Df-15 Missile, DF-25 Missile and DF-31 Missile
The CSS-6/DF-15/M-9 is a single-stage, solid fuel, mobile SRBM originally developed for export, as indicated by the M-designation. Only after China pledged not to export these missiles were they incorporated into the Chinese inventory. The DF-15 has been deployed with the Second Artillery since 1995. It is launched from a truck-pulled trailer with a preparation time of 30 minutes and has a strap-down inertial guidance system with an on-board computer. A miniature propulsion system on the warhead can correct the missile’s terminal velocity, reentry attitude, flight trajectory, and range.
This control significantly improves the DF-15s accuracy and penetration and would likely complicate missile defense radar tracking, computations, and interception. The DF-15 also has a detachable warhead, thus presenting a much smaller target than more primitive SRBMs, such as the Scud missiles produced by North Korea (see Table 8.5). Moreover, GPS technology has probably been employed to further improve its
accuracy. Although the missile has been promoted with a CEP of 300 meters, its actual accuracy is probably much greater, perhaps 50 meters or less.
Armed with a unitary, high explosive warhead, the DF-15 could create a crater as large as 30 to 50 meters in diameter. Although originally designed to deliver conventional explosives, the DF-15 is probably also nuclearcapable. To diversify China’s theater ballistic missile inventory, a conventional version of the CSS-6/DF-15/M-9, with a 1,200 km range, is reportedly under development. This range would permit a faster reentry speed to counter lower-tier missile defense systems and enable the missile to be fired at Taiwan from a missile base in Huaihua, Hunan province.
The DF-25 was conceived as a two-stage, land-mobile, solidfueled missile with a 2,000 kg payload likely intended to deliver a large conventional warhead to a distance of 1,700 km using an inertial guidance
system. The missile was probably intended as a tactical weapon for use in the South China Sea dispute over the Spratly Islands. There were no reports of any test firings of the DF-25 before its cancellation.
The DF-31 is a three-stage, land-mobile, solid-fuel missile. The DF-31 will be China’s next generation ICBM, along with the DF-41. It could reach targets throughout Asia as well as Hawaii, Alaska, and the western continental United States. The missile is presumably intended to replace the liquid fuel DF-4. After considerable delay, the DF-31 was first flight tested in August 1999, reportedly with decoys or penetration aids designed to defeat missile defenses. A second test was reportedly conducted in December 1999, and at least one source states that a third test was conducted on November 4, 2000.
Some reports have suggested that China has developed or is developing multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles (MIRVs) for the DF-31, perhaps with yields as small as 100–200 kilotons each. While its origins are uncertain, the DF-31 likely derived from the DF-23. Begun in 1978, The DF-23 development program set out to build a land-based, road-mobile, solid-fueled missile. Instead, they created the submarine-launched JL-2 (see below). The land-based version of the DF-23 was renamed the DF-31 in January 1985. It is expected to be deployed within the next several years.