PLA Rocket Force test fires new missile in Bohai Sea

DF-26 IRBM

The PLA Rocket Force (PLARF) recently test fired a new-type missile in the eastern Bohai Sea, a spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of National Defence (MND) confirmed on Tuesday 9 May.

In reply to media enquiry about a recent missile firing test, the spokesman stated: “to improve the troops’ capability of carrying out missions and efficiently deal with national security threats, the PLA Rocket Force recently conducted an operational test for its new-type missile weapons in waters of the Bohai Sea according to the annual training plan and achieved the expected results”. The spokesman did not disclose the exact type of missile involved in the firing test.

The timing and location of the latest Chinese missile firing test was clearly amid at the escalating crisis in the Korean Peninsula following the recent missile tests by North Korea, as well as the growing tensions between Beijing and Soul over the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system to South Korea.

Back in April, a video was circulated on Chinese social media showing the wreckage of a jettisoned rocket motor identified in Inner Mongolia, possibly from a ballistic missile test conducted from a nearby location. The rocket motor features E/ADF-26B in its body, which has been interpreted by some observers as a new variant of the Dong Feng-26 (DF-26) intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), possibly designated DF-26B.

The DF-26, first revealed during the 2015 Victory Day parade in Beijing, has been nicknamed “Guam Express”, which refers to its 3,500—4,000 km range, enough to reach the second island chain in the Western Pacific and U.S. military bases on the island of Guam. The missile was described as being capable of engaging targets both on land and in the sea. It is also capable of delivering either a nuclear or a conventional warhead, with a manoeuvrable re-entry vehicle (MaRV) coupled with terminal active-homing guidance to achieve a high level of accuracy.

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