The PLA observed closely the employment of Tomahawk cruise missiles by the U.S. forces in the Gulf War, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and has a long running programme aimed at acquiring the relevant technologies to assist its development of strategic land-attack cruise missiles (LACMs). China obtained examples and possibly some technical documents of the Kh-55 (AS-15 ‘Kent’) LACM from Ukraine in 2000, and has used the knowledge gained from studying the missile to develop its own LACM.
Since 2004, the PLA has fielded a number of LACMs to augment its conventional ballistic missiles for the provision of long-range precision-strike capabilities, and potentially as a supplement to its nuclear strike capabilities. The integration of the air-launched long-range LACM with an upgraded variant of the Xi’an H-6 bomber also allows the PLA to conduct conventional attack on regional targets it historically has been unable to reach.
DH-10 / CJ-10 / DF-10A
The DH-10 (Dong Hai, or “East Sea” in English translation) is a ground-launched LACM that had been in development since the late 1990s and was tested for the first time in the Autumn of 2004. The DH-10 may have been developed from the Russian Kh-55 technology, but with a much shorter range –1,500 to 2,000 km as opposed to the 3,000 km range of the Kh-55. The missile is guided to its target by an integrated INS/GPS augmented by terrain contour mapping and possibly also digital scene matching, giving an estimated accuracy of under 10 m CEP, allowing it attack fixed, high-value land targets.
The missile features a cylindrical body with two retractable wings, four foldable tailfins as well as a concealed belly engine inlet. It is stored and transported inside box-shaped launchers, with three missiles carried on each Wanshan WS2400 8 x 8 TEL vehicle.
The DH-10 was revealed to the public for the first time during the military parade in October 2009 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the PRC. However, the missile’s designation was reported as the CJ-10 (Chang Jian, or “Long Sword” in English translation). The 2010 U.S. DoD report to Congress estimated that by December 2009 China had deployed about 200 to 500 DH-10 LACMs and 45 to 55 launchers.
During the Victory Day military parade held in September 2015, an improved variant of the DH-10/CJ-10 was revealed. The missile features a new 8 x 8 TEL vehicle and slight different arrangement in its box launchers. The new LACM was reported as the DF-10A (Dong Feng, or “East Wind” in its English translation), the same name for the PLA’s strategic and theatre ballistic missiles.
DH-10 / CJ-10