The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is currently building a new missile silo site, according to the US Air Force’s China Aerospace Studies Institute.
Research director Roderick Lee mentioned in his report that the PLA “likely began construction” of a potential intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) silo site in Hanggin Banner, Ordos City, Inner Mongolia.
The coordinates of the alleged missile silo site have been supported by corroborating images from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 mission.
The images, taken between May 16 and August 9, 2021, show a construction footprint similar to those found at known PLA ICBM silo construction sites at Jilantai, Guazhou (typically referred to as the Yumen site), and Hami.
Secret Missile Silo Site?
What makes this alleged silo site near Hanggin Banner secret is that there is currently no public knowledge of the existence of such a facility in the area. This is unlike the Guazhou ICBM silo site that is publicly known.
Although the only available images were satellite images, the report mentioned that “the similarities in construction footprint in terms of spacing, excavation patterns, and use of dome shelters, as well as the general trend of rapid growth in PLA Rocket Force (PLARF) fixed systems suggest that the construction site at Hanggin Banner is likely an ICBM silo site.”
Images that were taken by a Sentinel-2 on August 9, 2021, showed at least 29 possible silo construction sites. The alleged sites were divided into two “clusters”— one northern and one southern cluster.
China’s Missile Development Efforts
China has ramped up its missile technology development recently, with a number of publicized exercises and testing done this year.
In May, the Chinese air force tested an upgraded version of its HQ-9 air-defense missile system.
Also in May, a hypersonic missile was unveiled to the public during the 18th National Science and Technology Week in Beijing.
In July, it was reported that a team of laser experts at Beijing’s Space Engineering University is developing a device to further increase the speed of hypersonic missiles and military aircraft.