Externally, the rocket is a little different from the Long March 2E from which it was derived. Most of the changes are redundant systems to improve safety, although there are some structural modifications which allow the rocket to support the heavier fairing required by the Shenzhou capsule. The rocket is also capable of lifting heavier payloads with the addition of extra boosters to the first stage.
The rocket also has an "advanced fault monitoring and diagnosis system to help the astronauts escape in time of emergency", and is the first Chinese made rocket to be assembled and rolled out to its launch site vertically.
During the Shenzhou 5 flight, Yang Liwei became unwell due to heavy vibrations from the rocket. Although the problem was reduced somewhat by modifications to the rocket, vibrations were reported again in Shenzhou 6 necessitating further changes. According to Jing Muchun, chief designer of the Long March 2F "We made changes to the pipelines of the rocket engine, adjusting its frequency. A new design for the pressure accumulator produced evident results. The vibration has now been reduced by more than 50 percent."