Chinese “Kill Weapon”

Report: Chinese Develop Special “Kill Weapon” to Destroy U.S. Aircraft Carriers

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.

While troubling, I don’t know that I’d get all upset over this report. Investigate it ? For sure. Work on ideas for defenses against this or similar threats? Absolutely. It could very well be real, and, if it is, it could very well work decently. They’d only have to hit once to change things in a major way.

At the same time, I’d be more worried about submarines and the threat of submarines.

Also, a recent Linkzookery pointed out that the anti-missile Aegis ships are going to be upgraded to allow them to use their SM-2 missiles against ballistic missiles. The SM-2 has a much shorter range than the SM-3, but the added flexibility to use the full load of Standard Missiles against ballistic missiles is a good deal. And the shorter range wouldn’t be such a limitation if used against these “kill weapons.” If the anti-missile SM-2 upgrade would allow engagement of these things, that’s probably the way to go.

I wonder what it would take to get that anti-missile SM-2 upgrade for all Aegis ships. That would create a whole fleet of carrier escorts equipped to deal with this threat and turn the SM-2 into a “Kill Weapon Killer.”

Comments

  1. The ballistic anti-ship missile is a semi-real threat provided you have either 1) Space assets to target the carrier or 2) Air or sea units to target the carrier. Space is the more threatening. Either way, you going to need some serious C4 assets to get this plan off the ground.

    An active homing ballistic missile has existed in the US arsenal for years. The Pershing II, could be relatively easily modified to hit slow moving, big target (2+million RCS target) like a carrier. So the threat should be considered a real possibility.

    That said, compared to sea skimming super/hyper sonic cruise missiles, the threat is minor. All it really is, is an attempt to create a media inspired buffer zone where carriers would not operate. Give the Chinese about 15 years and 10 billion dollars of equipment, and you might have something worth shooting down with a SM-2.

  2. Check out today’s story on Strategypage.com.

    http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htintel/articles/20090403.aspx

    It gives good background. The Chicoms claim they stole Pershing II guidance technology and converted it. Problem is they have never conducted any tests of such a weapon. Taking it on faith? I don’t think so. The Chicom Carrier Killer is about as real as the new indigineous Iranian Fighter, Tank, etc. Talk is cheap, but demonstrating is another story. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  3. >They’re gonna sink Japan, Guam, and Diego Garcia…?

    And if a shooting war does erupt, you can add Taiwan to the list of unsinkable aircraft carriers.

  4. Of course, if I were the Navy, I’d use this as justification for funding development of a defensive laser. I know smaller ones are already being researched, but with a carrier, you’ve got a nuclear powerplant to hook the thing up to.

    Of course, such a laser could have obvious spin-off ability into the TMD/NMD arena, as well.

  5. Interesting that Cali-forni-a, just released the news of such a laser weapon…hmmmmmmmm!

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