Facts

China/U.S. Designation Changjian-20 (CJ-20)
Missile Variants CJ-10 (ground-launched)
Mobility and Role Air-launched/Land-Attack Cruise Missile
Designer/Producer People’s Republic of China
Range 2,000km+ “est”
Warhead Type and Weight Conventional or Nuclear/ N/A
MIRV and Yield No MIRV capabilities/Unknown
Guidance System/Accuracy Inertial, GPS & Radar Terminal Correlation/5m CEP “est”
Stages/Propellant Two/Solid
IOC/Retirement 2018 “est”/N.A.
Status/Number of Units In development/Unknown

Overview

A variant of the Changjian-10 (CJ-10) land-attack cruise missile (LACM), the CJ-20 is an air-launched LACM capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads.[i]  Still under development, U.S. Air Global Strike Command estimates the nuclear-capable variant will be operational by 2018.[ii] Although the weight and yield of the nuclear CJ-20 is unconfirmed, its CJ-10 predecessor possesses an estimated 400kg payload and yield likely ranging from 20 to 90 kT.[iii] Approximations of the CJ-20’s range vary, and include distances up to 2,200km.[iv]

Strategic Implications

Designed to be launched from the H-6K strategic bomber, which has a 3,700km combat radius and can carry up to six cruise missiles,[v] the CJ-20 will significantly enhance the PRC’s long-range nuclear strike capabilities when fully developed. Likely capable of reaching Japan, Guam, and northern Australia, the CJ-20 will be a crucial addition to the PRC’s anti-access/area denial and first-strike capabilities.[vi]


Sources

[i] IHS Global, “Military might – China develops its strategic missile systems,” Jane’s Intelligence Review 25.9, September 1, 2013, http://www.janes.com/magazines/ihs-janes-intelligence-review.

[ii] James M. Kowalski, Command Briefing, U.S. Global Strike Command, May 7, 2013, available at http://blogs.fas.org/security.

[iii] Center for Strategic and International Studies Missile Defense Project, “Hong Niao Series (HN-1/-2/-3),” last updated August 12, 2016, https://missilethreat.csis.org/missile/hn/.

[iv] Global Security, “DH-10 / CH-10 / CJ-10,” no date, http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/china/lacm.htm.

[v] Robert P. Haffa Jr. and Michael W. Isherwood, “Long Range Conventional Strike: A Joint Family of Systems,” Joint Force Quarterly 60 (1st Quarter 2011): 103, http://ndupress.ndu.edu/portals/68/Documents/jfq/jfq-60.pdf.

[vi] Haffa and Isherwood, “Long Range Conventional Strike,” 103.

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