Chinese DF-17 medium-range hypersonic missiles deployed near Taiwan, threatening regional security.
DF-17 Hypersonic Missile Deployment: New Power Scenario
According to a report by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, China has increased its war arsenal with the deployment of DF-17 medium-range hypersonic missiles in its southeastern region. This strategic maneuver offers the Asian giant a position of power before military bases and foreign fleets in the Western Pacific.
These projectiles possess the ability to evade US missile defense systems and are operational at Base 61 in Yong’an, Fujian province. With this strategy, China shows a clear interest in increasing its offensive capacity in the region.
The DF-17 has a range of between 1,800 to 2,500 km and can reach speeds between Mach 5 and Mach 10, making them extremely difficult to intercept.
Taiwan under the specter of Chinese missiles
Approximately 1,000 short-range missiles are still targeting Taiwan, capable of reaching Taiwanese territory in just 6 to 8 minutes. According to Janes Asia-Pacific ground war reporter Kapil Kajal, the DF-17s could constitute the first wave of strikes against Taiwan in the event of a conflict.
China’s live-fire drills and simulated attacks against Taiwan show that the People’s Liberation Army, active since 2016, has Taiwan among its primary targets.
DF-17: China’s hypersonic missiles
The DF-17, based on the design of the DF-16B short-range ballistic missile, differs primarily in its hypersonic glide vehicle technology. This allows it to follow a suppressed trajectory at low altitudes and accelerate to Mach 5, making it difficult to intercept.
The DF-17, operational since 2019, is China’s first hypersonic weapon system, and its deployment represents a significant advance in the Asian giant’s military capabilities.
The appearance of these hypersonic missiles expands China’s range of action and its ability to attack regional targets effectively, redefining the security scenario in the Western Pacific.
Implications of the new military scenario in the Western Pacific
China’s deployment of advanced military technology shows its intention to strengthen its dominance in the Western Pacific region.
This move, which broadens the scope of its military operations, represents a challenge for US missile defense systems and increases tensions with Taiwan, already in the crosshairs of Chinese missiles.
Mounted on a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV), the DF-17 hypersonic missiles have a range of 1,800 to 2,500 km and can reach Mach 5 to Mach 10 speeds. These missiles can target Taiwan and evade built-in air defense systems For the United States. This combination of speed and maneuverability makes them extremely difficult to intercept.
The deployment of the DF-17 missiles in southeast China signals the People’s Liberation Army’s intention to acquire the ability to strike foreign military bases and fleets in the Western Pacific. This deployment increases the threat to Taiwan and alters regional security dynamics.
The DF-17 employs hypersonic glide vehicle technology that allows it to follow a suppressed trajectory at low altitudes and accelerate up to Mach 5. This unique trajectory and high maneuverability make intercepting conventional anti-ballistic missile defenses difficult.
The DF-17 uses the rocket booster from the DF-16B short-range ballistic missile, so its design is quite similar. However, its hypersonic glide technology allows it to maneuver and extend its range effectively, surpassing short-range missiles in speed and ability to evade defenses.
The deployment of the DF-17 missiles may have serious implications for security dynamics in the Western Pacific. The ability of these missiles to hit long-range targets and evade missile defense systems intensifies the threat to Taiwan and potentially upsets the regional balance of power.