Last Updated 
PrintEmailFacebookTwitterLinkedInCopy Link

The DF-11 (Dong Feng-11 / M-11 / CSS-7) is a Chinese short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) with a range of up to 600 km. It was the PRC’s first conventionally-armed SRBM, and its export version, the M-11, is thought to be the basis for Pakistan’s Ghaznavi missiles, among others.1

DF-11 at a Glance

Originated from
Alternate names
CSS-7, M-11 (export version)
Possessed by
People’s Republic of China
Short-range ballistic missile (SRBM)
7.5 m
0.8 m
Launch Weight
3,800 kg
Single warhead, 500-800 kg
Nuclear 2/10/20 kt, HE, submunitions, FAE, or chemical
280-300 km (DF-11A: 500-600 km)
In Service

DF-11 Development

China began development of the M-11 – the DF-11’s predecessor – in 1984, as part of its “M” missile family produced specifically for export. The M-11 was likely developed as a competitive export and indigenous alternative to the Soviet R-17 (SS-1 ‘Scud B’). The Chinese missile initially evolved as a solid-fueled version of the liquid-fueled Scud, and benefits from significantly reduced launch preparation times associated with solid-fueled systems.2

China Sanjiang Space Group, previously called Base 066, led the research and development of the M-11.3 The group, an affiliate of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) Third Academy, had previously developed boosters for smaller tactical missiles, and began the export-oriented program amid growing funding pressures. The missile was slightly altered, flight tested in 1990, and re-designated as the DF-11 after it entered service with the PLA Second Artillery Corps in 1992.4

DF-11 Specifications

The DF-11 is 7.5 m long, 0.8 m in diameter, and weighs roughly 3,800 kg at launch. It can deliver a payload of 500 kg over a maximum distance of 300 km.5 The missile uses an inertial guidance system to achieve estimated accuracies of 600 m circular error probable (CEP). The DF-11 was initially developed with a conventional high-explosive warhead for export, but variants in service with the PLA may employ a 2/10/20 kt nuclear, fuel-air explosive (FAE), chemical, or submunition warhead. Four small control fins are located at the rear of its warhead section; it is unclear whether they are stabilizers or if they move and provide terminal control after warhead separation.6 The missile is launched from a four-axle wheeled transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) based on the Wanshan WS2400 chassis. The DF-11 system is thought to require 30 minutes to prepare for launch.7

DF-11A (CSS-7 Mod 2)

A lengthened, improved variant of the DF-11, the DF-11A offers an increased range, larger payload, and improved accuracy. Development began in 1993, and its existence was first reported in 1998. The DF-11A measures 8.5 m long and weighs approximately 4,200 kg. It can carry a 500 kg payload over a reported range of 500 – 600 km.8 The missile features an inertial navigation/satellite guidance system and can reach accuracies of 150-200 m CEP. Unconfirmed reports suggest that an optical correlation terminal guidance system was later fitted, which could further improve accuracy to 20-30 m CEP. China first flight tested the DF-11A in 1997, and the missile entered service with the China People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Second Artillery Corps in 1999.9


The DF-11AZT is a variant of the DF-11A thought to feature an earth-penetrating warhead. Images of the system were first broadcast by Chinese state media in 2016; it reportedly entered service some time before 2013.10

Service History

The DF-11 entered service with the PLA Second Artillery Corps (now PLA Rocket Force) in 1992. By 1996, four DF-11 equipped missile brigades deployed in Jiangshan (Zhejiang Province), Yungan and Xianyou (Fujian Province), and Meizhou (Guangdong Province).11 In 2009, a U.S. Department of Defense report stated that China had 700-750 operational missiles and 120-140 launchers.12 The same report notes that China had between 1,050 to 1,150 DF-11 and DF-15 SRBMs deployed opposite Taiwan, at locations which offer strikes times of 6-8 minutes.13

As of 2017, China has approximately 108 DF-11A missiles deployed across four brigades.14

Sales to Pakistan and Iran

In November 1992, China sold 34 M-11 missiles to Pakistan. Satellite images showed missile canisters were delivered at Sargodha air base near Lahore.15

The Chinese government initially denied these allegations, accusing U.S. intelligence agencies of fabricating evidence of the transfer. The United States reimposed economic sanctions in response.16 After Beijing provided a more explicit commitment to adhere to Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) guidelines and to stop exporting missiles, the Clinton Administration lifted sanctions in 1994.17

Although China pledged not to transfer missiles to Pakistan, it reportedly continued to assist Pakistan in developing its own indigenous missile capability.18 In 1992, China attempted to sell to Iran 500 DF-11 missiles. However, the deal was terminated due to U.S. pressure.19


    1. “Pakistan Tests New Ballistic Missile Capable of Carrying Multiple Nuclear Warheads,” The Diplomat, January 25, 2017, https://thediplomat.com/2017/01/pakistan-tests-new-ballistic-missile-capable-of-carrying-multiple-nuclear-warheads/.
    2. “DF-11 (CSS-7/M-11)” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic 2015-2016, ed. James C. O’Halloran (United Kingdom: IHS, 2015), 9.
    3. “China Sanjiang Space Group,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, October 25, 1996, http://www.nti.org/learn/facilities/68/.
    4. IHS Jane’s Strategic 2015-2016, 9-11; John W. Lewis and Hua Di, “China’s Ballistic Missile Programs: Technologies, Strategies, Goals,” International Security 17, No. 2 (1992), p. 36.
    5. Ibid.
    6. Ibid.
    7. Ibid; Peter Wood and Alex Stone, China’s Ballistic Missile Industry, (Montgomery, AL: China Aerospace Studies Institute, 2021).
    8. Ibid.
    9. Ibid.
    10. Henri Kehnmann, “Une variante anti-bunker finalement pas si nouvelle [DF-11AZT: An anti-bunker variant ultimately not so new],” East Pendulum, May 16, 2017, http://www.eastpendulum.com/df-11azt-variante-finalement-nouvelle.
    11. “China Sanjiang Space Group,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, October 25, 1996, http://www.nti.org/learn/facilities/68/.
    12. “Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2009,” Department of Defense, 2009, 66, https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/China_Military_Power_Report_2009.pdf.
    13. Ibid., 48.; “Air base defense: Taiwan’s defensive responses to China’s missile threat” in Taiwan’s Security and Air Power: Taiwan’s Defense Against the Air Threat from Mainland China, ed. Martin Edmonds and Michael M. Tsai (United Kingdom: Routledge, 2004), 142.
    14. “Chapter Six: Asia,” in The Military Balance 2017, (United Kingdom: IISS, 2017), 279.
    15. “DF-11,” Federation of American Scientists, September 9, 2000, https://fas.org/nuke/guide/china/theater/df-11.htm.
    16. “U.S. Imposes Sanctions on China, Pakistan Over Missile Deal,” Los Angeles Times, August 26, 1993, http://articles.latimes.com/1993-08-26/news/mn-28209_1_missile-technology-control-regime.
    17. “U.S. to Lift Ban on Satellite Tech Sales to China,” The Los Angeles Times, October 5, 1994, http://articles.latimes.com/1994-10-05/news/mn-46694_1_clinton-administration-officials.
    18. Shirley A. Kan, “China and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Missiles: Policy Issues,” Congressional Research Service, (January 5, 2015), 6, https://fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/RL31555.pdf.
    19. Ethan Meick, “China’s Reported Ballistic Missile Sale to Saudi Arabia: Background and Potential Implications,” U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, (June 16, 2014), 4, https://www.uscc.gov/sites/default/files/Research/Staff%20Report_China%27s%20Reported%20Ballistic%20Missile%20Sale%20to%20Saudi%20Arabia_0.pdf.
PrintEmailFacebookTwitterLinkedInCopy Link

Cite this Page

Missile Defense Project, "DF-11," Missile Threat, Center for Strategic and International Studies, January 29, 2018, last modified August 3, 2021, https://missilethreat.csis.org/missile/dong-feng-11/.