China Reveals Existence of Unknown DF-11AZT Short-Range Ballistic Missile

By Arthur Dominic J. Villasanta , | April 21, 2017

DF-11AZT on its TEL.

DF-11AZT on its TEL.

China has, for the first time, revealed the existence of the DF-11AZT, a longer range version of the standard DF (Dongfeng)-11 short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) capable of reaching Seoul from Liaoning province.

The longer range of the new DF-11AZT means this solid fuel missile can deliver its multiple warheads to reach targets over 600 km away, allowing this SRBM threaten all of South Korea from Liaoning.

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DF-11 is a road-mobile short-range SRBM that entered service with the People's Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF) in the 1970s. China is believed to have an inventory of 600 DF-11s.

Military analysts believe China's unexpected revelation of a variant of the DF-11 not known to the public is intended to send a warning to both North Korea and the United States, which are engaged in a dangerous game of nuclear brinkmanship over North Korea's fast advancing nuclear weapons development program.

Beijing revealed the existence of DF-11AZT on a news report on China Central Television (CCTV) two days ago. The news report said DF-11AZT is a new tactical ballistic missile never before revealed. It said the SRBM was developed in response to the demands of modern warfare.

DF-11AZT, which can be launched from its transporter erector launcher (TEL) in five minutes, is said to mount a 500 kg warhead. PLARF claims the SRBM has an accuracy expressed in circular error probable (CEP) of 200 meters.

Some western military analysts suspect the DF-11AZT might be the DF-11B, an iteration that features much improved accuracy and the absence of mid-body wings. The specifications of the DF-11B are remarkably similar to that of the DF-11AZT.

PLARF has not revealed more information about the DF-11AZT, leading to rumors this missile is actually the DF-11B in disguise. The photos of the DF-11AZT that have been released bear a remarkable resemblance to the DF-11B.

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