China test-fires new YJ-21 hypersonic missile

The PLAN (People’s Liberation Army Navy) just released a video showing the launch of a new hypersonic missile from a Type 055 cruiser. The missile is likely the Eagle Strike YJ-21.

Naval News regular contributor and analyst H I Sutton identified the missile as the hypersonic YJ-21 anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM), based on the CM-401 design.

“The new missile outwardly resembles the CM-401 design, with the addition of a large booster phase. The CM-401 is roughly analogous to the Iskander missile although its diameter is only 600mm. It is possible that the new missile is related to the older CM-401 family, although the resemblance may be coincidental. And it may have a smaller diameter.”

H I Sutton, Naval Analyst and Naval News contributor

The YJ-21 characteristics are unknown because there has been no official notice of the test launch. The footage, on the other hand, implies a cold-launched (possibly two-stage) missile, implying an anti-ship ballistic missile with HGV. The control surfaces are rather small which means this is likely not an anti-air missile. According to open data, the VLS fitted aboard the Type 055s can accommodate missiles with the following maximum measurements: Length of 9 meters and diameter of 0.85 meters.

If this missile turns out to be the hypersonic YJ-21, the Type 055 cruisers would arguably become the most heavily armed warships worldwide.

The missile was fired form a Type 055 Renhai-class cruiser. With 8 ships already in the water, the Chinese Navy’s Type-055 Renhai Class cruiser is making waves. It is undoubtedly the most impressive surface combatant in the PLAN (Chinese Navy) line-up, making it a natural focus of observers. New intelligence suggests that at least two more are under construction in Dalian, China.

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