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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

China - Missile Attack Warning


640-4 LPAR
Project 7010
1977Early 1990s
KorlaXinjiang Uyghur

S-band LPARoctagonal41°38'28"N

S-band LPARsquare ° ' "N ° ' "E

X-band LPARoctagonal46°31'41"N130°45'18"E ? active
Lin'an Zhejiang

X-band LPAR octagonal30°17'11"N 119°07'44"E ?active
Yiyuan, Zibo

P-band LPAR round36°01'23"N 118°05'35"E2015active


China first proposed "improving strategic early warning capabilities" in the 2015 national defense white paper, and the need to improve early warning capabilities and rapid response capabilities must be supported by early warning satellites.

Russia is helping China build a Missile-Attack Warning System [dao dàn gong ji yù jing xì tong]. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the system will drastically increase China's defense capabilities, adding this technology is only owned only by U.S. and Russia. Putin said on 03 October 2019 that his country is helping China to build a missile attack warning system, a technology only owned at the moment by the Russian and United States governments.

"I don’t think this is a huge secret, but it will become clear now. [or "This big secret, if I don’t disclose it, will be made public one day."] We’re helping our Chinese partners to create a missile-attack warning system,” Putin told the high-profile guests at the 16th meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club at the Black Sea resort of Sochi. The Russian president said anti-missle systems were a "serious matter" and that this technology will drastically increase China's defense capabilities.

This is not the first time the Russian side has stated its intention to help China build a missile warning system. At the end of May 2019, Lieutenant General Yevgeny Buzensky / Evgeny Buzhinsky, president of the Russian Policy Research Center (PIR Center) and Vice Chairman of the Russian International Affairs Council [RIAC], indicated that Russia is willing to assist China in building a missile attack warning system. Brensky said that China and Russia have established a very solid legal basis for military cooperation. "The current military cooperation is based on the 2017-2020 road map. The two defense ministries are preparing to sign a new cooperation agreement on development in the military field."

The Russian also revealed that Russia and China were discussing the issue of cooperation in the field of anti-missile defense. "Russia proposes to sign a corresponding agreement to help China build a missile attack early warning system." Brensky said that only the United States and Russia have such a complete system, including three echelons of space, ground and air. China has not yet built such a system. In general, complete missile early warning systems include space-based early warning satellites, land-based early warning radars, and anti-missile tracking-guided radars.

Victor Baranets, a senior military observer of the Russian Communist Youth League Pravda, asked the Russian military for details, but everyone was tight-lipped: " This is strategic intelligence, and it will be sentenced even if it is leaked. Not to mention, we and The Chinese have already made an appointment - only when both parties have permission, can the specific situation be revealed."

However, some experts in the Russian anti-military field gave some rationalization proposals. For example, some experts said that Russia can provide China with a new "Voronezh" type early warning radar. This type of radar is "early and bright", with a horizontal detection distance of up to 6,000 kilometers and a vertical detection distance of 8,000 kilometers. Its latest variant, Voronezh DM, can even track 500 targets simultaneously.

The "Voronezh" early warning radar was developed by the Russian Institute of Radio Technology of Mints. According to the staff of the institute, the radar's technical and tactical parameters are not only significantly better than similar foreign products, but also have very low energy consumption (one-tenth of the same type), and the price is several times cheaper. The expert also said, " If China is equipped with such a radar system, then the (enemy) missile attack will never be caught off guard. After the intruder missile takes off a few seconds, the warning signal can be sent to the Chinese Defense Ministry command center."

In late 2017, open-source publications in China disclosed new details of two Large Phased Array Radars [LPARs]. The People's Liberation Army (PLA) JL-1A is a long-range, surveillance radar developed by China capable of the precision tracking multiple incoming threats. The JL-1A is said to feature high precision to support future anti-missile systems to be deployed by China in the 2020s such as the HQ-19 missile defense system.

The fact of the existence of some such radars had been previously reported, but in no great detail. The Joint Air Power Competence Centre in Germany reported in September 2014 that "indigenous radars, the JL-1A and the JY-27A, provide the basis for a considerable Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) capability, supported by the development of an intercept cap­ability". The authoritative "ANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2017" dated May 2017 noted in passing that "new indigenous radars, the JL-1A and JY-27A, are designed to address the ballistic missile threat; the JL-1A is advertised as capable of the precision tracking of multiple ballistic missiles."

The notation that the JL-1A is capable of "precision" tracking suggests that it is an X-band radar. But the JY-27A Skywatch-V, seen at the November 2014 Zhuhai air show, is a large-scale VHF AESA comparable to Russia’s RLM-M air defense radar, used to detect and track stealth aircraft. Developed by East China Research Institute of Electronic Engineering (Ecriee), part of the China Electronics Technology Corp. (CTEC), one observer described it as "a world-leading state-of-the-art meter wave band 3D long range air surveillance radar capable of detecting stealth aircraft..." So the designation of the missile-tracking UHF/P-band target acquisition radar companion to the JL-1A remains obscure.

The disclosure of Chinese missile defense radars raises a number of interesting points:

  1. The fact that China has actually deployed the two types of radars needed for an anti-missile system places their ABM interceptor tests in a completely new light. In the absence of the radars, the interceptor tests might have been interpreted a isolated technology demonstrations, intended to avoid technological surprise. The deployed radars make it clear that the interceptors are intended as an operations system intended to enter service in the near term of a few years.
  2. Another piece of the puzzle that falls into place is the super-secretive Communications Engineering Test Satellite -1 (TXJSSY-1) launched by China from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on 12 September 2015. Some observers believed it was an experimental early warning satellite program, and this belief seems now to be confirmed.
  3. These radars vastly expand China's anti-satellite capabilities. Previously deployed radars allowed for little more than a restricted kill box over central Asia, and provided little in the way of general satellite tracking from which targets might be extracted. These new radars will provide China with an excellent capability to track all spacecraft in low earth orbit [aka, American spy satellites], as well as the potential to extract stealth spy satellites from the space debris cloud.
  4. There seems to have been an intelligence failure of some sort. Even for DoD to link the JL-1A and JY-27A designators to kindred systems is an obvious mistake - the ABM system is a ten story building, the air defense radar is mounted on a truck trailer. The amazingly terse description of these radars suggests that either DOD did not understand the great significance of their deployment, or was disinclined to communicate this knowledge to the public. But the deployment of not one, but two LPARs, after decades of having no early warning radars, is a major development of the first order than cannot be extracted from DoD's 2017 report.
  5. Not surprisingly, it must now be clear that Chinese proposals for space arms control were intended to limit American space weapons development, while placing no limits on the Chinese system that has so recently come into focus.
  6. The amazing Chinese hypocrisy in whining about the American deployment of the much smaller THAAD missile defense radar in South Korea, while China deployed this pair of much larger radars that cover all of East Asia, is pretty breathtaking. This is a clear demonstration of the Chinese double standard in international relations, in which the Middle Kingdom plays by one set of rules with Chinese characteristics, and all other outer barbarians by a more restrictive set of rules.

This first pair of Chinese anti-missile radars will probably be followed by a second pair providing coverage of China, and possibly a third pair covering Russia. While there are published ground truth photographs of these radars, their precise locations is uncertain, though eventually overhead imagery will be forthcoming through commercial sources.


The missile attack warning system combines ground-based radars and satellites in Earth’s orbit, which detect the launch of ballistic missiles and calculate their trajectory. The data is then transmitted to a command center where a decision on how to repel the attack and respond to it can be made. Putin also expressed that containing the Asian giant is “impossible by definition,” referring to Washington’s trade war against Beijing, American patrol missions in the South China Sea and other similar actions by the White House. Those making such “deconstructive and damaging” attempts will only be “harming and delivering damage to themselves,” Putin warned.

The missile attack warning system can detect submarine-launched ballistic missiles and intercontinental ballistic missiles that the enemy shoots at us. The political and military leadership issued counter-attacks and evacuation orders accordingly. In this way, under the conditions of nuclear war, nuclear counterattacks can be guaranteed and the national management system can be maintained. When the attacking side intercontinental ballistic missile is launched from the silo and the missile is still in the air, we have the opportunity to implement the counterattack theory.

The missile attack warning system consists of a ground echelon and a space echelon. The former includes huge observable space airspace and radar station systems thousands of kilometers above the atmosphere. The latter includes a series of satellites equipped with sensitive infrared sensors that record the working missile engine and identify the missiles that have been launched.

There are only such systems in the United States and the Soviet Union. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has made great efforts to maintain and develop long-range radar warning and missile attack warning systems. At present, the missile attack early warning radar system can observe missiles flying to Russia in all directions. The production of the new "Voronezh" radar station has been smooth. The system is simple to install, reliable, inexpensive, and energy intensive. In addition, the new generation of missile attack warning system space echelon has also been completed.

In the 1970s and 1980s, China tried to build a missile attack warning system under the framework of the 640 project, but it was not successful. At that time, China built two sets of missile attack warning systems, which were in operation during the 1980s. They can observe ballistic missiles and space missiles flying in the distance, but they are expensive to operate and the results are not satisfactory. The two systems were later closed and abandoned. The construction of these systems has greatly promoted China's technological development in the corresponding fields.

Since the 2010s, China has once again attempted to establish a missile attack warning system, including a remote ground-based radar station network. However, the characteristics of these base stations are far behind those of Russia and the United States, and they cannot meet the requirements of the PLA command. In addition, the construction of the space echelon warning system was also carried out.

China and Russia have had some cooperation in the field of anti-missile war zones. China has purchased a high-rise missile complex (including the S-400) with corresponding performance from Russia . Beginning in 2016, the two countries conducted a joint exercise on theater air defense and anti-missile by computer simulation.

Given the sensitivity of the corresponding technologies, the state rarely cooperates in this area. The United States deployed missile attack warning systems in other countries and provided data to France and the United Kingdom. Russia has provided assistance to China in building its own missile attack warning system, indicating that the degree of cooperation is unprecedented and that the facts of the alliance are proved, regardless of the content of the political statement.

On a more important issue, the Sino-Russian missile attack warning system may be integrated. Given the huge volume of the two countries, access to the ground-based data of the other's early warning system will have a huge effect. For example, China can obtain information on Russia's coverage of the northern direction, and sometimes the base stations in the Arctic Circle. The Chinese leadership can win time and be prepared sooner. On the other hand, the Russian side obtained the base station data in the construction of southern and southwestern China, which can greatly provide the security of Russia's possible launch of missiles against nuclear submarines in the Indian Ocean and Pacific waters.

Perhaps a more complete version of the global anti-missile system similar to the United States and its allies will be built. The US system links information from radar stations distributed across countries. The effect of the integration of the Chinese and Russian anti-missile system space echelons will also be enormous. But at present, we can only make assumptions about the specific ways in which China and Russia cooperate in these areas.

Cooperation in the field of missile attack early warning systems reveals the theoretical possibility of the construction and cooperation of strategic anti-missile systems. Russia has been running these systems for a long time and will build new systems. At the same time, China is also building its own strategic anti-missile system.

Ballistic missile early warning systems usually consist of an early warning satellite surveillance system and a ground radar system. The ground radar system is further divided into an intercontinental missile early warning radar network and a submarine missile early warning radar network. According to the physical phenomena of the incoming missiles at different flight stages, different detection methods can be used for monitoring. Operating wavelengths range from visible light to infrared to microwave bands.

  1. Early warning satellite surveillance system: mainly used to determine the launch position of the incoming missile, record the launch time and roughly measure the missile's velocity vector and ballistic surface. This system consists of multiple simultaneous satellites. The satellite is equipped with visible and infrared scanning detectors to detect engine flames and nuclear explosions during the active flight of the missile. Long-wave infrared technology can also be used to detect launch vehicles and warheads that have just been extinguished. This system found that the target was early, not limited by the curvature of the ground, but the false alarm rate was high. In order to improve measurement accuracy and reduce false alarm rate, low-orbit early warning satellites are being developed.
  2. Intercontinental Missile Early Warning Radar: A radar network consisting of multiple ground-based radars that covers all the horizons in which the missile may strike. It can provide 15 to 25 minutes of warning time for dealing with incoming intercontinental missiles. Radar networks usually use early warning radars and target interception and identification radars, with a range of 2,500 to 5,000 kilometers.
  3. Submarine missile early warning radar network: It is also composed of multiple ground radars. The radar network covers the positions that the submarine can launch outside the coastline . The search airspace in the azimuth is very wide. Usually, the multi- layer solid-state phased array system is used. Phased array radars can provide an early warning time of 2.5 to 20 minutes against incoming submarine missiles. The launching range of submarine-launched missiles is often changed, and the direction of the incoming missiles is uncertain. Therefore, a special early warning system for airborne or satellite loading can also be used.

After the incoming missile takes off and passes through the dense atmosphere, the infrared detector of the early warning satellite first discovers the target. After 60 to 90 seconds of detection and monitoring, the coordinates of the emission position or the water surface can be accurately determined. The exhaust plume will cause ionospheric disturbances as the missile passes through the ionosphere, and the satellite surveillance system detects this physical phenomenon to further verify the target.

After the missile enters the horizon of the ground radar warning network, the early warning radar measures the number of incoming targets and instantaneous motion parameters, calculates the return of the warhead to the atmosphere and landing time, and estimates the target attributes. According to the ephemeris and decay cycle, the early warning system continuously excludes the possibility of satellites, re-entry satellites, meteorites and aurora, to reduce the false alarm rate and reduce the target quantity of the early warning system.

Target interception and identification radar intercepts the target and tracks and discriminates it. It uses the characteristic signals such as amplitude, phase, spectrum and polarization in the radar echo to roughly identify the physical and surface physical parameters of the target, and estimate the possible military caused by the incoming target. Threat. All the intelligence data about the target is quickly transmitted to the space defense center and the anti-missile interception system through the communication network for decision by the defense command authority.

In the future ballistic missile early warning system, at least three layers of early warning are required to implement multi-layer interception defense.

The first layer: the infrared detector system on the ballistic missile early warning satellite of geosynchronous orbit with a height of 36,000 kilometers, can detect the strong infrared radiation of the ballistic missile in a few seconds, and transmit the missile launching situation and missile tracking data to Ballistic missile early warning ground command and control center, missile interception system and second layer early warning sensing system.

Second layer: Optical and infrared detectors placed in the middle orbit at a height of 8000 to 24,000 kilometers are used to track the target. The detector accurately tracks the target of the full trajectory. Monitor the attack process of the warhead's mother compartment and the penetration device. Accurately determine the attitude, characteristics and attack points of ballistic missiles, and have the ability to identify ballistic missiles and bait.

The third layer: airborne optical detectors and airborne radars arranged in low orbits with a height of 150 to 2000 kilometers, combined with ground-based over-the-horizon warning radars and other land-based and sea-based detection methods for the final trajectory Missile identification and detection.

The ballistic missile early warning system will adopt a new early warning mechanism and early warning device to realize global surveillance and layer-by-layer alternate detection and tracking. It can not only identify the true and false warheads through the analysis of the target spectrum, but also use the laser and particle beam to “see”. At the same time as the mouth of the warhead; at the same time, the radar imaging technology can visually display the changes and accurate measures of the missile's attitude and trajectory, thereby greatly improving the accuracy and accuracy of detecting and identifying ballistic missiles.

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Page last modified: 24-02-2020 18:31:29 ZULU