DongFeng 3 (CSS-2) Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile
The DongFeng 3 (NATO designation: CSS-2) is a liquid-propellant, single-stage intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) developed in the 1960s. It was the PRC’s first domestically developed ballistic missile, designed to reach U.S. military bases in the East Asia region. The DongFeng 3 first entered service in 1971. An improved variant DongFeng 3A with extended range was introduced in the 1980s. With the nuclear-armed DongFeng 21 IRBM and a conventionally armed IRBM being introduced by the PLA, the number of DongFeng 3 in service has been declining. The U.S. intelligence estimated that there were 15~20 DongFeng 3/CSS-2 missiles still operational (2008 Pentagon report on PRC military power).
Following the success in the DongFeng 1 and 2 (CSS-1) short- to medium-range ballistic missiles, the PRC began to work on the longer range DongFeng 3 in the early 1960s. Unlike its predecessors, the new missile was not based on the Soviet R-2 short-range ballistic missile, but a brand new design with extended range to enable it to reach the U.S. military bases in Philippine.
DongFeng 3 launch (Chinese Internet)
After several rounds of evaluation, the concept of an intermediate-range ballistic missile was finalised in early 1964. It was decided that the missile would use storable liquid-fuel rocket to simplify the pre-launch preparation, and a cascade compensation inertial guidance system to improve the missile’s accuracy. The missile’s launch and support equipments were all capable of road-mobile in order to achieve limited mobile launch capability.
The project entered full-scale development in 1964. The first flight test of the missile was carried out in December 1966, but was only partially successful due to problems with the rocket engine. A second test in January 1967 also experienced similar problems. After some modification on the missile’s rocket engine, the third flight test in May 1967 was fully successful. In 1971, the missile entered operational service with the PLA Second Artillery Corps using the designation DongFeng 3.
Most DongFeng 3 missiles in the PLA service received life extension refit in the early 1980s. At the same time, the PRC began to develop an improved variant DongFeng 3A, with its range extended from 2,500km to 2,800km. The longer range was achieved by using an optimised propellant, without requiring changes on the missile’s aerodynamic layout. The first two flight tests of the DongFeng 3A in the early 1980s both failed due to engine failure, but the next two tests in December 1985 and January 1986 were both successful.
A conventional high-explosive warhead variant of the DongFeng 3A was developed for an export order to Saudi Arabia in 1987. About 30~120 missiles and 9~12 launchers were reportedly delivered in 1988, though no known test launch has ever been made in the country. It is not known whether these missiles are still operational.
Pre-launch fuelling of the DongFeng 3 (Chinese Internet)
The DongFeng 3 entered operational service in 1970, with about 150~200 missiles reportedly deployed. A further 50~100 DongFeng 3A missiles have been deployed since the late 1980s, including 60~120 conventionally-armed DongFeng 3As for Saudi Arabia. Since the late 1990s, the PLA began to gradually phase out some its DongFeng 3s and replace them with the more capable DF-21.
The DongFeng 3 is road-mobile on a four-wheel carriage towed by 8X8 trucks, and is launched from a pre-surveyed launch spot located near its base. Possible DongFeng 3 bases include Dalong, Datong, Dengshahe, Dienwei, Fungrun, Jianshui, Kunming, Lianxiwang, Liujikou, Tonghua, Wuwei, Xian and Yidu. The DongFeng 3 training facility is located in Wuwei, Gansu Province.
Although the 2,500-km range DongFeng 3 was mainly intended to cover the U.S. military assets located in Japan and Philippine, it has also been deployed in the west part of the country to aim at targets within neighbouring countries in Central and South Asia.
The DongFeng 3 is a single-stage, single-warhead IRBM system, with a maximum range of 2,500km (2,800km for DongFeng 3A). However, if the payload were reduced, the DongFeng 3A version would have the capability to achieve a range of about 4,000km. Alternatively, the missile could fly at a depressed trajectory for a range of 1,550km. The missile uses storable liquid propellants, and the pre-launch preparation time is reported to be between 2 and 3 hours.
The DongFeng 3 uses vanes in the efflux nozzles for control during the boost phase of flight. The motor consists of a cluster of four YF-2 engines which use storable liquids, Unsymmetrical Dimethyl Hydrazine (UDMH) fuel and AK-27 oxidiser (nitric acid with 27% nitrogen tetroxide), and provide a total thrust of 96 tonnes. The motors have a burn time of around 140 seconds. This gives the DongFeng 3 missile a minimum range of 750km and a maximum range of 2,650km. At maximum range, the peak velocity of DongFeng 3 will be 4.7km/s. DongFeng 3 has a separating warhead assembly, weighing 2,150kg.
The missile is fitted with an inertial guidance, with an estimated CEP of 1,000~4,000m. The missile normally carries a 2,000~3,000kT yield nuclear warhead, but can also configured to carry a conventional HE warhead. The improved DongFeng 3A version has an accuracy improved to 1,000m CEP.
Official name: DongFeng 3 (DF-3)
NATO reporting name: CSS-2
Service status: In service
Configuration: Single-stage, liquid propellant
Deployment: Launch pad + road mobile
Propellant: Unsymmetrical Dimethylhydrazine/Nitrogen Tetroxide mix [UDMH/N2H4]
Launch weight: 64,000kg
Range: 2,500km (DF-3); 2,800km (DF-3A)
Re-entry vehicle mass: 2,150kg
CEP: 2,000~3,000m (DF-3); 1,000m (DF-3A)
Launch preparation time: 120~180 min
Last update: 27 February 2009