China showcases new weapon systems at 3 September parade | World Defense

China showcases new weapon systems at 3 September parade


Dec 5, 2014
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China showcases new weapon systems at 3 September parade
Richard D Fisher Jr, Washington, DC - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
04 September 2015

YJ-12 anti-ship cruise missiles. Source: AP/PA

The central event of the 3 September commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War in Beijing was a military parade that saw the first 'official' revelation of many new weapon systems.

The 15th such military parade held in Beijing since 1949, it featured 12,000 troops and 56 general officers from the People's Liberation Army (PLA), plus 1,000 troops from 17 other countries.

Chinese state media reported that the parade also featured 500 ground-based weapons of more than 40 types and 200 aircraft of more than 20 types. While these reports noted that 80% of these weapons had "never been presented to the public before," this was mainly in the sense of an 'official' revelation. Many of these weapon systems had been previously disclosed in Chinese military publications and on web pages.

Weapons revealed in the 3 September parade are considered 'deployed' or in PLA service.

The following is a brief review of some of the latest Chinese weapon systems showcased in the 3 September parade.

Strategic missiles

The DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile was one of the key systems on show for the first time at China's 3 September military parade in Beijing. (AP/PA)

While its development likely dates to the early 1990s, according to the Pentagon, the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation's (CASIC's) Dong Feng DF-21D started deployment in 2014. It is the world's first deployed anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM), using a manoeuvrable warhead likely with multiple sensors to enable attacks against moving ships at sea. It is expected that the PLA wills seek to co-ordinate DF-21D strikes with air- and submarine-launched anti-ship missiles to overwhelm target defences.

Likely deployed to Second Artillery Corp units starting in early 2011, the CASIC DF-16 800 to 1,000 km medium-range ballistic missile made its first parade appearance. It uses the warhead stage of the DF-11A short-range ballistic missile with a larger-boost engine to achieve longer range and higher speeds to evade new US missile defences acquired by Taiwan. This missile may also be able to attack Japanese and US forces on Okinawa. The DF-16 also employs laser countermeasures on its TEL cabin roof.

The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) 3,000 to 4,000 km-range DF-26 intermediate range ballistic missile also made its first parade appearance. Its announced anti-ship capability has been covered here (link).

Making its first parade appearance, Asian military sources have mentioned the multiple-warhead-armed CASC DF-5B 15,000-km-range, liquid-fuelled ICBM since 2008. However, the Pentagon did not acknowledge this silo-launched ICBM until the publication of its 2015 annual China report. Its appearance in the parade revealed the DF-5B uses the same missile shroud technology as CASC's Long March-2C space launch vehicle. While reported to carry only three warheads, it appears that the DF-5B is large enough to carry many more.

Land systems

Type 99A main battle tanks. (AP/PA)

T-99A main battle tank
The third generation of Norinco's T-99 main battle tank family revealed in 1999, the T-99A, was first revealed by Chinese sources in early 2011. Also called the T-99A2, it was featured prominently in the September 2014 Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) 'Peace Mission' exercises. Its distinctive feature is a sharp, wedge-shaped turret that makes extensive use of second-generation composite and reactive armor plus the use of a second-generation laser countermeasures system. Weighing about 50 tons, it is armed with a 125 mm, auto-stabilised, auto-loading main gun that Chinese media revealed may be capable of firing 8 rounds a minute and is armed with gun-launched anti-tank missiles. Featuring new digital communications, one of the tank's designers has stated that the T-99A has not reached desired reliability levels.

ZBD-04A infantry fighting vehicle
Also making its first official appearance was the Norinco ZBD-04A infantry fighting vehicle (IFV). An improved version of the ZBD-04 IFV officially revealed in during the October 2009 military parade, prototypes of the ZBD-04A started appearing in 2007 and could be seen entering PLA units in 2011. Its main difference is that it lacks the amphibious capability of the ZBD-04 and has added armour. Estimated to weigh 24 to 25 tons, it has a crew of three and carries six to seven troops. Its gun turret, based on that of the Russian BMP-3 obtained during the 1990s, is armed with a 100 mm cannon that fires gun-launched anti-tank missiles, plus a 30 mm automatic cannon.


ATF-10 anti-tank missile systems being carried by modified ZBD-04A APCs. (AP/PA)

ATF-10 anti-tank missile
Also making its first official appearance was the ATF-10 fiber-optic-guided, non-line-of-sight (NLOS) anti-tank missile. Eight are carried by a modified ZBD-04A APC. The PLA's interest in NLOS anti-tank missiles became apparent in 2011, and the ATF-10 featured prominently in the 2014 'Peace Mission' exercises. The missile reportedly has a range of about 10 km.

PLZ-05 self-propelled artillery system
Though it reportedly entered PLA service in 2008, the Norinco PLZ-05 self-propelled artillery system made its first official appearance in the 3 September parade. Influenced by Russia 2S19 MSTA, the 35 ton PLZ-05 reportedly has a semi-automatic loading 155 mm/L52 gun capable of firing 8 to 10 rounds a minute. It can fire the new WS-35 navigation satellite-guided round reportedly out to 100 km.


ZTL-09 IFVs. (AP/PA)

ZTL-09 armoured personnel carrier
Reported to have entered service in 2009, the ZTL-09 is a 105 mm tank gun-armed variant of Norinco's 8x8 ZBD-09 armoured personnel carrier (APC). Its main mission is to provide fire support for troops, and it equips new PLA Army units comprising 'medium-weight' armour. Weighing slightly more than 20 tons, the ZTL-09 has a crew of four and is powered by a 400 to 500 hp diesel engine.

Dong Feng Warrior light combat vehicle
First seen in 2011, the Dong Feng Motors Warrior is a light combat vehicle entering service with the PLA and People's Armed Police (PAP) units. It is Dong Feng's effort to offer a better armoured successor to its version of the AM General Humvee, which remains popular in the PLA. In the parade a 4x4 version equipped a PLA unit, while a 6x6 version equipped a PAP unit. The 6x6 version has a fully loaded weight of 8 tons and a top speed of 130 km/h. It has been seen armed with a heavy machine gun or a PF-98 infantry support rocket.

Naval systems
HHQ-10 short-range air defence missile

While the Luoyang FL-3000N/HHQ-10 naval short-range air defence missile was first revealed at the 2008 Zhuhai Airshow, it was first deployed in 2011 on the PLA Navy aircraft carrier Liaoning, warranting its appearance in the 2015 parade. This 6 to 9 km range surface-to-air missile comes in 24 and 8 cell launchers similar to the US RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM). The latter appeared on the Type 056 corvette starting in 2013, while the larger launcher is used on the new Type 052D destroyer.

YJ-12 anti-ship missile
Also making its first parade appearance was the Hongdu Aviation Industries Corporation's YJ-12 ramjet-powered, supersonic air-launched anti-ship missile. It is a development of the ramjet-powered YJ-91, influenced by the Russian Zvezda Kh-31 purchased by the PLA. The speed of the YJ-12 is estimated at between Mach 2.5 and Mach 4, with a range of up to 400 km. Two are carried by XAC H-6G bombers in PLA Naval Air Force (PLANAF) service. Up to six can be carried by the new H-6K bomber, and a regiment of these could launch more than 100 for saturation attacks.

J-11B combat aircraft

Though reportedly deployed by 2007, the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) J-11B, a much-modified version of the 'hijacked' Russian Sukhoi Su-27SK design, did not make the 2009 parade, hence its appearance in 2015. Most importantly, the J-11B is the first variant to use the indigenous Shenyang-Liming WS-10A Taihang turbofan engine. The result of an enormous Chinese development effort, reasonably reliable WS-10As did not start emerging until about 2009. The J-11B is armed with the 100 km-range Luoyang PL-12 self-guided, medium-range air-to-air missile and may now equip up to 11 PLA Air Force and PLANAF regiments.


A Y-9 transport and J-15 carrier-borne fighter aircraft. (AP/PA)

J-15 carrier-based fighter
Also making its first parade appearance was the SAC J-15 carrier-based fighter. Aided by access from Ukraine to an early prototype of the Sukhoi Su-33 carrier-based fighter, SAC's J-15 emerged in May 2010. On 25 November 2012, China reported that the J-15 had made an arrested landing on the carrier Liaoning . Powered by Russian Saturn AL-31FN and Taihang turbofans, the J-15's performance is similar to that of the J-11B, although its range is reduced by its need to use a ski-jump for take-off.

H-6K strategic bomber
While Xian Aircraft Corporation's (XAC's) H-6K strategic bomber prototype reportedly flew in late 2007, it was not deployed until 2011, hence its first appearance in the 2015 parade. The most radical modification of Xian's copy of the Russian Tupolev Tu-16, the H-6K was the first Chinese version to replace the glass nose with a large radar and optical sensor. It also uses Russian Soloviev D-30-KP2 turbofans to achieve an estimated 3,000 km range. It has wing pylons for six missiles, such as the 1,500 km-range CJ-10K and the YJ-12, and carries many types of precision-guided bombs.


A KJ-200 AEW&C aircraft, left; a Y-8J, centre; and a Y-9JB, right. (AP/PA)

KJ-500 AEW&C aircraft
Making its first parade appearance, the Shaanxi Aircraft Corporation's KJ-500 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft reportedly entered PLA Air Force service in late 2014. It uses Shaanxi's proven Y-9 airframe with a new, lighter version of the active electronically scanned array used by the larger KJ-2000 AEW&C platform. Though at five hours, it has less endurance, it is also less expensive for the PLA to acquire.

Though well known, weapons in development and not yet in service may not appear until the next parade in October 2019. These might include the new large mobile DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile, the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation's J-20 fifth-generation fighter, and the XAC's Y-20 heavy air transport.


DF-10A ground attack cruise missiles. (AP/PA)
China showcases new weapon systems at 3 September parade - IHS Jane's 360


Feb 6, 2015
40 0 0
Well let's hope that the old saying 'if it was made in China it isn't good' doesn't apply to these equipment because I know that China is know for its mass production and not so great quality. Their equipment looks good but I hope they also perform the same way.


Jul 4, 2015
55 0 0
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
I gotta admit that I love the camouflage scheme on those Yj-12 carrying trucks. It looks very fitting for what the missile is made for.

I'm kinda surprised that the supposed stealth fighter China is developing did not make an appearance at the parade, that would have surely stirred up some emotions. But then again maybe it is just too early to show, or it does not exist at all. Who knows.