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
Production history
Manufacturer possibly the 4th Academy?
Unit cost  ?
Weight 14,700 kilograms (32,000 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
Wingspan  ?
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]
Flight altitude  ?
Speed Mach 10[1]
Inertial + terminal radar guidance [4]
Mobile launcher or silo

The Dong-Feng 21 (DF-21; NATO reporting name CSS-5 - Dong-Feng (simplified Chinese: 东风; traditional Chinese: 東風; pinyin: Dōngfēng; literally "East Wind")) is a two-stage, solid-propellant, single-warhead medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) 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 estimates that China has 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 300kt, 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 500kT nuclear warhead, with an estimated CEP of 300~400m. 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 90kt, 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 accuracy of DF-21C is comparable to a cruise missile. 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.

The US Department of Defense has stated that China has developed and reached initial operating capability [10] of a conventionally-armed[11] high hypersonic[1] land-based anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) 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.[12][13] [14] 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.[15] A professor at the U.S. Naval War College says that carrier-killing missiles underscore that the U.S. can no longer assume naval supremacy as it has since the end of World War II.[16]

China has recently launched a series of satellites to support its ASBM efforts:[citation needed]

KT ABM/ASAT[citation needed]

DF-21D on the highway

KT series anti-ballistic / anti satellite missiles is reportedly a series of highly classified and thus little known missiles based on DF-21. Designed to intercept ballistic missiles and satellites, 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.
  • KT-1A: upgraded KT-1
  • KT-409: upgraded solid-fuelled variant
  • SC-19: KT-1 variant
  • KT-2: designed to engage low earth orbit (LEO) targets at altitude up to 600 km.
  • KT-2A: designed to engage polar orbital targets.
  • KT-III: designed to engage targets at altitude 1000 km or higher.

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

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b https://www.usni.org/forthemedia/ChineseKillWeapon.asp
  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". SinoDefence.com. 3 October 2009. http://www.sinodefence.com/strategic/missile/df21c.asp. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  4. ^ http://www.sinodefence.com/strategic/missile/df21.asp
  5. ^ http://www.strategycenter.net/research/pubID.165/pub_detail.asp
  6. ^ "Nuclear Warhead Modernization". Nti.org. http://www.nti.org/db/China/wwhmdat.htm. 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). http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/pdfs/China_Military_Report_08.pdf. 
  8. ^ a b c url=http://sinodefence.com/strategic/missile/df21.asp
  9. ^ DF-21C Missile Deploys to Central China
  10. ^ Defensetech.org: China’s Carrier Killer Ballistic Missiles are Operational
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2008, p. 2 (p12 of PDF)
  13. ^ "How China could scupper US naval power". SCMP. 10. http://www.scmp.com/portal/site/SCMP/menuitem.2af62ecb329d3d7733492d9253a0a0a0/?vgnextoid=c5e8d58715cbe110VgnVCM100000360a0a0aRCRD&ss=China&s=News. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  14. ^ "U.S. commander says China aims to be a 'global military' power". Asahi Shinbum. 28. http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201012270241.htmls. Retrieved 2011-01-05. 
  15. ^ Gertz, Bill, "Inside the Ring: China's anti-carrier missiles", Washington Times, Sep 3, 2009, p. B1.
  16. ^ "Pacific power may shift with Chinese missile". Ed Talmadge, Associated Press. 2010-08-06. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/aug/6/pacific-power-may-shift-with-chinese-missile/. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  17. ^ "Chinese Anti-ship Missile Could Alter U.S. Power", Wendell Minnick, Defense News, p6a, 5 April 2010

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