On 31 December 2015, the People’s Liberation Army Second Artillery Corps (PLA SAC) was officially elevated in its status from a service arm (兵种) to a full service branch (军种), on par with the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Its name was also changed to the PLA Rocket Force (中国人民解放军火箭军).
The PLARF oeprates all of China’s land-based strategic ballistic missiles, as well as most of its conventional short- to medium-range ballistic missiles. It consists of a headquarters in Beijing, and a number of ‘bases’, which are corps-sized units, each consisting of several missile launch brigades and support units.
The establishment of the PLARF is part of a PLA-wide restructring programme aimed to streamline the armed forces, reducing force size, and improve command and control.