Strategic Missile Force

Force Size
  • Strength: 10,000
Land-Based Nuclear Missile
  • 15~20 DongFeng 3/CSS-2
  • 15~20 DongFeng 4/CSS-3
  • 20 DongFeng 5A/CSS-4
  • 60~80 DongFeng 21/CSS-5
  • ~10 DongFeng 31A/CSS-9
Sea-Based Nuclear Missile
  • JuLang 1/CSS-N-3 (1 SSBN, 12 missiles each)
  • JuLang 2/CSS-NX-4 (2 SSBNs, 12 missiles each)
Land-based Conventional Missile
  • 675~715 DongFeng 11/CSS-7
  • 315~355 DongFeng 15/CSS-6
  • DongFeng 21C/CSS-5 Mod 3
  • 50~250 DongHai 10/ChangJian 10

The Strategic Missile Force (SMF), also known as the Second Artillery Corps, is the strategic missile branch of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), controlling all of PRC’s land-based strategic missile assets as well as the majority of its conventional theatre missile assets. The force is estimated to have a total strength of 90,000~100,000 personnel, most of which are in engineering and construction units. Actual missile operators and guards are probably less than half of the total strength. All SAC units are subject to strict command and control from the CMC. Orders are passed down to operational units via a four-level chain of command: CMC, missile bases, missile brigades, and launch battalions.

The SMF is believed to be equipped with 110~140 nuclear-armed strategic missiles, including 15~20 DongFeng 3 (CSS-2) IRBMs, 15~20 DongFeng 4 (CSS-3) IRBMs, about 20 DongFeng 5 (CSS-4) ICBMs, and 60~80 DongFeng 21 (CSS-5) MRBMs, all of which carry a single warhead. The new-generation DongFeng 31 (CSS-9) began deployment in 2007 and its improved variant DongFeng 31A is also close to operational deployment. Additionally, the SAC is equipped with 900~1,000 conventional theatre missiles, including the DongFeng 15 (CSS-6) and DongFeng 11 (CSS-7) SRBMs. In recent years, the SMF has also began the deployment of the DongFeng 21C (CSS-5 Mod-3) conventionally-armed MRBM and the DH-10 land-attack cruise missile (LACM).

Currently the SMF has six operational missile bases, which are numbered from 51st to 56th. Four of these bases (51st, 52nd, 55th and 56th) are “Army Level” units, while the other two (53rd and 54th) are “Sub-Army Level” units, which are half grade lower in PLA’s hierarchy. The 22nd Base, also “Army Level”, located in Baoji, Shaanxi Province is officially known as the “Training and Experimental Base”. Western intelligence suggested that this base may also serve as a warhead storage facility.

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