The missile was shown to the public during the parade in Beijing celebrating 70 years since the end of World War II on September 3, 2015.A parade video shows missiles marked as DF-21D.
This is an anti-ship ballistic missile that has a maximum range exceeding 1,450 kilometres (900 mi; 780 nmi), according to the U.S. National Air and Space Intelligence Center. The Intelligence Center did not believe it was deployed in 2009.The guidance system is thought to be still in an evolutionary process as more UAVs and satellites are added.
The US Department of Defense stated in 2010 that China has developed and reached initial operating capability (IOC) of a conventionally armed high hypersonic land-based anti-ship ballistic missile based on the DF-21. This is the first ASBM and weapon system capable of targeting a moving aircraft carrier strike group from long-range, land-based mobile launchers.The DF-21D is thought to employ maneuverable reentry vehicles (MaRVs) with a terminal guidance system. It may have been tested in 2005-6, and the launch of the Jianbing-5/YaoGan-1 and Jianbing-6/YaoGan-2 satellites offering targeting information from synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and visual imaging respectively. The upgrades enhance China's ability to prevent US carriers from operating in the Taiwan Strait.Some have also suggested China could develop a "MIRVd" DF-21D with multiple independent missiles.
United States Naval Institute in 2009 stated that such a warhead would be large enough to destroy an aircraft carrier in one hit and that there was "currently ... no defense against it" if it worked as theorized. The United States Navy has responded by switching its focus from a close blockade force of shallow water vessels to return to building deep water ballistic missile defense destroyers.The United States has also assigned most of its ballistic missile defense capable ships to the Pacific, extended the BMD program to all Aegis destroyers and increased procurement of SM-3 BMD missiles.The United States also has a large network optimized for tracking ballistic missile launches which may give carrier groups sufficient warning in order to move away from the target area while the missile is in flight.Kinetic defenses against the DF-21D would be difficult. The Navy's primary ballistic missile interceptor, the SM-3, would not be effective since it is designed to intercept missiles in the mid-course phase in space, so it would have to be launched almost immediately to hit before reentry or from an Aegis ship positioned under its flight path. The SM-2 Block 4 can intercept missiles reentering the atmosphere, but the warhead will be performing high-G maneuvers that may complicate interception.
美国海军研究所在2009年称，在一次打击中这样的战斗部将大到足以摧毁一个航空母舰，并“目前…没有防御”，如果它的作战如同设计理论。美国海军已作出回应改变其重点从浅水舰艇近距离封锁力量重返去建造深水弹道导弹防御驱逐舰。美国也派其大部分弹道导弹防御能力的军舰到太平洋，扩展弹道导弹防御（BMD）计划的所有宙斯盾驱逐舰和增加采购SM-3 BMD导弹。美国也有一个大的网络跟踪弹道导弹发射能够在导弹飞行时给航母战斗群以足够的警告远离目标区域。动态防御对抗DF-21D是困难的。海军的主要弹道导弹拦截器，SM-3型，不会有效，因为它的目的是拦截在空间中的中段导弹，所以它必须发射几乎立即打击再入运载器或从一个定位它的飞行路径下的宙斯盾舰。SM-2 Block 4型导弹可以拦截重返大气层的再入运载器，但弹头将执行高G机动，可能会使拦截复杂化。
Use of such missile has been said by some experts to potentially lead to nuclear exchange, regional arms races with India and Japan, and the end of the INF Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union, to which the People's Republic of China is not a party.
China has recently launched a series of satellites to support its ASBM efforts:
Yaogan-VII electro-optical satellite - 9 December 2009
Yaogan-VIII synthetic aperture radar satellite - 14 December 2009
Yaogan-IX Naval Ocean Surveillance System (NOSS) constellation (3 satellites in formation) - 5 March 2010.
Yaogan-XVI Naval Ocean Surveillance System (NOSS) constellation - 25 November 2012
China is reported to be working on an Over-the-horizon radar to locate the targets for the ASBM. An apparent test of the missile was made against a target in the Gobi desert in January 2013.
In late 2013, a Russian Military Analysis report of the DF-21D concluded that the only way to successfully counter it would be through electronic countermeasures. Conventional interceptions of high-speed objectives have worked in the past, with the Russian report citing the 2008 interception of a malfunctioning satellite by a U.S. cruiser, but in that situation the warship had extensive knowledge of its location and trajectory. Against an attack from the Mach 10 DF-21D without knowing the missile's launch point, the U.S. Navy's only way to evade it would be through electronic countermeasures.
The emergence of the DF-21D has some analysts claiming that the "carrier killer" missiles have rendered the American use of aircraft carriers obsolete, as they are too vulnerable in the face of the new weapon and not worth the expense. Military leaders in the U.S. Navy and Air Force, however, do not see it as a "game changer" to completely count carriers out. First, the missile may not be able to single-handedly destroy its target, as the warhead is believed to be enough to only inflict a "mission kill" to make a carrier unable to conduct flight operations. Secondly, there is the problem of finding its target. The DF-21D has a range estimated between 1,035 to 1,726 mi (899 to 1,500 nmi; 1,666 to 2,778 km), so a carrier battle group would need to be located through other means before launching. Over-the-horizon radars cannot pinpoint their exact locations, and would have to be used in conjunction with Chinese recon satellites; recon aircraft and submarines could also look for them, but they are vulnerable to the carrier's defenses. Finally, although the DF-21D has radar and optical sensors for tracking, it has not yet been tested against a ship target moving at-sea at up to 55 km/h (30 kn; 34 mph), let alone ones using clutter and countermeasures. The "kill chain" of the missile requires processing and constantly updating data of a carrier's location, preparing the launch, programming information, and then firing, a chain the U.S. military's AirSea Battle concept involves disrupting.Some U.S. analysts believe that the DF-21D doesn't fly any faster than Mach 5.
The DF-21D reentry vehicle appears to bear similarities to the American Pershing II missile's RV, which was withdrawn from service in 1988. The Pershing II's RV weighed 1,400 lb (640 kg) and was fitted with four control fins to perform a 25-G pull-up after reentering the atmosphere, traveling at Mach 8 and then gliding 30 nmi (35 mi; 56 km) to the target to pitch into a terminal dive. Army training manuals about the missile are available on the internet and public open-source literature extensively describes it; the DF-21 has a comparable range and payload. Though much is made of the DF-21D's damage infliction ability based solely on velocity and kinetic energy, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute has calculated that the energy of an inert 500 kg (1,100 lb) RV impacting at Mach 6 had similar energy to the combined kinetic and explosive power of the American subsonic Harpoon anti-ship missile, which is one-quarter the energy of the Russian supersonic 12,800 lb (5,800 kg) Kh-22 missile traveling at Mach 4 with a 2,200 lb (1,000 kg) warhead.
DF-21D再入飞行器似乎相似美国潘兴II导弹的重返大气层飞行器( RV，Reentry Vehicle)，这在1988年退役。潘兴II的重返大气层飞行器重达1400磅（640公斤），重返大气层后装有四个控制翼片去执行一个25G上拉，在8马赫速度飞行然后滑行30海里（35英里；56公里）到目标投入末端俯冲。陆军训练手册关于导弹的情况都可以在互联网和公共开源文献中被广泛描述它；东风-21有一个类似射程和有效载荷。虽然东风-21D的大部分破坏能力完全基于速度和动能，澳大利亚战略政策研究所计算出一枚惰性500公斤（1100磅）6马赫的重返大气层飞行器的能量也有类似美国亚音速鱼叉反舰导弹结合动力学和爆炸力产生的能量，这是俄罗斯超音速12800磅（5800公斤）kh-22导弹以4马赫连同一个2200磅（1000公斤）弹头产生能量的四分之一。