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Monday, December 13, 2010

CHINA POWER: Dong Feng Missiles Series

The Dongfeng missile  is a series of intermediate and intercontinental ballistic missiles operated by the People's Republic of China. Typically, the word Dongfeng is shortened to "DF". China's Dongfeng missile is considered by some to be a "game-changer". With an effective range of around 900 miles, this missile was designed to “KILLl" aircraft carriers, but what more could it do if it were based on one? 

Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2010

Series of DongFeng Missiles:
  • ·         Dong Feng 11 (DF-11) / CSS-7
  • ·         Dong Feng 15 (DF-15) / CSS-6
  • ·         Julang 1 (JL-1)
  • ·         Dong Feng 21 (DF-21) / CSS-5
  • ·         Dong Feng 25 (DF-25)
  • ·         Julang 2 (JL-2)
  • ·         Dong Feng 31 (DF-31) / CSS-9
  • ·         Dong Feng 41 (DF-41) / CSS-10
  • ·         Dong Feng 5 (DF-5) / CSS-4 

PLA Ballistic Missiles Range

The Second Artillery Corps is comprised of approximately 120,000 personnel and maintains control of over 300 nuclear warheads. According to the Chinese Central Military Commission (CMC) the Second Artillery Corps is given priority funding over all other People's Liberation Army, PLA units.

The Second Artillery Corps is headquartered in Qinghe, a suburb of Beijing and maintains at least seven missile bases each with one to three missile brigades and regiment-level special departments responsible for chemical defense, communications, training, security and four launch battalions. Each base also has training and nuclear warhead maintenance units and reports directly to the Second Artillery Corps commander. Each missile brigade commands a number of permanent launch sites. For ease of maintenance, each missile brigade is responsible for only one type of missile.


The 80301 Unit.
The headquartered in Shenyang, Liaoning Province. Its complement of DF-3A and DF-21 cover the Korean peninsula and Japan, including Okinawa.

The 80302 Unit.
The headquartered in Huangshan, Anhui Province and is the Second Artillery's most important unit for conducting strikes against Taiwan. The 815th brigade in Leping took part in the March 1996 missile exercises off the coast of Taiwan. During a wartime situation the 815th brigade would disperse to prearranged sites in Fujian Province in to order to be able to strike the entire island of Taiwan. Missiles are usually transported by rail for field deployments.

The 80303 Unit.
The headquartered in Kunming, Yunnan province. Its complement of DF-3A and DF-21 can strike targets in India and Southeast Asia. 

The 80304 Unit.
The headquartered in Luoyang, Henan province. Its DF-5 missiles can strike targets throughout the United States and Europe. 

The 80305 Unit.
The headquartered in Huaihua, Hunan province. Its DF-4 missiles can strike Guam. 

The 80306 Unit.
The headquartered in Xining, Qinghai province. Its DF-4 missiles can strike targets in India and Russia. This unit may also have an experimental unit assigned to it. 



  • Official name: DongFeng 11 (DF-11)
  • Export name: M-11
  • NATO reporting name: CSS-7
  • Contractor: CASIC Sanjiang Space Group (Base 066)
  • Service status: In service
  • Configuration: Single-stage, solid propellant
  • Deployment: Road mobile, 6X6 tractor truck + six-wheel trailer; or silo
  • Length: 7.5m (DF-11); 8.5m (DF-11A)
  • Diameter: 0.8m
  • Launch weight: 4,200kg
  • Warhead: 500kg HE
  • Range: 280~350km (DF-11); >500km (DF-11A)
  • Accuracy: CEP 500~600m (DF-11); <200m (DF-11A)
  • Launch preparation time: 15~30 min

The DongFeng 11 (Export name: M-11; NATO codename: CSS-7) is a road-mobile, single-stage, short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) system developed by CASIC Sanjiang Space Group (also known as Base 066) located in Hubei Province. The missile and its 8-wheeled transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) vehicle bear some resemblance to the Russian SS-1C Scud-B. The DongFeng 11 was developed in the 1980s intended for the export market. An improved variant DongFeng 11A with extended range and greater accuracy was fielded by the PLA ground forces in 1999.

The missile is launched from a 8X8 WS2400 transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) vehicle, to provide full road and cross-country mobility. The vehicle was developed by Wanshan Special Vehicle Manufactory, a Sanjiang subordinate company, in the early 1980s based on the Russian MAZ543 TEL vehicle.

The basic variant DongFeng 11 uses an inertial guidance + terminal radar guidance, giving a circular error probability (CEP) of 500~600m . The improved DongFeng 11A uses inertial/GPS guidance system with optical correlation terminal targeting, resulting in an greater accuracy of below 200m CEP. The missile has four large stabilising fins at the bottom as well as four small fins in the mid-section for corrections at the final phase of the flight.

The DongFeng 11 is a road-mobile, single-stage, solid-propellant, short-range ballistic missile. The basic variant DongFeng 11 has a range of 280~350km and delivers a single-warhead of 500kg. The improved DongFeng 11A has an extended range of over 500~700km. As well as conventional high-explosive (HE) warhead, the missile may also be able to carry unconventional warhead such as fuel-air explosive (FAE), sub-munitions, and chemical agents. It may also be able to carry tactical nuclear warhead of 2~20kT yield.



  • Official name: DongFeng 15 (DF-15)
  • Export name: M-9
  • NATO reporting name: CSS-6
  • Contractor: CASIC 4th Academy
  • Service status: In service
  • Configuration: Single-stage (DF-15) or two-stage (DF-15B, DF-15C), solid propellant
  • Deployment: Road mobile, 6X6 tractor truck + six-wheel trailer; or silo
  • Length: 9.1m (DF-15)
  • Diameter: 1.0m
  • Launch weight: 6,200kg
  • Warhead: 500kg HE
  • Range: 600km (DF-15)
  • Guidance: Inertial + GPS
  • Accuracy: CEP 150~500m; or 30~50m on the later variants
  • Launch preparation time: 15~30 min  

The DongFeng 15 (Export name: M-9 and NATO codename: CSS-6) is a solid-fuel, short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) system developed by CASC China Academy of Rocket Motor Technology ,ARMT, also known as 4th Space Academy. The missile became famous during the 1996 Taiwan Strait crisis when the PLA launched several missiles as a warning to Taiwan’s independent trend. It is the only non-nuclear missile in service with the PLA Second Artillery Corps (strategic missile force). The improved variants DongFeng 15B and DongFeng 15C were spotted in service with the PLA recently.

The DongFeng 15 is a road-mobile, single-stage, solid-propellant, short-range ballistic missile system. The missile carries a 500kg single warhead and has a maximum range of 600km. Compared to China’s first generation liquid-propellant surface-to-surface missiles, the use of more advanced solid-fuel motor has significantly reduced the maintaining and pre-launch preparing time.

The missile is launched from a TAS5450 or WS2400 8X8 transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) vehicle to provide full road and cross-country mobility. In time of crisis the missile system could be quickly mobilised from bases to launch locations by railway. The TEL vehicle then carries the missile to the launch site with pre-calculated coordinate data.

Alternatively the missile can be launched from a unprepared new location by using GPS to obtain coordinate data. To increase the missile’s survivability in the combat, the support units could generate smoke to prevent it from being spotted by the enemy’s air-/space-based reconnaissance and surveillance systems. Mock missiles and TELs may also be deployed nearby as camouflage.

The missile uses the inertial guidance, coupled to a faster on-board computer system to give a high accuracy. The early model has a circular error probable (CEP) of 300~600m, but various improvements on the guidance system has increased the accuracy of the missile to CEP 150~500m. This indicated that the PLA has already possessed the capability of launching a conventional precise-strike in the initial stage of the war to destroy enemy’s command & control centre, air defense missile sites, and airports.

China has also been reportedly seeking to further improve the accuracy of the DongFeng 15 missile by integrating it with the global positioning system (GPS) or a similar indigenously-developed satellite-based navigation and positing system. A terminal radar-guidance system is also under development. With both systems onboard the missile’s accuracy may increase to CEP 35~50m.

MARV Warhead

Dong Feng MARV Warhead is designed to evade Patriot and Standard defense missiles. The DongFeng 15 can carry a single nuclear warhead, though the missile was designed mainly for the use in a conventional war. It has a range of warhead types including high-explosive, high-explosive incendiary, and armor-piercing cluster. Other warhead types under development include mine-laying, electromagnetic shockwave, and low-yield nuclear deep-penetration. With a terminal velocity of over Mach 6, the missile is difficult to intercept with any existing missile defense technology.

At least two improved variants of the DongFeng 15 missile have been identified. The DongFeng 15B is fitted with four small fins at midsection for corrections at the final phase of the flight, while the DongFeng 15C has a cylinder shape second-stage possibly for extended range.




  • Weight: 14,700 kilograms
  • Length: 10.7 meters
  • Diameter: 1.4 meters  
  • Warhead: 1 Nuclear, 200-300 KT
  • Speed: Mach 10
  • Guidance System: Inertial
  • Lunch Platform: Mobile Launcher or Silo
  • Engine: Solid fueled
  • Operational range:       2,150 km (DF-21) 
                                          2,500 km (DF-21A)
                                          3,000 km (DF-21 ASBM)
                                          1,700 km (DF-21C)



DF-21 Development

August 1965 – The Chinese Premier Zhen Enlai ordered to start the development of the solid-propellant rocket technology. A design team was formed within the 4th Space Academy, and a single-stage ballistic missile design DongFeng 61 (DF-61) was proposed.

1967 – The PLA decided to build its first nuclear-powered missile submarine, and demanded a medium-range ballistic missile to be carried onboard. As a result, the PLA decided to abandon the DF-61 design and develop a submarine-based two-stage solid-propellant ballistic missile JL-1.

1970 – The design of the JL-1 airframe was separated from the 4th Space Academy and reassigned to the 1st Space Academy, while the 4th Space Academy concentrated on the development of the solid-propellant rocket technology.

Early 1970s – The PRC made several major breakthroughs in developing the solid-propellant rocket technology.  At the same time, the PLA began to explore the possibility of developing a land-based version of the JL- 1.

1975 – Two parallel development programmes were underway – the submarine-based JL-1 and the land-based DF-21, which share the same airframe and engine design.

1976 – The JL-1/DF-21 programme was reassigned to the 2nd Space Academy, which was previously responsible for the missile defence programme. Huang Wei-Lu was appointed as the chief designer. The 2nd Space Academy was also assigned to the development of the transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) vehicle, missile canister, missile testing and aiming, and other support systems for the DF-21.

May 1985 – The first successful DF-21 flight from Base 25 (Wuzhai).

May 1987 – The Second successful DF-21 flight from Base 25 (Wuzhai).

1987 – The DF-21A development programme was initiated. The missile features a 60% increase in its range.

1988 – The DF-21 MRBM was certified for design finalisation.

1995 – The first successful DF-21A flight test from Base 25 (Wuzhai).

1996 – Initial operational capability of the DF-21A was achieved.

Nuclear warhead is about the size of a human being


DongFeng 21 (CSS-5 Mod-1)

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

DongFeng 21A (CSS-5 Mod-2)


The DF-21A is the extended-range version developed in the 1990s. The PLA demanded a new land-based MRBM as a successor to its DongFeng 3A in 1985, and the contract with the CASIC to develop the DF-21A was signed in 1987. The development programme suffered from major setbacks in 1991, when two flight tests both failed. The PLA allocated additional funds to the programme in 1993 for an improved design. Four successful flight tests were carried out between 1995 and 1996 and the missile was operational by 1996.

The DF-21A has an increased range of 2,700km, and an estimated CEP of 100~300m. The missile is believed to be configured for strategic missions only. The missile is carried inside a canister mounted on a truck-towed trailer for road-mobile. It was estimated that so far around 60~80 DongFeng 21 missiles and 30~40 launcher systems may have been deployed by the PLA Second Artillery Corps in 7 missile brigades:
  • 802 Brigade
  • 807 Brigade
  • 808 Brigade
  • 809 Brigade
  • 811 Brigade
  • 822 Brigade
  • 823 Brigade

 These missiles are generally deployed in areas closer to China’s borders to ensure adequate target overage of areas previously covered by the DF-3 IRBM, which has a longer range, but is less accurate compared to DongFeng 21. There have reports suggesting that some DongFeng 21 MRBMs have been re-fitted with conventional warheads.  

DongFeng 21C (CSS-5 Mod-3)

First revealed in 2006, the DF-21C is a conventionally-armed MRBM system with upgraded mobile launcher and guidance system. The missile was said to have a payload of 2,000kg and a maximum range of 1,700km. Unlike the road-mobile DF-21A, the DF-21C is mounted on a 10X10 WS2500 TEL vehicle, which offers some limited off-road travelling ability. The new GPS-based guidance system has reduced the missile’s CEP to 30~40m, enabling it for precision-strike missions.

DongFeng 21D (CSS-5 Mod-4)

The U.S. Department of Defense has confirmed the existence of the DF-21D land-based ASBM system, which is the world’s first and only of its kind. By combining manoeuvrable re-entry vehicles (MaRVs) with a terminal guidance system, the DF-21C is capable of targeting a slow-moving aircraft carrier battle group from a land-based mobile launcher. The maximum range of the missile was said to be 3,000km, possibly achieved by carrying a smaller payload.

DF-21: Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile

The US Department of Defense has stated that China is developing a high hypersonic land-based anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) based on the DF-21, with a range of up to 3,000 km. This would be the world's first and only ASBM and the world's first weapons system capable of targeting a moving aircraft carrier strike group from long-range, land-based mobile launchers. These would combine manoeuvrable reentry vehicles (MaRVs) with some kind of terminal guidance system. Such a missile may have been tested in 2005-2006, and the launch of the Jianbing-5/YaoGan-1 and Jianbing-6/YaoGan-2 satellites would give the Chinese targeting information from SAR and visual imaging respectively. The upgrades would allow China to employ the missile to launch attacks on US Navy aircraft carriers.


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

DONG FENG 25 (DF-25)


  • Contractor: Academy of Rocket Motors Technology - ARMT
  • Operator: Second Artillery Corps
  • Type:  IRBM
  • Engine: Two-stage solid-propellant rocket
  • Propellant: Solid
  • Guidance: Inertial
  • First Flight: 19
  • IOC: 19
  • Platform: TEL vehicle mobile
  • Operational Range: 3200 km
  • Re-entry Vehicle Mass:  2,000 kg
  • Warhead: A single or multiple (up to 3) nuclear or conventional (non-nuclear)
  • Guidance System: Combined inertial/GPS guidance and terminal guidance
  • CEP: Less Than 10 Meters  
The land-based mobile-launch Dongfeng-25 (DF-25 or East Wind 25) is a a two-stage solid-fuel missile with a range of 1,700 kilometers. While the ranges of DF-25 and DF-21 are approximately the same, the nuclear-tipped DF-21 has a throw-weight of 600kg, compared to the conventionally armed DF-25's 2,000kg. The DF-25 is derived by removing the third stage from the three-stage DF-31 and substituting a modified second stage. Potential missions of the DF-25 include providing rapid fire support over long distances to defend the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea.

In 1996 it was reported that China had abandoned development of the DF-25, even though it had been anticipated to enter service in the 1996 timeframe. This report was apparently correct, since there have subsequently been no indications of the development or deployment of this system. 

A 1993 report suggesting that the DF-25 may have been a joint project with Iran has remained unconfirmed. Again in April 1997 it was reported that Iran was involved with both the Chinese M-18 missile program [known as the Tondar-68 in Iran] and DF-25, which China had abandoned in 1996. 

On 02 July 2001 the PRC-owned Hong Kong Tai Yang Pao claimed that the PLA will deploy medium- and long-range [Dongfeng-3A and Dongfeng-25A] missiles on strategic highways and railroad locomotives.


  • Official name: DongFeng 31A (DF-31A)
  • NATO reporting name: CSS-9 Mod-2
  • Contractor: CASIC 4th Academy
  • Service status: In service
  • Configuration: Three-stage, solid propellant
  • Deployment: Road mobile, 8X8 tractor truck + 8-wheel trailer; or silo
  • Length: 13m
  • Body diameter: 2.25m
  • Launch weight: 42,000kg
  • Range: 10,700~11,200km
  • Re-entry vehicle mass: 700kg (or 1,050~1,750kg)
  • Warhead: One single 1,000kT yield
  • Guidance: Inertial + stellar update
  • Accuracy: 100~300m CEP
  • Launch preparation time: 15~30 min
The DongFeng 31 programme began in 1986, originally intended as a successor to the DF-4 (CSS-3) intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) to cover targets in the European theatre of the Soviet Union. The design task was assigned to the 4th Department (Solid-Propellant Missile Design Department, now part of the CASIC 4th Academy). The solid-propellant rocket motors used on the first- and second-stage of the DongFeng 31 were successfully tested in late 1983. The third-stage rocket motor was tested in mid-1984. The programme entered the engineering development phase in 1987.

The first test launch of the missile using a dummy warhead was conducted on 2 August 1999, from Taiyuan missile test facility (known as Wuzhai Missile Test Centre) in Shanxi Province to the impact zone in Lop Nor in Xinjiang. The test was only partially successful. The DongFeng 31 missile system was briefly displayed during the 1999 National Day military parade, though the missile itself could not be seen as it was concealed in the large canister carrier on a truck-trailer transport-erection-launch (TEL) vehicle. Two further tests were carried out in late 2000, but they were said to be also unsuccessful.

It was estimated that the DongFeng 31A had a payload of about 700kg (other source suggested between 1,050 and 1,750kg), which can be equipped with a single 1,000kT yield nuclear warhead. The maximum range of the missile is 10,700~11,200km. The missile uses an inertial guidance system that is equipped with a stellar update system, and is expected to have an accuracy of at least 300m CEP. Some resource suggested that the silo and TEL-based versions of the DongFeng 31A have 100m and 150m CEP respectively.

The road-mobile DongFeng 31A is carried inside a large canister launcher mounted on a 16-wheeled HY473 or HY4301 TEL consisting of a tractor and a semi-trailer. The TEL vehicle appeared to be only suitable for road travelling, with little, if any, off-road travelling capability. A new single 12- or 16-wheeled TEL similar to those used by the Russian ICBM systems is reportedly in development. There has been speculation that China was also developing a railway-based TEL for the DongFeng 31 but this cannot be confirmed.



  • Number of Weapons: 1
  • NATO Name: CSS-X-10
    Dimensions: Diameter 2 m.
  • Length : 15 m
    Max Weight 30,000 kg
  • Warhead: 800 kg
  • Performance: Max Range 11,200 km
  • Yield: 1,000 kiloton

Dong Feng 41, also known as DF-41 and CSS-10 East Wind, is an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) evolved from the DF-31 featuring an enlarged third stage to achieve an improved range of 12,000 km. It will be armed with a single 1 Megaton yield nuclear warhead but a DF-41 MIRVed (multiple warheads) may be possible as well.

The DF-41 ballistic missile will retain the DF-31 road mobile feature for enhanced survivability. Its extended range will provide China capability to target the whole United States, Europe, Asia and Africa territories.
About 50-100 DF-41s fielded by 2015 seems to be likely. DF-41s will complement DF-31 ballistic missiles in the land-based Chinese nuclear arsenal.
The Chinese are believed to have started the design and development of the Dong Feng-41 (DF-41) in 1986, with the operational requirement to have a solid-propellant, road mobile, ballistic missile with a range of 12,000 km to replace the CSS-4 (DF-5 and DF-5A) liquid-propellant missiles. The development for DF-41 is believed to be managed by the China Aerospace Sciences and Industry Corporation (CASIC), Beijing (it was the First Academy of the Ministry of Aerospace Industries).

The flight test programme is managed by the 2nd Artillery Corps, based at the Wuzhai test centre in Shanxi province. There has been one reported ground test and a simulated cold launch in October 1999, but no test flights to date, although a test was reported to have been in preparation in September 2001. Original reports stated that DF-41 used the first two stages of the DF-31, with a lengthened third stage, but it is now believed that this description referred to the DF-31A, and that the DF-41 is a new design. It is believed that the NATO designator is CSS-X-10. 

Reports in 1996 suggested that DF-41 would have between two and nine MIRV warheads, but it is possible that the initial build missiles will have provision for either a single warhead or up to 10 MIRV. In 2001 both rail-car and cross-country Transporter-Erector-Launcher (TEL) projects were noted for DF-31, and it is presumed that these might also be adapted later for DF-41. These launchers appeared to use a rail-car similar to that used with DF 31.



  • Official name: DongFeng 5 (DF-5)
  • NATO reporting name: CSS-4
  • Contractor: CASC 1st Academy
  • Service status: In service
  • Deployment: Silo or launch pad
  • Length: 33m
  • Body diameter: 3.4m
  • Launch weight: 183,000kg
  • Range: 12,000 (DF-5), >13,000km (DF-5A)
  • Re-entry vehicle mass: ~3,000kg
  • Warhead: One single 3,000kT
  • Guidance: Inertial + stellar update
  • Accuracy: ~1,000m CEP
  • Launch preparation time: 3~5 hours (launch pad), or 1~2 hours (in silo)


With the intermediate-range DongFeng 3 (CSS-2) and long-range DongFeng 4 (CSS-3) development both underway, in 1965 the Chinese leaders decided to develop its first true ICBM capable of reaching North America. Technical and operational requirements for the DongFeng 5 ICBM was issued in March 1965. Two U.S.-trained rocket scientists, Tu Shou’e (deputy chief of the 1st Space Academy) and Ren Xinmin, were appointed to lead the development of the missile and its associated liquid-propellant rocket motor respectively. The programme aimed to have the missile ready for first flight test in 1971 and the design finalised in 1973.

Despite the experience learned in the DF-3 and DongFeng 4 development, the DongFeng 5 ICBM still proved highly challenging for the PRC. The missile served as the proving ground for a number of missile technologies, including the liquid-propellant rocket motor, inertial navigation guidance package, missile flight control, onboard computer, propellant pumping, warhead heat shield, etc.

The DongFeng 5 adopts a two-stage design. The first-stage consists of four parallel 75t-thrust YF-20 chambers motors with swinging nozzles. The second-stage utilises a 75t-thrust YF-22 motor with a fixed nozzle, and a swivelling venire motor with four 4.8t-thrust chambers, which was designed for steering and sustaining propulsion for a further 190 seconds after the shutting of the main motor, and enabling a wide aiming arc for the re-entry vehicles in the upper atmosphere. Both stages burn the UDMH/N2O4 storable liquid propellant. The propellant tank of the missile was made of high-strength, lightweight aluminium-cooper alloy, and the warhead was fitted with a heat shield made of carbon/quartz materials.

The missile uses an inertial guidance with onboard computer. The CEP of the missile was reported to be 1,000m. The missile has a maximum payload of 3,200kg, and can deliver a single 3MT thermal nuclear warhead. The DongFeng 5 has the ability to carry one or more decoys along with the warhead. An U.S. report in 1999 suggested that the DongFeng 5A may be fitted with 4~6 lightweight independently-targeted re-entry vehicle (MIRV) warheads from the DF-31/JL-2 programme, but it is generally believed that neither DongFeng 5 nor DongFeng 5A possess MIRV capability.

Most of the DongFeng 5 flight tests were carried out from fixed launch pads in Base 20 (Shuang Cheng Tzu) and underground silos in Base 25 (Wuzhai). Early variants of the DongFeng 5 required about 5 hours for pre-launch preparation operation, but this may have been reduced to 1~2 hours using computerised launch control system.

DongFeng 5s in operational service have two methods of launch: fixed and mobile. Most of the missiles are deployed in underground silos and maintained in a ready-to-fire status. The rest are stored in a horizontal position in tunnels under high mountains, and are launched immediately outside the mouth of the tunnel. The later was aimed to improve the survivability of the missile during a pre-emptive nuclear strike.

In order to enhance the survivability of these missiles, the PLA has constructed a large number of decoy silos which consist of shallow holes excavations with headworks that resemble operational silos. Sophisticated engineering and the introduction of the computerised launch control systems have greatly decreased the launch preparation time of these missiles. 

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