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DF-21/CSS-5 Mod 1
DF-21A TEL - Chinese Military Museum Beijing.jpg
DF-21A and transporter erector launcher vehicle at the Beijing Military Museum.
Place of origin China
Service history
In service 1991
Used by Second Artillery Corps
Weight 14,700 kilograms (32,400 lb)
Length 10.7 metres (35 ft)
Diameter 1.4 metres (4.6 ft)

Warhead 1, or 5-6 (improved variant)[5] 200-300-500 kt[6]

Engine Solid fueled
2,150 kilometres (1,340 mi) (DF-21)[2]
2,700 kilometres (1,700 mi) (DF-21A)
1,700 kilometres (1,100 mi) (DF-21C)
3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) (DF-21D ASBM)[3]
Speed Mach 10 [1]
Inertial + terminal radar guidance [4]
Mobile launcher

The Dong-Feng 21 (DF-21; NATO reporting name CSS-5 - Dong-Feng (Chinese: 东风; literally: "East Wind") is a two-stage, solid-propellant, single-warhead medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) in the Dong Feng series developed by China Changfeng Mechanics and Electronics Technology Academy. Development started in the late 1960s and was completed around 1985-86, but it was not deployed until 1991. It was developed from the submarine-launched JL-1 missile, and is China's first solid-fuel land-based missile. The U.S. Department of Defense in 2008 estimated that China had 60-80 missiles and 60 launchers.[7]

Originally developed as a strategic weapon, the DF-21's later variants were designed for both nuclear and conventional missions. As well as a nuclear warhead of around 300 kt, it is thought that high explosive, submunition and chemical warheads are available. The latest DF-21D was said to be the world's first anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM). The DF-21 has also been developed into a space-capable anti-satellite/anti-missile weapon carrier.

DF-21 (CSS-5 Mod-1)

The basic variant DF 21 has a maximum range of 1,700 km, and a payload of 600 kg. The missile can carry a single 500 kt nuclear warhead, with an estimated CEP of 300~400 m. This version did not enter operational service.[8]

DF-21A (CSS-5 Mod-2)

The DF-21A was operational by 1996 and has improved accuracy with an estimated circular error probable (CEP) of 100~300m, with both GPS and a radar-based terminal guidance system in a redesigned nose. It is thought to have a lower yield, around 90 kt, but longer range (up to 2700 km).[8]

DF-21C (CSS-5 Mod-3)

Revealed in 2006, DF-21C is believed to be a mod of DF-21. Its actual designation is unknown; it may be a version of the DF-25 missile. Its maximum range is believed to be about 1,700 kilometres (1,100 mi). The new GPS-based guidance system has reduced the missile’s CEP to 30~40m, enabling it for precision-strike missions.[8]

In 2010, the DF-21C was being deployed in central Western China.[9]

DF-21D (CSS-5 Mod-4) Anti-ship ballistic missile

Range of various Chinese missiles; DF-21 A/B range in red.

China has reportedly developed and tested the world's first anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) called DF-21D, with a maximum range of around 2,700 kilometres (1,700 mi),[10] in 2005, according to the US Department of Defense. It is estimated to have reached initial operating capability in 2007 or 2008. The guidance system is thought to be still in an evolutionary process as more UAV and satellites are added.[11] The DF-21 anti-ship ballistic missile itself is assumed to have entered active service by 2009.[12][13]

The US Department of Defense has stated that China has developed and reached initial operating capability [14] of a conventionally armed[15] high hypersonic[16] land-based anti-ship ballistic missile based on the DF-21. This would be the world's first ASBM and the world's first weapons system capable of targeting a moving aircraft carrier strike group from long-range, land-based mobile launchers.[17][18] [19] These would combine maneuverable reentry vehicles (MaRVs) with some kind of terminal guidance system. Such a missile may have been tested in 2005-6, and the launch of the Jianbing-5/YaoGan-1 and Jianbing-6/YaoGan-2 satellites would give the Chinese targeting information from SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) and visual imaging respectively. The upgrades would greatly enhance China's ability to conduct sea-denial operations to prevent US carriers from intervening in the Taiwan Strait.[20] United States Naval Institute in 2009 stated that such a warhead would be large enough to destroy an aircraft carrier in one hit and that there was "currently ... no defense against it" if it worked as theorized.[21]

The United States Navy has responded by switching its focus from a close blockade force of shallow water vessels to return to building deep water ballistic defense destroyers.[21] The United States has also assigned most of its ballistic missile defense capable ships to the Pacific, extended the BMD program to all Aegis destroyers and increased procurement of SM-3 BMD missiles.[22] The United States also has a large network optimized for tracking ballistic missile launches which may give carrier groups sufficient warning in order to move away from the target area while the missile is in flight.[23]

Use of such missile has been said by some experts to potentially lead to nuclear exchange, regional arms races with India and Japan, and the end of the INF Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union, to which the People's Republic of China is not a party.[24][25]

Some have also suggested China could develop a "MIRVd" DF-21D with multiple independent missiles.[26] China has recently launched a series of satellites to support its ASBM efforts:

China is reported to be working on an Over-the-horizon radar to locate the targets for the ASBM.[28]

An apparent test of the missile has been made against a target in the Gobi desert.[29]


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This article does not contain any citations or references. Please improve this article by adding a reference. For information about how to add references, see Template:Citation.

KT series anti satellite missiles / anti ballistic missiles is reportedly a series of highly classified and thus little known missiles based on DF-21. Designed to intercept satellites and ballistic missiles, KT series utilizes experience gained from earlier FJ ABM developed decades earlier.

Four models of KT series have been developed so far, including KT-1, KT-2, KT-2A and KT-III:

  • KT-1: designed to engage sub-orbital targets.[30]
  • KT-1A: upgraded KT-1[31]
  • KT-409: upgraded solid-fuelled variant[31]
  • SC-19: KT-1 variant
  • KT-2: designed to engage low earth orbit (LEO) targets at altitude up to 600 km.[30]
  • KT-2A: designed to engage polar orbital targets.[30]
  • KT-III: designed to engage targets at altitude 1000 km or higher.

It is rumored[where?] that there are other versions of KT under development, but these claims have yet to be verified.

Notes and references

  1. "China Shows Off World’s First Anti-Carrier Ballistic Missile". Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  2. The Federation of American Scientists & The Natural Resources Defense Council Chinese Nuclear Forces and U.S. Nuclear War Planning p. 202
  3. "DongFeng 21C (CSS-5 Mod-3) Medium-Range Ballistic Missile". 3 October 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  4. DongFeng 21 (CSS-5) Medium-Range Ballistic Missile -
  5. International Assessment and Strategy Center > Research > New Chinese Missiles Target the Greater Asian Region
  6. "Nuclear Warhead Modernization". Retrieved 2010-03-21. 
  7. "Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2008". Office of the Secretary of Defense. p. 56 (p66 of PDF). 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 url=
  9. DF-21C Missile Deploys to Central China
  10. General Chen Bingde, PLA Chief of General Staff, Becomes First Chinese Official to Confirm Publicly that “2,700 km-Range” DF-21D Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) is in Devel...
  11. PLAN ASBM development,, March 28, 2009.
  12. Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2008, Office of the Secretary of Defense, p. 2 (p12 of PDF)
  13. "How China could scupper US naval power". SCMP. 10/1/2009. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  14. China’s Carrier Killer Ballistic Missiles are Operational
  15. IMINT & Analysis: OTH Radar and the ASBM Threat
  16. Report: Chinese Develop Special "Kill Weapon" to Destroy U.S. Aircraft Carriers | U.S. Naval Institute
  17. Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2008, p. 2 (p12 of PDF)
  18. "How China could scupper US naval power". SCMP. 10. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  19. "U.S. commander says China aims to be a 'global military' power". Asahi Shimbun. 28. Retrieved 2011-01-05. 
  20. Gertz, Bill, "Inside the Ring: China's anti-carrier missiles", Washington Times, Sep 3, 2009, p. B1.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Report: Chinese Develop Special "Kill Weapon" to Destroy U.S. Aircraft Carriers, U. S. Naval Institute, March 31, 2009.
  22. "China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress."
  23. Pomfret, John. "Military strength is eluding China." Washington Post, 25 December 2010.
  24. Erikson, Andrew S.; Yang, David D. (2009). "On the Verge of a Game-Changer". United States Naval Institute. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  25. Mark Stokes; Dan Blumenthal (2 January 2011). "Can a treaty contain China's missiles?". Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  26. Kazianis, Harry. "China’s Anti-Access Missile". The Diplomat. Retrieved 12/29/2011. 
  27. "Chinese Anti-ship Missile Could Alter U.S. Power", Wendell Minnick, Defense News, p6a, 5 April 2010
  28. CRS RL33153 China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities--Background and Issues for Congress
  29. "China tests DF-21D missile on mock US aircraft carrier in Gobi desert."
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 KT-1 & KT-2 (Kaituozhe)
  31. 31.0 31.1 Kaituozhe 1 (KT-1) -

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