Along with space and cyber, the missile forces of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) People’s Liberation Army have seen the greatest increase in importance, and funding, over the last two decades. This progress was further emphasized when, as part of the 2015 reforms, the Second Artillery was upgraded to a full service, along
with all of the bureaucratic heft that comes with that status, and was renamed the People’s Liberation Army’s Rocket Force, the PLARF.
While the PLA has placed a strong emphasis on its missile forces since they entered the nuclear weapons club, it was only within the last few decades that the missile forces began to come to the forefront in PLA strategic thinking. While research and development started to gain traction, as detailed in this report, it was not until the
advent of the Dongfeng (East Wind) -21D, often dubbed the “Carrier Killer” in the press, in the early 2000s that the West began to realize the renewed attention that ballistic missiles were enjoying in the PLA. China continues to have the most active and diverse ballistic missile development program in the world and has drawn specific
attention in the Department of Defense’s 2020 China Military Power Report.
Drawing on Chinese-language sources, this report is the next in the series of studies by the China Aerospace Studies Institute that seeks to lay the foundation for better understanding the Aerospace Sector of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). This report describes China’s ballistic missile capabilities and development. It reviews
the history of the PRC’s research and development of ballistic missiles and traces the institutions that are key to these systems. It details the components and systems that are integral to these weapons and describes the companies, research academies, and production facilities, that form the core of the industry in the PRC.
We hope you find this volume useful and look forward to bringing you further details on the foundations of Chinese aerospace in this series.
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