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Dongfeng-41 CSS-20 sketch.svg
DF-41 missile on a HTF5980.
Place of originChina
Service history
In service2017
Used byPeople's Liberation Army Rocket Force
Production history
ManufacturerChina Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT)
Mass~80,000 kilograms (180,000 lb)[1]
Length~21 metres (69 ft)[1]
Diameter~2.25 m (7 ft 5 in)[1]
WarheadThermonuclear weapon, up to 10 MIRVs, 2,500 kg (5,500 lb) throw weight)[1]

EngineThree-stage Solid-fuel rocket
~12,000–15,000 kilometres (7,500–9,300 mi)[1]
Maximum speed Mach 25 (30,600 km/h; 19,000 mph; 8.51 km/s)[2]
Inertial, likely with stellar updates and BeiDou[3]
Accuracy100m CEP[3]
Silo, road-mobile Transporter erector launcher, rail-mobile

The Dongfeng-41 (DF-41, CSS-20) (simplified Chinese: 东风-41; traditional Chinese: 東風-41; lit. 'East Wind-41') is a fourth-generation Chinese solid-fuelled road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile operated by the People's Liberation Army Rocket Force (formerly the Second Artillery Corps). DF-41 is the fourth and the latest generation of the Dongfeng series strategic missiles developed by China.[4] The missile was officially unveiled at the China National Day military parade on 1 October 2019.


The missile reportedly has an operational range between 12,000 to 15,000 kilometres (7,500 to 9,300 mi).[1] It is believed to have a top speed of Mach 25,[2] and to be capable of MIRV delivery (up to 10).[5] The development of the MIRV technology is reported to be in response to the deployment of the United States national missile defense system which degrades China's nuclear deterrence capability.[6] The project started in 1986,[5] and may now be coupled with the JL-2 program.

Though there have been reports that the DF-41 can carry 6 to 10 warheads, analysts think it most likely carries only three warheads, with the additional payload used for many penetration aids.[7]

Richard Fisher, an expert on Asia-Pacific military affairs, says that a typical PLA Rocket Force unit has 6-12 missile launchers and may have an additional 6-12 "reload missiles", i.e. missiles to be launched after the first missile with which the launcher is equipped are launched, indicating 12-24 DF-41 missiles per unit. If a missile had 10 warheads, that would give a single SAC unit the capability to target the contiguous United States with 120-240 nuclear warheads.[8]


Air Power Australia reported that the DF-41 was cancelled pre-2000, with the technology developed transferred to the DF-31A.[5][9] It was incorrectly anticipated that the DF-41 would be delivered to the Second Artillery around the year 2010.[5][10] Some military experts had expected that it could be unveiled at the 2009 National Parade.[11] However, rehearsals of the military parade did not feature this missile.

The American conservative website The Washington Free Beacon reported in August 2012 that the DF-41 had its first flight test on July 24, 2012.[12]

In April 2013, Taiwan's National Security Bureau head reported to the Legislative Yuan that the DF-41 was still in development, and not yet deployed.[13]

The U.S. Department of Defense in its 2013 report to Congress on China's military developments made no explicit mention of the DF-41, but did state that "China may also be developing a new road-mobile ICBM, possibly capable of carrying a multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV)", which may refer to the DF-41.[14] Later in 2013 The Washington Free Beacon reported that the second launch test took place on December 13, 2013 from the Wuzhai missile launch center in Shanxi province to an impact range in western China, according to officials familiar with details of the tests.[15]

The Free Beacon reported in June 2014 that U.S. officials had said by then that the DF-41 was test launched twice since 2012.[16]

In August 2014, China Shaanxi Provincial Environmental Monitoring Center website accidentally made a news report about events of setting environmental monitoring site for DF-41 ICBM; the news report (and the whole website) was taken down shortly after getting public attention.[17]

The Free Beacon claimed that China had test-launched a DF-41 using multiple reentry vehicles for the first time on 13 December 2014.[18] Later that month, China confirmed that the launch occurred, saying it has a legitimate right to conduct scientific tests within its border, that they were not targeting any country, and the development of the missile did not affect China's policy of not using nuclear weapons first in a conflict. The launch took place at the Wuzhai Missile and Space Test Center in central China and impacted in the west of the country.[19]

In August 2015, the missile was flight-tested for the fourth time.[3] In December 2015, the missile was flight-tested for the fifth time. The flight test demonstrated the use of two multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles. The missile launch and dummy warheads were tracked by satellites to an impact range in western China.[20]

In April 2016, China successfully conducted the 7th test of DF-41 with two dummy warheads near the South China Sea, amid growing tensions between Washington and Beijing about the area.[21]

On January 23, 2017, China was reported to have deployed a strategic ballistic missile brigade to Heilongjiang province, bordering Russia, along with another strategic ballistic missile brigade deploying to Xinjiang.[22]

In November 2017, just two days before U.S. President Trump's visit to China, the DF-41 was tested in the Gobi desert.[23][24]

On October 1, 2019, China on its 70th anniversary displayed the missiles in a large military parade. [25]

Rail-mobile versions[edit]

On 5 December 2015, China conducted a launcher test of a new rail-mobile version of the DF-41, similar to the Russian RT-23 Molodets.[26][27]

Silo-based versions[edit]

In 2021, the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) said China was building 120 missile silos for DF-41 near Yumen in Gansu and another 110 missile silos near Hami in Xinjiang.[28]

A third site was discovered to be under construction near Ordos in Inner Mongolia in August, 2021. The new site will hold more than 100 ICBM.[29]

Together, the three new missile bases will house 350 to 400 new long-range nuclear missiles, U.S. officials said. [30][31]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "DF-41 (Dong Feng-41 / CSS-X-20)". Center for Strategic and International Studies. October 8, 2019. Archived from the original on 2017-02-02. Retrieved 2021-07-28.
  2. ^ a b "China Reports DF-41 ICBM Test-Launch: Armed Forces International News". Archived from the original on 2014-08-08. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
  3. ^ a b c "DF-41 (Dong Feng-41 / CSS-X-20)". Missile Threat.
  4. ^ "China's strategic deterrents on display". China Daily. 2 October 2019. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d "DF-41 (CSS-X-10) (China) - Jane's Strategic Weapon Systems". Janes.com. June 1, 2010. Archived from the original on 2011-03-26.
  6. ^ Arjun Subramanian P (12 November 2012). "DF-41: China's answer to the US BMD efforts". Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  7. ^ Kristensen, Hans M.; Norris, Robert S. (2018). "Chinese nuclear forces, 2018". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 74 (4): 289–295. Bibcode:2018BuAtS..74d.289K. doi:10.1080/00963402.2018.1486620.
  8. ^ "Chinese Government Website Confirms New Multi-Warhead ICBM". Washington Free Beacon. 2014-08-01. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
  9. ^ Sean O'Connor (April 2012). "PLA Ballistic Missiles". Air Power Australia. p. 1. APA-TR-2010-0802. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  10. ^ John Pike. "DF-41 - China Nuclear Forces". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2010-03-21.
  11. ^ "Five types of missiles to debut on National Day_English_Xinhua". News.xinhuanet.com. 2009-09-02. Archived from the original on 2015-01-10. Retrieved 2010-03-21.
  12. ^ Gertz, Bill (2012-08-15). "China test fires new long-range missile". Washington Free Beacon. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
  13. ^ Rogge Chen and Sofia Wu (15 April 2013). "China yet to deploy 094 sub, JL-2 & DF-41 missiles: security head". Focus Taiwan. Central News Agency. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  14. ^ Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China 2013 (PDF). Office of the Secretary of Defense (Report). U.S. Department of Defense. 2013. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 January 2015. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  15. ^ "China Conducts Second Flight Test of New Long-Range Missile". December 17, 2013.
  16. ^ Gertz, Bill (2014-06-06). "Pentagon Confirms New Chinese Long-Range ICBM Development". Washington Free Beacon. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
  17. ^ "China 'confirms new generation long range missiles'". Daily Telegraph. AFP. 1 August 2014. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  18. ^ Gertz, Bill (18 December 2014). "China Tests ICBM With Multiple Warheads] - Freebeacon.com". Washington Free Beacon.
  19. ^ Chinese Military Confirms DF-41 Flight Test - Freebeacon.com, 26 December 2014
  20. ^ "China Missile Test | Multi-Warhead Missile". December 11, 2015.
  21. ^ "China Confirms Multiple-Warhead Missile Test in South China Sea". April 21, 2016.
  22. ^ Say Hello to China's ICBMs, SpaceDaily.com, 2017-01-30
  23. ^ "Did China test a missile that could strike US ahead of Trump's visit?". South China Morning Post. 2017-11-09. Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  24. ^ Bora, Kukil (November 10, 2017). "Ahead of Trump visit, China likely tested 12,000-km-range missile that could strike anywhere in US". International Business Times, India Edition.
  25. ^ "China displays new hypersonic nuclear missile on 70th anniversary". www.aljazeera.com.
  26. ^ Fisher Jr, Richard (23 December 2015). "China developing new rail-mobile ICBM, say US officials". Jane's 360. Archived from the original on 24 December 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
  27. ^ "Chinese Defense Ministry Confirms Rail-Mobile ICBM Test". December 31, 2015.
  28. ^ "China Is Building A Second Nuclear Missile Silo Field". Federation Of American Scientists. Retrieved 2021-08-01.
  29. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: China building third missile field for hundreds of new ICBMs". The Washington Times.
  30. ^ "The Chinese Nuclear Breakout and the Biden Administration's Nuclear Posture Review | RealClearDefense". 28 August 2021.
  31. ^ "China's nuclear missile silo expansion: From minimum deterrence to medium deterrence". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 2021-09-01. Retrieved 2021-10-02.

External links[edit]