Overview of China's Ballistic Missiles
“China has developed and deployed short- to long-range ballistic missiles. Conventional-armed short-range ballistic missiles make up the greatest portion of China’s missile force. As of October 2011, Beijing had deployed approximately 1,000 to 1,200 of those systems opposite Taiwan. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, China continues to field new and more advanced systems with improved range and destructive capability.”
“Meanwhile, China appears generally content with an effective minimal force of nuclear-armed ICBMs to deter a first strike. Of its estimated 110 deployed nuclear-armed missiles, approximately 35 are believed to have the capability of striking the continental United States. China is in the process of replacing the older liquid-fueled DF-5A with the solid-fueled DF-31A ICBM. Of the 35 ICBM's capable of reaching the U.S., about 15 could be DF-31As, with an estimated range of over 11,200 km.
-China maintains an estimated 60 warheads for use in submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM), or in bombers.
- China currently has one ballistic missile submarine, armed with 12 JL-1 SLBM's.
- U.S. officials, however, have doubted the operational status of this submarine.
- China is pursuing a new SLBM, the JL-2, to equip a new class of submarines, the Jin-class (Type 094).
- China has two of these submarines in service according to the U.S. Department of Defense, and a third being built, which would give them the potential to launch 36 JL-2 SLBM's in the future.
-The JL-2 missile, however, is still in flight-testing, and likely will not be operational for two years.
China has been actively developing cruise missiles with foreign assistance, primarily from Russia. It already possesses nearly a dozen varieties of anti-ship missiles, such as the Russian-made SS-N-22, and is pursuing land-attack cruise missiles. According to the Department of Defense, China now has the capability to domestically produce highly accurate land-attack and anti-ship cruise missiles.