Conceptual drawing of the original Tsien DF-3 ICBM design. True configuration still unknown.
Credit: © Mark Wade
Status: Cancelled 1962.
Tsien was appointed Chief Designer of the missile on 14 November 1961. It was to be an ICBM using liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants, analogous to the American Atlas or Titan 1. However this was simply too great a leap forward for Chinese rocket technology. Furthermore, Tsien found himself to be unsuited to personal management of a large development project. Therefore, by the end of 1963, the project was cancelled.
Tsien had conducted a series of meetings with the Chinese leadership during the year to redefine China's missile development plans. There are clashes between Tsien, who favours an American engineering approach, and his staff, who were trained in Russian and favour the Soviet approach. Finally the missiles were defined by their target objectives, and a new development plan was adopted, with definite goals. The 1059 missile (copy of Russian R-2) was redesignated DF-1. The DF-2 was to be improved to carry an atomic bomb to a range sufficient to hit Japan. The DF-3 ICBM was cancelled, and the new DF-3 project would involve development of a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the Philippines (earlier referred to as the DF-1). The DF-4 was to be capable of hitting Guam, and the DF-5 would be an ICBM capable of reaching the United States. The DF-2, DF-3 and DF-4 would use strap-down accelerometer guidance packages, while the DF-5 was to be equipped with a full-fledged inertial guidance unit.