The Chinese media Sunday reported that the People’s Liberation Army-Rocket Force had commissioned a new brigade of its DF-26 missile, capable of striking key Indian cities such as Mumbai.
This claim, however, appears to be factually inaccurate given that the existence of an operational brigade of DF-26 was first reported at least four years ago.
An analysis of Google Earth imagery reveals that the Chinese army’s DF-26 brigade could be located at a garrison in Xinyang in southeastern Henan province.
The Dongfeng-26 or DF-26 is an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) with a range of 3,000-4,000 km. It was first displayed during the 3 September 2015 Victory Day Parade.
The missile was dubbed “Guam Express” or “Guam Killer” considering its primary target was the US base in Guam in the western Pacific Ocean.
The garrison ::
The garrison at Xinyang was built in 2014 and the completion of construction suggests that the US defense department’s reports about DF-26 were correct.
The garrison is typically built around a sports track with a football field in it. It has 10 triple-story barracks, two transporter erector launcher (TEL) garages, four other garages and two administrative buildings.
There is a massive high-bay garage on the east side of the complex along with a large semi-underground DES igloo.
The entire garrison with its support buildings can possibly support a brigade-sized formation.
DF-26 pictures ::
The pictures surfaced in the Chinese media Sunday morning showed 18 DF-26 missile vehicles along with four auxiliary vehicles (not 22 TELs as reported by some Western media). Some pictures showed a handing over ceremony of the flag. Official commissioning ceremonies are events where journalists are not usually allowed.
The location of this garrison clearly indicates that the range of this DF-26 is possibly more than 4,000 km and the targets, as predicted in 2012, are obviously Guam (US) and India.
The farthest target in India is Mumbai (4,350 km) whereas other Indian metros are below 4,000 km from the garrison.
Guam, the US base in Second Chain of Islands, is 3,750 km.