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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

DF-15 [CSS-6 / M-9]

The tactical missile complex DF-15 (Dong Feng-15) is designed for missile strikes on particularly important with small-and area targets enemy: fire weapons, aircraft and helicopters at airfields, command posts and communications nodes, critical civilian infrastructure. The DF-15 (CSS-6), better known by the export name M-9, is a sophisticated solid-fueled, single-stage mobile missile, similar in appearance to the US Pershing I-A system. The M-series missiles all use solid fuel, and operational preparation time is short. The DF-15 is expected to be equipped with a variety of warhead types and to become the mainstay of China's sub-strategic missile force.

The vertically-launched 9.1 meter long missile has a range of 200-600 kms, carrying a payload of 500 kgs, with a CEP of about 280 meters. The missile uses a strapdown inertial guidance system on the warhead section which guides the trajectory using small thrusters. The missile body is designed to trail behind the separated warhead and provide camouflage for the warhead (which is only one-tenth of the size of the missile body). The DF-15 utilizes a Chinese-developed eight-wheel cross-country Transporter Erector Launcher [TEL] with both launch and transport capacities. These highly-mobile cross- country trucks have the capacity to launch the missiles. It is coordinated with advanced digital C3I computer system using digital computer-controlled technology and self-test functions to provide an operational preparation time of less than 30 minutes.

Launcher (PU) complex DF-15 is a wheeled chassis terrain TAS5450 or WS2400 and is intended for transportation of missiles of prelaunch, aiming and firing. PU-made chassis TAS5450 (8x8, 25t load capacity) has an opening roof missile compartment. In variant based on WS2400 (8x8, load capacity 22t) no roof to protect the rocket from precipitation, dust and dirt are special cases PU provides automatic detection of their coordinates using GPS and communicating with all levels of government. Surveying and engineering training starting positions during the rockets is not required. Located on the chassis: arrow mechanisms lifting and securing the rocket, drives the opening and closing of the roof, the launch pad with the mechanisms of induction and gas deflector.

In a combat situation installation rests on four jacks, which are driven by a hydraulic system. The first pair is located between the first and second axes, and the second - for the fourth axis of the chassis. Before starting rocket installed in a vertical position with the arrows and left to stand in an upright position on the launch pad before the launch. Prelaunch time - 30min. Verify that the processes and service systems and rocket launcher automated. The complex can be transported by rail without further disassembly.

DF-15 (export name: M-9, NATO classification: CSS-6) was developed by the Chinese Academy of Technology rocket engines (Academy of Rocket Motor Technology - ARMT, also known as the Fourth Aerospace Academy). Development of the complex began in 1985. The first test launch took place in June 1987. First set was introduced in 1988. defense systems at an exhibition in Beijing. Presumably DF-15 was adopted by the Second Artillery Corps People's Liberation Army (PLA) in 1989.

The complex gained notoriety during a series of tests carried out in the PLA as a show of force in 1995-96 in the waters of the Taiwan Strait. DF-15 missiles were launched from southern China into the waters off Taiwan in 1995 (six or seven launches) and 1996 (four launches) as part of Beijing's efforts to dissuade Taiwan from moving toward independence. These launches into specific closure areas near Taiwan demonstrated a degree of accuracy not previously associated with Chinese missiles.

The first series of launches took place on 21-23 June 1995. During testing of the position area in Fujian province were launched six missiles DF-15, five of which successfully hit targets in international waters to the north-west of Taiwan. The second series of firings took place in 1996. - Two missiles launched early morning of March 8, 1996. almost simultaneously hit targets in the sea area to the south-west and to the east of Taiwan. To demonstrate the capabilities of the device on the same day with a short break launcher complex DF-15, is already running start, was recharged and reused for launch. The fourth missile was launched March 12 and successfully hit the targeted area. During these exercises was deployed 20-30 launchers provide the means and support.

Data on exports of DF-15 (M-9) are rather contradictory. According to one source, due to restrictions imposed Control Regime Missile Technology the missile never exported to other countries. Other sources report it was delivered to Pakistan, Iran, Egypt and Syria. Perhaps that confusion has arisen because of the complex external similarity DF-15 (M-9) with the earlier DF-11 (M-11).

The DF-15 first appeared in the Beijing Defense Exhibition in 1988. And it is believed that by 1989 China had equipped the Second Artillery with a few of these missiles. China's DF-15 road-mobile SRBM has been operational since 1995, with an initial force of 40 missiles. By the end of 1999 China had deployed 200 SRBMs and was increasing the force at a rate of 50 missiles per year.

As of mid-2000 the PLA had one regimental-sized CSS-6 SRBM unit deployed in southeastern China. This CSS-6 unit was expected to be augmented by a CSS-7 SRBM unit and one additional CSS-6 unit. In 2007, in a report on the defense of the US Congress were given information on deployed launchers 70-80 and 300-350 DF-15 missiles. From official Chinese sources aware of the existence of two missile brigades, to them are assienged 360 combat and training missiles with 100 lauchers. Complex actively modernized: improved management system in order to improve the accuracy of shooting, developing new variants of missile warheads.

There are three variants of the rocket DF-15

  1. DF-15A - basic version;
  2. DF-15B - upgraded version with improved accuracy guidance;
  3. DF-15C - a missile with a new warhead, presumably having increased flight range

The weight of the missile's warhead is about 500kg. As payload DF-15 can carry a nuclear warhead capacity of 50-350kt or be equipped with various types of non-nuclear warheads. Published information indicates fragmentation, and thermobaric cluster warhead. Cassette warhead is armed with incendiary or shaped-charge fragmentation submunitions. In development are combat units, designed for remote mining areas, as well as warheads with electromagnetic emitters to create interference to radio communications with the aim of disorganization communications and control systems of the enemy.

To control the missile in the initial phase of the trajectory gas rudders located at the nozzle exit of the rocket engine are used. In the descending part of the trajectory after separation the warhead reaches an airspeed of Mach 6. Guidance in this regime is carried out gas jet correction system.

The DF-15B missiles for the same purpose in the dense layers of the atmosphere used aerodynamic handlebars on the body. Greater flight speed and detachable warhead make the task of intercepting DF-15 is extremely difficult by any of the existing anti-missile technology. Missile DF-15B is equipped with strapdown inertial fully digital control system with on-board computer. First variants DF-15A had a circular error probable of 150-600m. Further improvement of the system has allowed to reduction in CEP. According to the developers conducted work on equipping missiles DF-15 satellite guidance system and a new inertial control system for ring laser gyroscopes allowed to increase the pointing accuracy of the CWE to 35-50m.

Although some types of DF-15 lack a reentry vehicle with steering vanes, but in the "Today China Defense" Web site can be found, there is a re-entry vehicle that matches "Pershing" II almost exactly. But regrettably, exposure to launch outside the box DF-21 clear picture does not exist yet. However, the DF-15 reentry vehicle picture indeed and "Pershing" II are very similar. If the DF-15 and "Pershing" II is similar, it is reason to speculate, DF-21 is also true. Both ends can be carried out using a motorized adjustable steering rudder. DF-15 caption on the Internet, China has such a reentry vehicle can be easily attached to the DF-21, so as to lay a foundation for the development of ASBM.

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 nuclear-capable. 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.

China's DF-15C short-range ballistic missile, equipped with a deep-penetration warhead, would be able to damage or destroy underground command facilities in Taiwan and other security partners of the United States in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the Weapon, a military magazine operated by China North Industries Group Corporation, a state-run company that manufactures military vehicles. Photos of the DF-15C were first revealed online in 2006. The Weapon reported that the DF-15C, with a warhead between 2-2.5 meters in length, has the largest warhead section compared to other missiles in the PLA's arsenal. The warhead must be fitted to a DF-21 and DF-25 missile to increase its range to strike at targets such as the US base at Guam.

It has been suggested that in the future the DF-15 will be equipped with a global positioning system that is coordinated with a new-type ring-laser gyroscopic inertial-guidance system, coupled to a faster on-board computer system so as to increase the accuracy of the missile's end-segment guidance system to achieve a CEP of 30-45 meters. As the missile has a terminal velocity of over Mach 6 this system may be considered for deep-penetration strike requirements (against underground fortifications).


ContractorAcademy of Rocket Motors Technology - ARMT
OperatorSecond Artillery Corps
  • Leping
  • Nanping
  • Yong'an
  • ConfigurationSingle Stage
    Length [meters]9.1
    Diameter [meters]1.0
    Mass [kilograms]6,200
    First Flight198?
    Range (km)600
    Re-entry Vehicle Mass (kg)500
    Warhead Yield50-350 KT or conventional
    CEP (meters)150-600 (35-50 m in later embodiments)
    Launch Preparation Time30 minutes

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    Page last modified: 22-08-2014 19:05:26 ZULU