The Dong-Feng 26 or DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile is considered the most powerful weapon in Beijing’s hands

When first revealed in 2015, the Chinese DF-26 was said to be not ready for operation, and needed more tests before it was completed. However, up to now, the DF-26 ballistic missile is said to have converged enough of the most basic elements to be able to become a dangerous combat weapon in the payroll of the Chinese military.

The US media has mentioned this weapon many times, even giving it nicknames such as “Guam Express”, “Guam Killer”, or even “Carrier Killer”. Although China never made it public, US documents state that Beijing spent up to $1.1 billion to develop this intercontinental ballistic missile. Each DF-26 missile costs about $21 million – which means China can mass produce it, as it’s much cheaper than similar US missiles.

Dong-Feng DF-26
Dong-Feng DF-26

The latest reports show that China has about 200 warheads of DF-26 missiles. This is a number enough to make the US and NATO think, especially when the power of this missile has been gradually demonstrated by Beijing. However, China will face many difficulties if it wants to deploy this weapon and put it to use in real combat. In fact, the US missile early warning and interception complexes are capable of detecting Chinese missiles from the airspace of Japan and South Korea. Being detected too early right after leaving the launch pad and not yet reaching maximum speed, will make the DF-26 vulnerable to interception.

Given the capabilities of China’s current strategic bombers, the deployment of the DF-26 missile from the air is still unthinkable. Therefore, the US is still fully capable of dealing with these dangerous weapons of Beijing, if tensions between the two countries escalate.


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