With tensions already rising due to the Chinese navy becoming more aggressive in asserting its territorial claims in the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy seems to have yet another reason to be deeply concerned.
After years of conjecture, details have begun to emerge of a “kill weapon” developed by the Chinese to target and destroy U.S. aircraft carriers.
First posted on a Chinese blog viewed as credible by military analysts and then translated by the naval affairs blog Information Dissemination, a recent report provides a description of an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) that can strike carriers and other U.S. vessels at a range of 2000km.
The range of the modified Dong Feng 21 missile is significant in that it covers the areas that are likely hot zones for future confrontations between U.S. and Chinese surface forces.
The size of the missile enables it to carry a warhead big enough to inflict significant damage on a large vessel, providing the Chinese the capability of destroying a U.S. supercarrier in one strike.
Because the missile employs a complex guidance system, low radar signature and a maneuverability that makes its flight path unpredictable, the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased. It is estimated that the missile can travel at mach 10 and reach its maximum range of 2000km in less than 12 minutes.
Supporting the missile is a network of satellites, radar and unmanned aerial vehicles that can locate U.S. ships and then guide the weapon, enabling it to hit moving targets.
While the ASBM has been a topic of discussion within national defense circles for quite some time, the fact that information is now coming from Chinese sources indicates that the weapon system is operational. The Chinese rarely mention weapons projects unless they are well beyond the test stages.
If operational as is believed, the system marks the first time a ballistic missile has been successfully developed to attack vessels at sea. Ships currently have no defense against a ballistic missile attack.
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This is not good. U.S. carrier groups have multiple layers of defense designed to defeat any over the horizon threat from naval vessels to aircraft to high speed cruise missiles. However, a guided warhead dropping from orbit, traveling at Mach 10, is an entirely different threat, one that, at least based on unclassified information, we’re currently unable to defend against.
/someone had better tell Obama that we can’t afford to cut back on the development and deployment of ballistic missile defense systems, we need them not only to protect American soil, but now our ships at sea as well
Filed under: Blog Entry | Tagged: Aircraft Carrier, Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile, ASBM, Ballistic Missile Defense System, China, DF-21, Dong Feng 21 Missile, Kill Weapon, Military, South China Sea, U.S. Navy | Leave a Comment »