January 2023


China/U.S. Designation JL-1/CSS-N-3
Missile Variants JL-1A
Mobility and Role Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile
Designer/Producer People’s Republic of China
Range 1,700-2,150km
Warhead Type and Weight Nuclear or Conventional/600kg
MIRV and Yield No MIRV capability/200-300kt
Guidance System/Accuracy Inertial/300-400m CEP
Stages/Propellant Multistage/Solid
IOC/Retirement 1988/c. 2015
Status/Number of Units Operational/12 missiles “est”


The Ju Lang-1 is China’s first submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) with a range of 1,700- 2,150 km and carrying a single 200-500 kT nuclear warhead. [1] China’s Type 092/Xia-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) carries up to 12 JL-1 missiles. The Xia-class is China’s first SSBN and was launched in 1981, commissioned in 1987 and successfully launched its first SLBM in 1988. [2] It was replaced by the JL-2 as the PLAN’s SLBM, which entered service in 2015. [3]

Strategic Implications

It is not believed that the Xia-class submarine has ever left Chinese coastal waters due to vulnerabilities related to slow speed, a noisy engine, and an unreliable reactor. [4] The Xia-class underwent a refit from 1995-2000, but it remained vulnerable to antisubmarine warfare platforms. [5]


[1] “Chinese Ballistic Missile Models.” Nuclear Threat Initiative. July 8, 2015. http://www.nti.org/analysis/articles/chinese-ballistic-missile-models/#JL1.

[2] “Xia Class.” Military-Today. http://www.military-today.com/navy/xia_class.htm.

[3] Missile Defense Project, “JL-2,” Missile Threat, Center for Strategic and International Studies, August 12, 2016, last modified July 31, 2021, https://missilethreat.csis.org/missile/jl-2/.

[4] Military-Today.

[5] Military-Today.

Missile Threat and Proliferation