"I greatly appreciate your very swift response, and your organization's work in general. It's a terrific source of authoritative information."

– Lisa Beyer
Bloomberg News
August 27, 2018
China Advances Ballistic Missile Defense
Share this

China is advancing a new ballistic missile interceptor, the HQ-19, according to an annual U.S. Defense Department report, in a development that may indicate progress toward a deployed missile defense system. As of May 2016, the missile was still undergoing testing to intercept ballistic missiles having a range of 3,000 kilometers. An operational HQ-19 interceptor would be armed with a kinetic kill vehicle and be able to target ballistic missiles and satellites in lower-earth orbit. The HQ-19 is a significantly updated variant of the HQ-9, a long-range surface-to-air missile that has a limited capacity to hit short-range ballistic missiles up to 500 kilometers in range.

China has successfully intercepted ballistic missiles with ground-based interceptors in tests in 2010 and 2013, but experts remain uncertain whether China intends to deploy a missile defense system. If so, China would likely deploy a limited number of point-based missile interceptors to protect key strategic targets, such as its intercontinental ballistic missiles, according to 2013 blog post by Li Bin, senior fellow at the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.—ALICIA SANDERS-ZAKRE