China’s DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile has extended the attack range of the People’s Liberation Army Navy all the way to the Philippines, according to the US Navy’s first unclassified assessment report of the Chinese navy in six years.
In The PLA Navy: New Capabilities and Missions for the 21st Century, released April 10, America’s Office of Naval Intelligence said the PLA has been making “major qualitative improvements” in its naval aviation and submarine force, adding that they are “increasingly capable of striking targets hundreds of miles from the Chinese mainland.”
In particular, the report said the deployment of the DF-21D, said to be the world’s first anti-ship ballistic missile, will expand the attack range of the PLA “further into the Philippine and South China Seas.” The US National Air and Space Intelligence center estimated that the DF-21D has a maximum range exceeding 1,450 kilometers.
In addition to qualitative improvements, the PLA is also expanding its current naval force of 300 surface ships, submarines, amphibious ships, and missile-armed patrol craft, the report said.
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