Dongfeng-21 ballistic missile (DF-21, NATO code name: CSS5) is a mobile medium-range ballistic missile developed by the People’s Republic of China. It is the People’s Liberation Army’s first solid-fuel propelled and maneuverable missile, and it is also the world’s first. This anti-ship ballistic missile has the significance of a missile milestone. At present, it belongs to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force.

The Dongfeng 21 is mainly deployed in Liaoning, Jiangxi, Yunnan, Fujian, Qinghai, and other places. It can pose a threat to the enemy’s targets in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia, India, and Central Asia; According to the research, there are about 50 to 100 cases, but the actual number has not been made public. The Dongfeng 21 is the most mature missile model developed by the original “Second Artillery Corps” unit.

The PLA will continue to launch more variants to make up for the lack of missile technology at this stage. Dongfeng-21 C has completed multiple-warhead test firings, and in 2009 also appeared in the military parade in the capital to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.


The research and development of Dongfeng-21 began in 1979. The Julang-1 ballistic missile launched by the submarine was converted to land-based, so the Chinese military is known as the “julang ashore”. The Dongfeng 21 prototype was tested in 1985 and mass production began in 1989. The general range is about 2000 kilometers. Currently, there are 4 variants of Dongfeng 21 A, B, C, D, among which the Dongfeng 21 C missile has a range of approximately Between 1600 and 2000 kilometers, it is mainly used to strike the US military’s deployment bases in East Asia (Japan, South Korea, Guam, Vietnam, and the Philippines) and India; the Dongfeng 21D missile has the same range as the C missile and is an anti-ship ballistic missile.

The Dongfeng-21 A modified version first developed in the 1990s with improved range and accuracy. The Dongfeng 21C is designed to counter the function of the National Missile Defense System and then strives for perfection. It has added precision guidance and active and passive penetration auxiliary devices. It has an aerodynamic wing surface control trajectory when entering the atmosphere, and has a range of more than 3100 kilometers. The degree is below 100 meters. Dongfeng-21 is a ground-mounted ballistic missile, which is a trinity of missile vehicle storage, lifting, and launching. Each group of launch vehicles is also equipped with 5 logistics vehicles for support.


Since 2007, there have been rumors that the Dongfeng 21 was selected by Saudi Arabia as an offensive weapon in the 21st century. However, neither party acknowledged this fact. In January 2014, the US News Weekly magazine reported that Saudi Arabia started purchasing in 2007.

The Dongfeng 21 ballistic missile, and informed the US Central Intelligence Agency of the procurement plan, the US agreed not to overreact, but required Saudi Arabia to guarantee that it would not be used to carry nuclear weapons Since nuclear warheads of various countries cannot be used in common use, China has never sold nuclear warheads to any country since it began exporting the Golden Wheel Project (the first batch of Dongfeng 3 to Saudi Arabia) in 1988. Therefore, if the countries buying China’s large missiles want to use them As a nuclear weapon, one needs to have a nuclear warhead, and the other is to solve the problem of matching the missile and warhead by itself, recalculate the trajectory according to the load, and adjust the guidance equipment.

Regarding the DF21 trade, the CIA and the Saudi military held secret talks and dispatched the assistant to the deputy director of the CIA, the Asian affairs expert “Michael Morrel” and the chief of intelligence “John Collingen” as analysis The division went to Saudi Arabia for verification to verify that these missiles were not capable of carrying nuclear warheads. In fact, China had no intention of proliferating Saudi nuclear technology. The missile’s nuclear weapons launch lines were removed long ago. The CIA actually investigated DF21 itself and spent about $700,000 on this project Funding.

The verification result is that this batch of DF21 may be designed for carrying conventional warheads, which can be heavy load (1 ton) and has a short-range (1700 kilometers) DF21B. However, such missiles may still be modified to carry nuclear warheads. In a press conference in September 2014, the consultant of the Saudi Arabian Joint Military Commission confirmed that the Saudi military has been equipped with Dongfeng 21. The rumored stage in 2007 may be the initial delivery and personnel training agreement, but it has been admitted so far.

It represents that the Saudi side has completed all training, logistics and deployed a considerable amount of initial combat readiness; although the Dongfeng 21 has been purchased, the detailed procurement model and quantity are currently not supported by actual data; and the later model of the Dongfeng 21C uses satellite coordinates Support to reduce the round probability error, whether Saudi Arabia has purchased the necessary satellite reconnaissance and positioning services can not be confirmed, but the Hong Kong Wen Wei Po believes that Saudi Arabia should have also purchased these supporting services[7] and used it on this batch of ballistic missiles. The Beidou satellite positioning system reduces the space for interference by a third country.

The Dongfeng-21D anti-ship ballistic missile (DF-21D, NATO code name: CSS-5 Mod-4) is the anti-ship model of the Dongfeng 21. On August 19, 2010, research conducted by the National Security Agency of the Republic of China concluded that the latest “Dongfeng-21 D” missile in mainland China is actually an anti-ship ballistic missile, which prevents future conflicts in the Taiwan Strait from causing US interference and specifically deals with US aircraft carriers, namely It is widely rumored to be an “aircraft carrier killer.” As of October 2014, the Dongfeng-21 D has deployed two brigades in southeast and northeast China.

In 2013, the Argentine Military Forum “SAORBATS” released a famous satellite photo in the future. The photo shows a white platform about 200 meters long in the Gobi Desert with an unidentified material outline on the periphery. The outline is similar to that of an American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Traces of two huge craters. One of the craters was in the center of the deck and the other was on the right side of the landing runway. The report described the missile test successfully.

There is no official information indicating which missile it is, but Hanhe Defense Review integrated international experts’ opinions that it is the long-rumored Dongfeng-21D. A photo came out in October 2014. The decommissioned 053H-class frigate “Zhenjiang Ship” was destroyed as a target ship, but the damaged bridge was completely crushed and collapsed, and the side hull was also obviously bent and protruded due to the force. From top to bottom, some military experts analyzed that it was the result of anti-ship ballistic missile test firing, and it could hit small frigate-level targets.

At the military parade on the 70th anniversary of the victory of the War of Resistance Against Japan, China made the Dongfeng-21D missile public for the first time and made it clear that it is a land-based ballistic missile that strikes ship targets. [11] In the 1993 Anti-Japanese War parade, the Dongfeng-26 nuclear/common anti-ship ballistic missile with a range of about 5,000 kilometers was also displayed. In the 1960s, the former Soviet Union Khrushchev also planned to build anti-ship ballistic missiles.

Give up due to difficulties in technical conditions. On February 4, 2016, the Chinese media released a video of a group of Rocket Forces stationed in the North carrying out a live ammunition launching mission under the severe cold and low temperature. According to the public picture of China Central Television, the missile launched was suspected to be Dongfeng 21C/D. For the long-range strategic missile, its warhead is a new warhead that “adopts a double cone with an air rudder”.

On August 26, 2020, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post and Bloomberg News reported that: “China launched 4 medium-range ballistic missiles on the 26th, hitting the South China Sea between Hainan Island and Paracel Islands. The missiles were from The’Dongfeng-26′ mid-range ballistic missile launched from Qinghai and the Dongfeng-21D’ medium-range ballistic missile launched from Zhejiang.”

Structural features

Dongfeng-21 uses a two-stage solid-fuel rocket engine and is launched by road maneuvering. It can carry a 600kg thermonuclear warhead with a power of 300,000 tons of TNT equivalent, with a hit accuracy of 300-500 meters. Model evolution Dongfeng-21D missile Code-named DF-21D, it is China’s second-generation medium-range surface-to-surface strategic missile. This type of missile is an improved version of the Dongfeng-21 missile. It uses a two-stage solid-fuel rocket engine and is launched by road maneuvering. The maximum range is 2,700 kilometers. It is also an anti-ship ballistic missile that can attack ships at sea including aircraft carriers. According to overseas media articles,

China’s new Dongfeng-21D missile can strike a moving aircraft carrier and will pose a substantial threat to the US aircraft carrier in the next decade or so. It is also said that the Dongfeng-21D missile can be launched from land and can accurately penetrate the defense network 1,500 kilometers away to attack the most advanced aircraft carrier. In this way, the appearance of the Dongfeng-21D missile can make a dramatic change in China’s role in the balance of power in the Pacific, and it can also prevent American warships from freely entering and leaving China’s coastal waters. In theory, if the missile is upgraded to the nuclear level, the nuclear bomb will sink the aircraft carrier, but the conventionally equipped Dongfeng-21D can also accurately hit a moving aircraft carrier with strong defense capabilities.