April 2016 By Kristin Horitski


China/U.S. Designation YJ-63/KD-63
Missile Variants HY-4
Mobility and Role Land-Attack Cruise Missile
Designer/Producer People’s Republic of China
Range 200km
Warhead Type and Weight Nuclear or Conventional/500kg
MIRV and Yield No MIRV Capability/20-90kt
Guidance System/Accuracy Inertial/6m CEP
Stages/Propellant Single/Liquid
IOC/Retirement 2011/Still in service
Status/Number of Units Operational/ N/A


The YJ-63 is an air-launched, land attack cruise missile (LACM) that carries a conventional payload of up to 500kg and has a range of 200km. [1] The YJ-63 reached initial operating capability in 2004, and is believed to be the first indigenous long range LACM deployed by China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), likely with technical assistance from Russia. China’s H-6H and H-6K bombers carry the YJ-63, which is capable of reaching subsonic speeds and is guided by an electro-optical terminal guidance system. [2] The YJ-63 is capable of precision strikes against both land and maritime targets.

Strategic Implications

The YJ-63 is often deployed on the H-6K bomber, which is designed for long-range and stand-off attacks and has a combat radius of 3,500 km. [3] This puts large portions of the western Pacific within range of the cruise missile and has the potential to be a strong anti-access area denial (A2/AD) capability in the event of a conflict.


[1] Gormley, D.,  Erickson, A., and Yuan, J. “JFQ 75: A Potent Vector: Assessing Chinese Cruise Missile Developments.” National Defense University Press. September 30, 2014. http://ndupress.ndu.edu/Media/News/NewsArticleView/tabid/7849/Article/577568/jfq-75-a-potent-vector-assessing-chinese-cruise-missile-developments.aspx.

[2] Ibid.

[3] http://www.military-today.com/aircraft/h6k.htm.

Missile Threat and Proliferation


Curtis Stiles - Chief of Staff