The Dong Feng-26 or DF-26, meaning "east wind" in Chinese, is a Chinese solid-fuel "medium-range" ballistic missile (IRBM), revealed by Beijing officially during the Military Victory Day parade in 2015 and actually entered service in 2016.

It has a range of 4 thousand kilometers, and it is the first Chinese armed ballistic missile that can be used in strikes with conventional warheads and nuclear warheads against land and sea targets, and it is also capable of directing precise strikes on these targets, and it can reach the US island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean.

Specifications and characteristics of "Dong Feng-26"


medium-range ballistic missile.


14 metres.


1.4 metres.


20 thousand kilograms.


between 1,200 and 1,800 kilograms.

Type of


nuclear and conventional.

Working energy:

solid fuel.


4 thousand kilometers.

Special features

The Dongfeng-26 missile is characterized by its ability to carry nuclear and conventional warheads simultaneously, and the ability to "change the warhead, not the missile itself." This is a major shift between nuclear and conventional weapons. The missile can also carry 3 nuclear warheads that can be separated. to hit multiple targets.

Given that China has a limited number of nuclear weapons, the "Dongfeng-26" could constitute a nuclear deterrent, and give Beijing the ability to conduct a nuclear counterattack, whether in the long or short term, in addition to strategic roles, through the advantage of shifting from conventional warhead to nuclear warhead.

This means that China can direct strikes on the US territory of Guam in the event of a war between them, and it can also target the US fleet of the giant aircraft carrier "Nimitz", of the Ford class, which is powered by nuclear power.

"Dongfeng-26" is the first Chinese ballistic missile usable for strikes with conventional and nuclear warheads (Associated Press)

double-edged sword

The Dongfeng-26 missile is considered one of the advanced weapons possessed by the Chinese army, as it is capable not only of launching rapid counter-nuclear attacks, but also of precision strikes on medium and long-range targets on land and sea.

"Dongfeng-26" is the first Chinese ballistic missile capable of reaching the territory of the US island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean.

American analysts called this missile the "Guam-Killer", in reference to the island of Guam, which includes the Anderson AFB military base.

The Dongfeng-26 could also be decisive in the regional conflict between Beijing and Washington, especially regarding the Taiwan issue.


In April 2018, the Chinese People's Liberation Army unveiled 22 Dongfeng-26 medium-range ballistic missiles at a military parade, but 3 years before that, the 14-meter-long missiles were detected for the first time at a memorial military parade Chinese "Victory Day".

Given that all Chinese ballistic missiles share their first name, Dong Feng (east wind), the name of the missile, Dong Feng-26, reveals little about its capabilities.

The Chinese army has always considered that the US military bases located on the Japanese island of Okinawa and the Philippines fall within the "first island chain", which are bases that the US army can easily use to launch attacks on China using relatively short-range warplanes.

Therefore, during the 1980s, the Chinese army began building a massive military force that included more than 1,200 short and medium-range ballistic missiles, and these missiles could threaten and eliminate those American bases, and those in Taiwan.

In addition, the Chinese army believes that the United States has a second line of defense east of Japan, which is the island of Guam, which is located in the Mariana Islands chain, and includes the most important "Anderson" military base for the American army in the Pacific Ocean, which regularly hosts strategic bombers of the "B" model. -1, B-2, and B-3" (B-1, B-2, and B-52).

The island also includes huge weapons ammunition and fuel stores to arm US warplanes, in addition to replenishing Navy ships and receiving Marines, and the island is guarded by Patriot missiles and THAAD air defense missiles.

On the other hand, the Chinese army lacked long-range missiles to cross 1,900 miles in order to hit Guam, with the exception of nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles, which could also hit major cities of the United States.

However, China only has a few hundred nuclear warheads compared to the thousands that Russia and the United States have, so the Chinese military has always preferred the deterrence method rather than the offensive nuclear war mode.

Then, the Chinese army found a good solution in the Dongfeng-26 missile, which has an estimated range of 1,900 to 2,500 nautical miles (between 3,000 and 4,000 km).

The Dongfeng-26 missile may be a nuclear deterrent and help counter nuclear attack in the long or short term (Associated Press)

A deterrent to US aircraft carriers

When China unveiled the Dongfeng-26 missile for the first time in 2015, local media said that this missile would carry conventional and nuclear warheads, and that it would have another anti-ship version, and this was later confirmed by the Pentagon.

In its assessment of China's military strength in 2016, the Pentagon said, "Beijing has begun sending the Dongfeng-26 medium-range ballistic missile" capable of carrying out precise conventional and nuclear strikes against land and sea targets in the western Pacific Ocean.

In a July 2017 report by the Center for a New American Security, the authors, Thomas Shughart and Javier Gonzalez, simulated a preemptive Chinese attack on US bases in Japan, and found that the results would be devastating, so that "all fixed headquarters and logistical facilities could be bombed." And also "bombing almost all American ships in the port of Japan with ballistic missiles."

The Shuggart and Gonzalez simulations also found that most of the military runways would be destroyed by the attack if it occurred, effectively crippling the US Air Force in Japan.

The Dongfeng-26 missiles could also enhance China's ability to carry out a similar attack on the island of Guam, where nearly 4,000 American soldiers are stationed.

The DF-21D variant, or anti-ship version of the Dongfeng-26, has received a lot of attention in the Western press about its ability to sink US aircraft carriers.

So in theory, the long range of the Dongfeng-26 might force US forces to operate away from China's second island chain, while the DF-21D might be limited to the first island chain.

The specter of darkness haunts the Chinese

The process of launching missiles at night, and hitting the required target in the middle of the night, is one of the major challenges facing the Chinese army forces, especially since the launch process causes intense illumination of the place from which the missile is launched, which would facilitate the determination of the coordinates of the launch platform by means of drones. Pilots, satellites or ships, depending on the duration and size of the launch.

The Chinese Dongfeng-26 anti-ship missile makes a large light effect when it is launched and can be detected in the dark by long-range infrared rays, which are on board drones, helicopters and ships stationed for this purpose, to send monitoring and tracking data to defense ships.

In addition, the Dongfeng-26 missile, when approaching the target, emits some electronic radio frequencies that can be tracked by monitoring techniques.

The electromagnetic signals of the monitoring process work independently of light, but at the same time they travel at the speed of light, which speeds up the process of monitoring and tracking the Dongfeng-26 missiles the moment they approach the target.

China can direct strikes on the US island of Guam using the Dongfeng-26 missile (Associated Press)

American concern

One of the priorities of the United States - in its military "crisis" with China - is to search for a new weapons system that would enable it to contain and confront the expected Chinese missile threats, as the tremendous technological progress achieved by Beijing in the field of weapons made this matter more complicated for Washington.

The former head of the US military command in the Indian and Pacific Oceans urged Congress at the beginning of 2021 to build a new missile defense base in the Pacific Ocean as part of a larger strategy to confront the Chinese military threat to the region.

In December 2021, the United States approved a $768 billion budget for the Department of Defense, including $7.1 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI) aimed at countering the Chinese military threat, an increase of $2.1 billion. on the proposal that had been made by the Pentagon.

Two years earlier, the Chinese army had conducted tests by throwing anti-ship ballistic missiles into the South China Sea in early July 2019.

These tests have highlighted Beijing's increasing militarization of territorial waters in this resource-rich region, about which many countries' claims are conflicting.