China JL-2 (CSS-NX-5)

JL-2 (Jane's Strategic Weapon Systems)
Alternate Name:CSS-NX-4
Length:13.0 m
Diameter:2.25 m
Launch Weight:42,000 kg
Payload:1,050-2,800 kg
Warhead:Nuclear, 1 MT or 3-8 MIRV with 20/90/150 kT warheads
Propulsion:Three-stage solid propellant
Range:7,200 km

The JL-2 (CSS-NX-5, or CSS-NX-4) is an intercontinental-range, submarine-launched, three-stage solid propellant ballistic missile under development in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). It is believed to have been developed along with the DF-23 land-based missile, which was later re-designated the DF-31 (CSS-9) after changes in project requirements. The JL-2 is reported to be similar to the DF-31 and it is considered possible for the two missiles to be nearly identical. The JL-2 is designed to launch from the Type 094 submarine, and will eventually replace the aging JL-1 (CSS-N-3) missiles currently in operation aboard a single Xia-class Type 092 missile submarine. 1

The JL-2 has a minimum range of 2,000 km, a maximum range greater than 7,200 km, and carries a payload of 1,050 to 2,800 kg. This payload can be equipped with either a single 1 MT yield nuclear warhead or between 3 and 8 MIRV warheads. The MIRV warheads probably weigh between 250 and 300 kg and can be set to a nuclear yield of 20, 90 or 150 kT. The missile will likely be capable of being equipped with penetration aids and decoys to decrease the effectiveness of missile defense systems. The JL-2 uses an inertial guidance system with stellar updates and a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system. It may employ the Bei Dou navigational satellite system. An accuracy of 300 m CEP has been suggested, but other reports suggest 150 m CEP, which seems to better reflect current guidance technology. 2

The JL-2 is believed to have entered the initial design stage in 1970 along with a land-based DF-23, but both were redesigned in 1985 following a change in program requirements. The change probably occurred to take into account advancements in PRC warhead miniaturization technology. The JL-2 was supposed to be operational by 2008, but this date has passed without reports indicating its status.

The JL-2 was initially installed on the Golf-class Tpye 031 submarine for testing. The first test launch occurred in 2002, and subsequent launches were reported in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Unconfirmed reports suggest that numerous launches occurred from 2008 to 2011, but it is assumed that the JL-2 is still under development. 3

  1. Lennox, Duncan. “CSS-NX-5 (JL-2) (Sabbot).” Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems (Offensive Weapons). September 30, 2012. (accessed September 12, 2012).
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
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