M-7 (8610)/CSS-8

March 2017 by Collin Meisel

Facts

PRC/U.S. Designation M-7 (8610)/CSS-8
Missile Variants HQ-2 modified[i]/Tondar-69(Iran)[ii]
Mobility and Role Road-mobile/Short-Range Ballistic Missile
Designer/Producer People’s Republic of China
Range 150km[iii]
Warhead Type and Weight Conventional/190kg[iv]
MIRV and Yield N.A.
Guidance System/Accuracy Inertial/300m CEP “est”[v]
Stages/Propellant Two/Solid (first) and liquid (second)[vi]
IOC/Retirement late 1980s/N.A.
Status/Number of Units Operational/2-5 launchers; 100-500 missiles “est”[vii]

Overview

The M-7 (or 8610) is a road-mobile, short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) modeled after the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) HQ-2 surface to air missile (SAM), which itself is a modification of the Soviet SA-2 SAM.[viii] With two stages – the first solid fuel and the second liquid fuel – the M-7 has an estimated range of 150km and is accurate within approximately 300m.

Strategic Implications

Given the M-7’s lack of ability to execute “precision strike” missions,[ix] and its lack of mention in recent annual reports to Congress by the Office of the Secretary of Defense on “Military and Security Developments Involving the [PRC],” the M-7 does not appear to play a crucial role in the PRC’s ballistic missile arsenal other than the sheer numbers it adds to their estimated 1,200-strong SRBM inventory.[x] Since the late 1980s, several hundred M-7 SRBMs and related components have reportedly been sold by the PRC to Iran.[xi] Subsequently renamed the Tondar-69, Iran utilized this SRBM during military drills in September 2009.[xii]


Sources

[i] Anthony H. Cordesman, Strategic Threats and National Missile Defenses: Defending the U.S. Homeland, (Westport, US: Greenwood Press, 2001) p. 98.

[ii] Global Security, “DF-7 / M-7 / 8610 / CSS-8,” last modified April 20, 2014, http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/china/m-7.htm.

[iii] Joseph Cirincione et al., Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Threats, 2nd ed., Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005, p. 106, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt6wpkbk.9.

[iv] Joseph Cirincione et al., Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Threats, 2nd ed., Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005, p. 106, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt6wpkbk.9.

[v] Moon Chung-In and Natalie W. Crawford, Emerging Threats, Force Structures & the Role of Air Power in Korea, (Santa Monica, US: RAND Corporation, 2000) p. 196.

[vi] Joseph Cirincione et al., Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Threats, 2nd ed., Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005, p. 106, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt6wpkbk.9.

[vii] Moon Chung-In and Natalie W. Crawford, Emerging Threats, Force Structures & the Role of Air Power in Korea, (Santa Monica, US: RAND Corporation, 2000) p. 196.

[viii] Global Security, “DF-7 / M-7 / 8610 / CSS-8.”

[ix] Office of the Secretary of Defense, Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, 2010, p. 72, https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/2016%20China%20Military%20Power%20Report.pdf.

[x] Ibid., p. 25.

[xi] Global Security, “DF-7 / M-7 / 8610 / CSS-8.”

[xii] Jenny Percival, “Iran Says it Has Carried Out Successful Short-Range Missile Tests,” The Guardian, September 27, 2009, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/sep/27/iran-nuclear-weapons.

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