Dong Feng-17

September 25, 2018

Quick Facts

Chinese/U.S. Designation DF-17
Role and Mobility 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; Unknown
IOC/Retirement Expected 2020; N/A
Status/Number of Units In Development; N/A


China is currently developing and testing the Dong Feng-17 medium range ballistic missile. The DF-17 is the first missile designed for the operational deployment of a hypersonic glide vehicle by the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF).[i]Not all its details are available, but parts of the U.S. intelligence community estimate its range to be between 1,800 and 2,500 kilometers.[ii]It is also believed that the missile is heavily based on the DF-16B short-range ballistic missile.[iii]

Two test flights of the DF-17 have been reported, the first on November 1, 2017 and a subsequent test on November 15, 2017. During the November 1 test, the missile successfully flew 1,400 kilometers with the hypersonic glide vehicle. The impact was reported to be within meters of the intended target.[iv]

Strategic Implications

The DF-17 will be strategically valuable for the PLARF when it is made operational as it will be the only hypersonic capable missile in its arsenal until the DF-ZF hypersonic glide vehicle is also made operational. This 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]

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