China Carries Out Ballistic Missile Defense Test Amid Related Developments

“It is worth noting that this is not the first time the Chinese military has announced a successful land-based midcourse anti-missile test.”

In August, China fired ballistic missiles over Taiwan and into Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) during mass military exercises, demonstrating that the mobility and survivability of its conventional and nuclear forces are improving.  In the past seven years, China’s strategic missile forces have been reorganized, expanded, and equipped with several new types of long-range precision cruise and road-mobile ballistic missiles (see “China’s New Road-Mobile ICBM DF-41 Official Unveiled,” OE Watch, November 2019). China continues to diversify its missile defense system platforms and the quality of training for its nuclear forces (see “China’s Rocket Forces Conduct Readiness Training,” OE Watch, April 2019).  A parallel development involves the development of anti-ballistic missile systems.  According to the excerpted article below, China successfully conducted another test of a ground-based mid-course ballistic missile defense system in June.  China is also developing an airborne leg of its nuclear forces to complement its existing nuclear ballistic missile submarines, road-mobile, and rapidly expanding silo-based missile force.  Along with its extensive use of decoys, hardened shelters, and other passive defenses, the addition of tested ballistic missile defense systems can only further improve the overall capability and survivability of China’s growing nuclear force.


“中国成功实施陆基中段反导拦截技术试验 (China Successfully Carries out Test of Ground-based Mid-course Intercepting Ballistic Missile Defense System),” The Observer Online (Independent PRC media), 20 June 2022. 

According to the Chinese Ministry of Defense’s public Wechat account, on 19 June 2022, China successfully carried out a land-based mid-course anti-missile interception technology test within its territory.  This test is defensive in nature and not directed against any country. 

China is one of the few countries that has mastered land-based mid-course missile interception technology.  Only China, the United States, and Japan have conducted similar tests.  It is worth noting that this is not the first time the Chinese military has announced a successful land-based midcourse anti-missile test. 

According to public information, the PRC Ministry of National Defense previously announced that it had “successfully carried out a test of ground-based anti-ballistic missile technology” or “achieved the expected purpose” five times… 

In an interview with CCTV News, military expert Shao Yongling [邵永灵] previously commented on CCTV News that land-based mid-course anti-missile technology is a strategic investment in scientific and technical reserves [技术储备] (Note: this term refers to small-scale testing which lays the foundation for more significant capabilities in the future). She said that all countries currently emphasize both offense and defense. China has stated that it will not be the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict and has limited the scale of development of its nuclear forces. Therefore, it is necessary to develop appropriate defensive capabilities to ensure the survivability of its nuclear force.