Military Wiki
Hongniao (HN)
Type Land attack cruise missiles
Place of origin China
Service history
In service late 1999 to present
Used by China
Production history
Manufacturer New New Electrical Factory (新新电机厂) in Shanghai
Produced late 1990s
Weight 1.6 – 2.5 ton

Warhead conventional or nuclear warheads
Proximity / Semi-armor piercing

Engine turbofan
Propellant liquid fuel
600 to 3,000+ km [1][2][3][4]
Flight altitude 40 to 100 meter above sea and ground
Speed ≈ Mach 0.7 – 0.9
TERCOM / Inertial / TV / ImIR
Xian H-6, Xian JH-7, ships, submarines, & ground launchers

HN (reported short for Hong Niao, or Hongniao, 红鸟 meaing Red Bird) missiles are a series of turbofan powered Chinese land attack cruise missiles, based on the X-600.


Although China was satisfied with the performance of its own Changfeng series land attack cruise missile, the inherit problem of this turbojet powered Changfeng missile meant that the size and weight of the missile were too large to be carried by aerial platforms in Chinese inventory and the range of the missile was also not long enough. A turbofan powered version was needed, but due to the limitation of the Chinese R&D and industrial capability at the time, this could not be achieved immediately. As a result, China decided to take a two-step approach, first to have the turbojet powered Changfeng missile to meet the immediate need, and then the turbofan powered version like BGM-109 Tomahawk would be developed for deployment on the aerial platforms while China is building up its industrial capability.

The breakup of former-USSR provided a great boost for the Chinese effort in developing its own turbofan powered cruise missiles. According to US intelligence, by the end of 1992, China had successfully recruited more than fifteen hundred former Soviet missile scientists to work in China, and around twenty percent, roughly totaling around three hundred, were assigned to work in Shanghai to specifically aid the Chinese cruise missile development. Although many Chinese sources agreed with the US intelligence, they disagree on the contributions of Russian/Soviet scientists: instead of helping China to develop a particular kind missile, Russian/Soviet expertise was first utilized on a much broader strategic scale in helping China to build the necessary industrial capability needed to indigenously develop its own missiles in the future. These Chinese claims have been correlated by the facts that despite a complete set of Raduga Kh-55 production facility is transferred to China from Russia in 1995, and the Russian public announcement of helping China in developing cruise missiles at 1996 Paris Airshow, the first Chinese turbofan powered land attack cruise missile did not enter service until somewhere in the late 1990s and early 2000s, well after the turbojet powered CF series land attack cruise missiles had already entered Chinese service.

In addition to the transfer of a complete Kh-55 production facility from Russia to China around 1995, China received another great boost in its land attack cruise missile development in that between 1999 to 2001, half-a-dozen Kh-55 missiles were delivered to China from Ukraine (a dozen were transferred to Iran from Ukraine at the same time), and these supposedly to be destroyed samples under US-funded disarmament program have provided valuable experience for China in its effort in developing its own versions, including both the HN series and DH-10. HN series land cruise attack missile is developed by New New Electrical Factory (新新电机厂) in Shanghai, one of the three Chinese land attack cruise missile developers (the other two being Sanjiang Space Estate (三江航天集团), the developer of Changfeng missile, and the 3rd Design Academy of the Aerospace Ministry in Beijing, later reorganized as CHEMTA, short for China Sea Eagle Electromechanical Technology Academy, 中国海鹰机电技术研究院).


HN-1 is reportedly the Chinese development of the Chinese X-600 missile. Some sources believe it was based on the Kh-SD. The biggest difference between HN-1 and its rumored origin Kh-SD missile is that a turbofan engine is adapted for HN-1, replacing the turbojet engine of Kh-SD. In 1988, China built an improved missile based on the X-600, called the HN-1.[2] The top priority of HN-1 development is to have a land attack cruise missile compact enough to be carried by Xian H-6, which is successfully achieved, but the claims of HN-1 being able to be carried by Xian JH-7 has yet to be verified. It is reported that HN-1 is consisted of two versions, the air-launched HN-1A and ground-launched HN-1B. Test flight of HN-1 was successfully completed in June 1999, and the missile is believed to have entered Chinese service in the same year.


HN-2 is reportedly the development of the Chinese HN-1. It incorporates an improved turbofan engine. It was tested in 1995. It carries a 20-90 kiloton warhead and a 400 kg warhead.[2] Another improvement of HN-2 is that a high altitude approach mode is added. The maximum range is about 1,800 km.[2][4] HN-2 reported entered Chinese service in 2001.


HN-3 is the enlarged version of the Chinese HN-2, and many Chinese sources have claimed that by this time, Chinese capability was matured enough to develop this project on its own. HN-3 actually increased in size and weight in comparison to earlier HN-1 and HN-2 missiles, and some sources have claimed that it is even larger than the Kh-65. The range of HN-3 is subject to debate, claims vary on the range, from greater than a thousand kilometers to nearly three thousand kilometers. However, DH-10, another Chinese land attack cruise missile with range between two thousand to three thousand kilometers based on Kh-55[citation needed], the estimation of the range of HN-3 between one thousand and two thousand kilometers is more probable[citation needed]. Although some sources outside China estimates the range of HN-3 is somewhere between fourteen hundred and eighteen hundred kilometers, most Chinese sources claim the range of HN-3 is around twelve hundred kilometers. The most common beliefs are that the HN-3 has a range of about 3,000 km[unreliable source?].[3][4] HN-3 reportedly entered Chinese service in 2002, and a ground-launched version is also reportedly developed.


A stealthy, supersonic cruise/anti-ship missile has been reported under development. It is reported to be equipped with a millimeter wave radar, infrared image mapping, synthetic aperture radar (SAR), and Beidou satellite guidance. It has an accuracy of up to 1–3 meters and a range of 4000 km. However such a weapon is still said to be under development, with little information on them currently available.[5][6]






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