Dong Feng-17

January 13, 2023

Quick Facts

Chinese/U.S. Designation DF-17
Role and Mobility Hypersonic Glide Vehicle-armed Medium-Range Ballistic Missile
Designer/Production People’s Republic of China
Range 1,800 – 2,500 km
Warhead Type and Weight Conventional, Nuclear, Hypersonic; Unknown
MIRV and Yield No MIRV Capabilities; Unknown
Guidance System/Accuracy Unknown; Several Meters
Stages/Propellant Unknown; Solid
IOC/Retirement 2020; In Service
Status/Number of Units In Service; Unknown


The Dong Feng-17 (DF-17) is the first missile designed for the operational deployment of a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) by the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF).[I] Although HGVs are slower than conventional ballistic reentry vehicles, their higher maneuverability and lower-altitude flight allow them to evade missile defense systems as their flight paths are harder to predict. U.S. officials have stated that the prototypes have shown to perform “extreme maneuvers” and “evasive actions.”

U.S. officials first confirmed the existence of DF-17 prototypes (DF-ZF/Wu-14) in 2014.[ii] From January 2014 and November 2017, at least nine flight tests were done. The current version of the DF-17 first appeared in a PLA parade in October 2019. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, the DF-17 began being fielded in 2020, replacing some SRBM units.

Strategic Implications

The DF-17 is a vital weapon in China’s arsenal, as it provides the PLARF with a missile that is highly capable against existing missile defenses and sensors. With its range, the DF-17 could reach South Korea and Japan, challenging their missile defense systems.[v]

Citing a China-based military expert, the DF-17 is designed to strike enemy bases and surface combatants in the Western Pacific.

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