DF-21D Medium-range ballistic missile

The original DF-21 ballistic missile is dated back to the 1980s. Its latest variant, the DF-21D was first unveiled in 2012. It evolved from the DF-21C. Externally these missiles and their launchers are very similar. Chinese sources claim that the DF-21D is an anti-ship ballistic missile. Furthermore that it is the first dedicated anti-ship ballistic missile in the world and the DF-21D is intended to engage large surface ships, such as US Navy’s aircraft carriers and their battle groups. It is claimed that this missiles reached initial operational capability in 2012.

The DF-21D is a solid-fuel ballistic missile. It has a range of over 2 000 km. Some sources claim that its maximum range is up to 3 000 km. It can reach targets in the Yellow Sea, Taiwan Straight and South China Sea.

Chinese sources report, that the DF-21D has a conventional warhead. However most likely that this ballistic missile carries a nuclear warhead, or even multiple nuclear warheads. It should be capable of attacking not only ships, but cities and military bases as well.


   It is claimed that this missile has inertial guidance, possibly combined with indigenous BeiDou satellite navigation. It is also claims that during the terminal phase it uses active radar guidance. This missile should be accurate. It is likely that it has a CEP of less than 30 meters.


What Can China’s Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles Really Do?: Here

Mobile launcher of the DF-21D is based on Wanshan WS2600 special wheeled chassis. Vehicle has 10×8 configuration. It is fitted with a central tyre inflation system, that improves mobility over various types of terrain, such as mud, and and snow. Vehicle has some degree of cross-country mobility. However normally it is intended to be used on hard surface roads.

   Recently another new ballistic missile surfaced in China. The DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile is based on a DF-21, but has increased range. It has a range of around 3 000 to 4 000 km. It was first publicly revealed in 2015, however in 2013 this ballistic missile was already in operational

DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile – The DF-26 was first publicly revealed in 2015. It appears to be in operational service for several years. This missile is in service with Second Artillery Corps, that are de facto strategic missile forces of the Chinese army.     The DF-26 is a two-stage solid-fuel missile. Its estimated range is around 3 000 – 4 000 km. Other sources suggest that its maximum range is in excess of 5 000 km. It is believed that the DF-26 can carry payload of 1 200 to 1 800 kg. This missile is fitted with a nuclear warhead.  It is likely that this missile has internal navigation system with indigenous Chinese BeiDou satellite navigation system. It should have an accuracy of less than 100 m. Possibly less than 10 m. (military-today.com)

Source: military-today.com


The Dong Feng 21D, or DF-21D, is a medium ranged, road mobile, ballistic missile developed by the People’s Republic of China. A variant of the DF-21A, the DF-21D was deemed operational in 2012 and is the world’s first anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) intended to attack ships at sea.[i] Reaching speeds up to Mach 10 during the terminal phase, the DF-21D is the fastest MRBM to date and can surpass existing U.S. missile defense systems such as the sea-based AEGIS ballistic missile defense (BMD) system.[ii] In 2013, the DF-21D was tested against targets equivalent to U.S. surface ships which proved to be successful.[iii] By using both inertial and radar guidance systems, the ASBM increases speed upon reentering Earth’s atmosphere to avoid missile defense structures and ensure a direct hit on moving sea-based targets.[iv] A variant of the DF-21D is currently in production with intentions of increasing its range and payload.


China/U.S. Designation DF-21D/CSS-5/ASBM
Missile Variants DF-21A/DF-21B/DF-21C
Mobility and Role Road mobile/Medium Range Ballistic Missile
Designer/Producer People’s Republic of China
Range 2,000km
Warhead Type and Weight Conventional or Nuclear/600kg
MIRV and Yield No MIRV capability/200-300kt
Guidance System/Accuracy Inertial/terminal radar/20m CEP
Stages/Propellant Multistage/Solid
IOC/Retirement 2012/Still in service
Status/Number of Units Operational/80 missiles;80 launchers “est”

Source missiledefenseadvocacy.org

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