The Chinese military began to develop a more advanced recoverable reconnaissance satellite FSW-2 (Jian Bing 1B) in the late 1980s. The new satellite had an increased mass of 2,600 kg, exceeding the maximal payload capacity of the Long March 2C.
CALT responded to the requirement by proposing a redesigned Long March 2C with increased payload capacity, but the proposal was rejected by the military due to the excessive development cost. As a result, the Ministry of Astronautics decided in 1990 to adopt the Long March 2D concept proposed by Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST, or 8th Academy) for the FSW-2 missions.
Featuring a payload capacity of 3,100 kg to LEO, the Long March 2D was derived from the three-stage Long March 4A, which was based on the same Dong Feng-5 ICBM design on which the 2C model was developed. Despite sharing the same basic design with the Long March 2C family, the Long March 4A was incorporated with features and technologies of the Hurricane 1 (Feng Bao-1) launch vehicle developed by SAST in the 1970s.
The development of the Long March 2D began in February 1990 and took two years to complete. The first flight of the launch vehicle took place from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre on 9 August 1992, successfully lofting FSW-2-01 into orbit.