The location of the garrison, confirmed through satellite imagery here, can possibly support a brigade-sized intercontinental ballistic missile formation.
New Delhi: China has built a new garrison in its central Sichuan province for its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) which have the capacity to cover all of India, the Indian Ocean Region as well as large parts of continental America.
On 27 May, the 10th test of the Dongfeng-41 or DF-41 (East Wind-41) ICBM, with a reported range of 12,000-15,000 km, was conducted at the Taiyuan Space Launch Center in Shanxi province. China’s PLARF, or the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force, formerly Second Artillery Corps (SAC), claimed it a success.
ThePrint has now identified a never-before revealed PLARF location, which may possibly be a DF-41 garrison, with the help of satellite imagery.
ThePrint had in April reported that PLARF had built a garrison in the southernmost Hainan province to store DF-31AG missile.
This is the first time that the new Chinese garrison has been confirmed through satellite imagery (as of 7 May, 2018), although it has been covered by ground human intelligence before.
It is located 15 km east of Yibin town in Sichuan province, away from towns and cities but close to a highway to enable quick deployment. Construction is said to have begun three years ago.
The entire complex can possibly support a brigade-sized ballistic missile formation.
The ICBM is likely to be armed with 10 multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) warheads each with 150kT yield.
This new garrison is typically built around a sports track with a football field in it. It also has two basketball grounds and an obstacle course adjoining the sports track.
There are two large highbay garages in the centre of the complex along with two smaller highway garages to the north of the facility. The smaller highbay garages were probably built for warhead assembly.
There are two locations where dugouts are observed. These could possibly be underground DES igloos.
There are about 15 triple storied C-shaped barracks, possibly for troops’ living accommodations.
Three large multi-storey buildings connected with each other could be administrative offices. A meteorological station with possible satellite link is also seen to the west side of the complex.
All buildings except central administrative buildings and high-bay garages are provided with slanted box gable roofs.
The entire garrison with its support buildings has a very high-walled security with four entrances. The main entrance is heavily guarded with around 200m approach under visual observation with the help of a large convex mirror.
It has typical layout of eight garages with six of them being interconnected. There are 30 smaller buildings (15 on either side of highbay garages) with different dimensions which are difficult to assess.
In the latest satellite image, a large tractor trailer of 22m is seen plying on the highway 400 metre south of the complex, suggesting that DF-41 truck erector launcher (TEL) of similar size can easily manoeuvre in this area.
The DF-41 vehicle has most advanced technologies incorporated for the smooth ride of the missile. It is an eight-axle, 16-wheeled TEL with possibly a six-axle drive.
The steering mechanism of DF-41 TEL is very uniquely purposed to provide high-speed turning stability and smallest possible turning radius to the behemoth.
Power steering has been provided on the three-front steer axles and the rear three drive axles are probably mechanically coordinated with hydraulic power. Thus making the DF-41 TEL very easily manoeuvrable.
As for the 27 May ICBM test from the Taiyuan Space Launch Centre, it was first reported by Washington Free Beacon quoting Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Lt. Col. Christopher Logan who said, “The US was aware of recent flight tests and we continue to monitor weapons development in China.”
The well-known defence magazine IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly claimed that after the latest launch, DF-41 had moved closer to commissioning and deployment. Chinese experts claim that DF-41 is the most advanced ICBM in the world.
Read Global Pulse for a sampler of the big international stories, and why they matter.