a newer variant with a potentially maneuverable warhead featuring fins on the upper stage.4
Dong Feng-16 Service History
Reports from Taiwanese officials and Chinese media suggest the missile had already been operational for several years prior to its official unveiling in 2015. The DF-16 likely entered service in 2011-2012.5 It is currently deployed to the PLA Rocket Force in Guangdong Province, which puts Taiwan and Vietnam within its targeting range.6 According to one 2017 report, China has deployed 12 DF-16s.7
- “DF-16,” IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic 2015-2016, ed. James C. O’Halloran (United Kingdom: IHS, 2015), 14.
- “China’s DF-16 Medium-range Ballistic Missile,” Aviation Week, September 17, 2012, http://aviationweek.com/blog/chinas-df-16-medium-range-ballistic-missile; “For Third Time Ever, China Shows Off Its DF-16 Medium-range Ballistic Missile,” The Diplomat, February 7, 2017, http://thediplomat.com/2017/02/for-third-time-ever-china-shows-off-its-df-16-medium-range-ballistic-missile/.
- “PLA Rocket Force Trains Deployment of Dong Feng Ballistic Missiles,” Jane’s 360, February 7, 2017, http://www.janes.com/article/67520/pla-rocket-force-trains-deployment-of-dong-feng-ballistic-missiles.
- “PLA Drill Features Advanced Missile,” China Daily, February 10, 2017, http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2017-02/10/content_28156686.htm.
- “New Chinese Ballistic Missile Crashes the Battlefield Party with Cluster Munitions,” Popular Science, February 19, 2016, http://www.popsci.com/new-chinese-ballistic-missiles-crashes-battlefield-party-with-cluster-munitions.
- “New Chinese Missile Upgrade Likely Designed with Taiwan in Its Crosshairs,” Forbes, February 15, 2017, https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucedorminey/2017/02/15/new-chinese-missile-upgrade-likely-designed-with-taiwan-in-its-crosshairs/#13ee8b71ba6d.
- IISS, “Chapter Six: Asia,” in The Military Balance 2017 (February 13, 2017), 279.