China Reorganizes Northern Nuclear Missile Launch Sites
Hans M. Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), analyzed commercial satellite images that show China has significantly reorganized facilities believed to be launch sites for nuclear ballistic missiles near Delingha in the northern parts of Central China.
The images indicate that older liquid-fueled missiles previously thought to have been deployed in the area may have been replaced with newer solid-fueled missiles. From the sites, the missiles are within range of three Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) fields and a bomber base in the southern parts of central Russia.
Clearly visible in the images are eight 13-meter trucks lined up on a launch pad. The satellite image is not of high enough resolution to identify the trucks and their features with certainty, but they strongly resemble the six-axle transport erector launchers (TELs) in use with the 10-meter DF-21 medium-range ballistic missile. A vague line across the trailer two-thirds toward the rear resembles the position of the hydraulic pumps used to erect the missile canister to a vertical position.