The Dong Feng-15 or DF-15 Tactical Missile is a short range, low payload nuclear delivery system employed by the People's Republic of China. The DF-15 is among a growing global arsenal of small tactical nuclear weapons, designed for the 'limited nuclear war' scenarios envisaged by modern militaries. In such a conflict, small missiles would be used to kill 'only' a few million people each, with the focus instead being placed on the destruction of the enemy's military and industrial infrastructure.
Dong Feng means 'East Wind' in Chinese, and is a slogan of the Maoist religion. It is a mobile missile, normally deployed on an eight-wheeled erector/launcher. The launcher is a specially adapted version of a German-made commercial truck, and offers good cross-country capabilty. Mobile missile units are notoriously difficult to find on satellite imagery and with spy planes, because they can be made to look like any other truck or lorry. Particularly in China where no laws exist on notifying the public about nuclear warheads parked across the street, these missiles can be hidden most efficiently.
After main engine burnout, the DF-15 warhead seperates from the main section and uses onboard thrusters to correct it's course to target. Recent reports demonstrate that the DF-15 units are being equipped with Rockwell GPS systems, and that a follow-on version will even have active SAR radar targeting. The warhead itself is a MARV, or MAneuverable Re-entry Vehicle. These warheads employ radical high-speed twists and jukes when on final approach, designed specifically to defeat anti-missile defenses like Patriot missiles. Analysts state that one one in ten such warheads could be intercepted by the Patriot and Nike Ajax sites that defend US military bases.
WARHEAD - 1,100 LB. (500 KG) CHEMICAL, NUCLEAR OR CONVENTIONAL
10 KT. NEUTRON (ENHANCED RADIATION) WEAPON
20 KT. TACTICAL NUCLEAR WARHEAD
RANGE - 370 MILES (600 KM)
DIAMETER - 3.3 FEET (1 METER)
LENGTH - 30 FEET (9.1 METERS)
WEIGHT - 13,700 POUNDS (6,200 KG)
ENGINE - SOLID PROPELLENT
GUIDANCE - STRAP DOWN INERTIAL
GPS SUPPLIED BY ROCKWELL
POSSIBLE FOLLOW ON SAR RADAR ACTIVE TARGETING
C.E.P. - LESS THAN 100 METERS
See Chinese nuclear capability for the full list of Chinese nuclear missiles.