Accession Number:



A Potent Vector: Assessing Chinese Cruise Missile Developments

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:


Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The numerous, increasingly advanced cruise missiles being developed and deployed by the Peoples Republic of China PRC have largely flown under the publics radar. This article surveys PRC cruise missile programs and assesses their implications for broader People s Liberation Army PLA capabilities, especially in a Taiwan scenario. This article draws on findings from a multiyear comprehensive study of Chinese cruise missiles based exclusively on open sources. More than 1,000 discrete Chinese-language sources were considered several hundred have been incorporated in some form. In descending level of demonstrated authority, these Chinese sources include PLA doctrinal publications for example, Science of Campaigns describing how cruise missiles might be used in operational scenarios specialized technical analyses Winged Missiles Journal from civilian and military institutes detailing many specific aspects of such weapons and their supporting infrastructure didactic PLA discussions Modern Navy and People s Navy generalist deliberations on the development trajectory and operational use of cruise missiles Naval and Merchant Ships and Modern Ships and unattributed speculation on a variety of Web sites. To be accessible to a general audience, this article includes only a fraction of the several hundred citations found in the full study, together with several related sources. These Chinese sources were supplemented with a wide variety of English-language sources, including in descending level of demonstrated authority U.S. Government reports, analyses by scholars and think tanks, and online databases. The authors drew on their combined technical, arms control, and Chinese analysis experience to compare and assess information for reliability. The result is a study whose details must be treated with caution, but whose larger findings are likely to hold.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Guided Missiles
  • Countermeasures

Distribution Statement: