Great news: Chinese perfecting “game-changing” anti-carrier missile

posted at 6:51 pm on August 6, 2010 by Allahpundit

Just the story you want to read during a summer filled with reports of Chinese admirals ranting at visiting U.S. defense officials and tensions escalating over where it is and isn’t okay for U.S. ships to operate. Presumably a defense system is already in the works, but with deep cuts to the Pentagon’s budget assured in the years ahead as we inch towards austerity (The One’s deficit commission is already talking about freezing military pay), who knows what will and won’t be funded? But then, that’s actually good news, isn’t it? American military dominance has always, supposedly, been a key problem in international relations. Imagine how much things will improve once Chinese fascists — or whoever they’re willing to sell to — can neutralize U.S. naval power from land and restore the “balance of power.”

Exciting!

While a nuclear bomb could theoretically sink a carrier, assuming its user was willing to raise the stakes to atomic levels, the conventionally-armed Dong Feng 21D’s uniqueness is in its ability to hit a powerfully defended moving target with pin-point precision…

“The Navy has long had to fear carrier-killing capabilities,” said Patrick Cronin, senior director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the nonpartisan, Washington-based Center for a New American Security. “The emerging Chinese antiship missile capability, and in particular the DF 21D, represents the first post-Cold War capability that is both potentially capable of stopping our naval power projection and deliberately designed for that purpose.”…

“China can reach out and hit the U.S. well before the U.S. can get close enough to the mainland to hit back,” said Toshi Yoshihara, an associate professor at the U.S. Naval War College. He said U.S. ships have only twice been that vulnerable — against Japan in World War II and against Soviet bombers in the Cold War.

Carrier-killing missiles “could have an enduring psychological effect on U.S. policymakers,” he e-mailed to The AP. “It underscores more broadly that the U.S. Navy no longer rules the waves as it has since the end of World War II. The stark reality is that sea control cannot be taken for granted anymore.”

Verdict from a professor at the Naval War College: This could usher in a “new epoch of international order in which Beijing emerges to displace the United States.” The silver lining here is that pinpoint accuracy at missile speed is obviously a difficult trick, so no one’s quite sure when China will have hammered out all the kinks. The gray cloud is that the AP really isn’t overhyping the threat, as sometimes happens in stories about enemy capabilities. For instance, compare and contrast today’s piece with this one written almost 18 months ago. Exit question for military (preferably naval) readers: Big trouble here or overblown?


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If the Chinese know an attack on a carrier will be met with a thermo-nuclear reponse, I bet then think longer than twice about it.

Zelsdorf Ragshaft on August 6, 2010 at 7:23 PM

You are right, but do you really believe that they would think that?

Tav on August 6, 2010 at 9:21 PM

I think this country still is the worlds leader in the seas on the land and in the air, our problem since Viet-Nam is our collective will to exorcise that power correctly.

fourdeucer on August 6, 2010 at 7:05 PM

Oh, the Dems have been successfully exorcising American power for decades. What we need is for them to exercise our power more effectively. ;)

holygoat on August 6, 2010 at 9:25 PM

That open hand is getting slapped.

Hummer53 on August 6, 2010 at 9:31 PM

The problem would have come for the British regarding logistical support and political willpower to sustain losses.
–Yet an operational ground failure on the islands was still a possibility even given the Argentine command’s shoddy support for the inappropriately chosen units it sent there. The (admittedly tenacious) FAA was even less prepared for extended sorties against a NATO power – with the corresponding butcher’s bill flying through British air defences entailed – than the Argentine brigades sent to occupy the islands. Britain was very fortunate that the Argentine commanders didn’t know how small the British attackers moving against Goose Green really were.

Sadly the US probably sold it to them in one form or another.
–It may have been stolen from somewhere else. Russian R&D is not all rip-offs of US or German designs.

One serious problem with copying another’s work is that some of the same flaws may show up – in addition to some new ones. With its unwieldy, heavily state-managed defence industries and dubious HT production processes, China likely has a long way to go before weapons of this purported calibre emerge on its testing grounds. One may wonder how many components of these new weapons (stabilizers, guidance systems, software upgrades) will require Western – or Taiwanese – contract suppliers.

Grunchy Cranola on August 6, 2010 at 9:38 PM

Significant threat.

exhelodrvr on August 6, 2010 at 9:41 PM

You need to remember that we would be operating relatively close to their land-based air and surface-surface missiles sites. Not a pretty scenario.

exhelodrvr on August 6, 2010 at 9:46 PM

While a nuclear bomb could theoretically sink a carrier
Theoretically?

Luka on August 6, 2010 at 7:01 PM

Yep, theoetically. Most of the ships sunk in the atomic bomb tests were sunk by the weight of the sea bottom scoured out and tossed into the air by the blast. Many ships, remarkably close to the blasts remained afloat. This is why they have CBN protection systems, including super-structure washdown.

Cricket624 on August 6, 2010 at 10:02 PM

Ok, very late, but I’ll play.
.
I’m not particularly enthusastic about defending Taiwan. We’ve been doing it for decades and it’s cost a lot. In return, we’ve lost a lot of industry, manufacturing and technology to Taiwan …..
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The Government of Taiwan may have at one point truly intended to recapture the mainland from the Communists, but those days are gone forever. Certain legitimate political parties in Taiwan are favorably inclined towards unification with the PRC; they’ve changed, so we can too. The situation seems to have really become now a (ethnic, political, whatever –> internal) Chinese dispute, and I see no reason to shed American blood ……
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Having said that, I’m easily slightly to the right of most posters here in terms of US defense. And the PRC attitude towards the US, certainly as illuminated by the articles in the links in the thread topic, is an exercise in unfounded paranoia and needless fingerpointing.
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Historically, China has not extended much past the visible limit from their current shoreline and maybe a few islands. They’ve not lost territory, only vassals. A lot of people in the area remember this, and feel that “American Hegemony”, if that’s truly what it is, really isn’t so bad.
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Somewhat more importantly, I see the situation as the beginning of Chinese expansionism. I’m not real thrilled about this, as I see China’s human right record over the last 60 years; internally, it isn’t good, externally (Africa), it seems much worse. There’s a reason that all of China’s neighbors are nervous about China …
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The DF21D sounds impressive; Mach 10? Ok, that’s about right for re-entry velocity. CEP of 120 feet? Good, but this is against a stationary target, like a city or a silo. Maneuvering at M10, in space, to hit a city (20kmx20km), has some difficulty. Maneuvering in space, to avoid countermeasures, is slightly more complex, and hitting close enough to a solo seems possible. But if the target is moving, maybe evading, course corrections are needed, and maybe in the low atmosphere. Course corrections require target tracking and communications; satellites, subs, … there’s a lot of risk of failure.
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I doubt that a nuclear warhead would be used; the political cost is very high, and retaliation easily justified, certainly against many military targets. There’s a base on Hainan, probably a few on the mainland …
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The DF2D may not be a particularly lethal system, but it at least points to a way to sink a carrier with little cash and military risk. Eventually, like the submarine, torpedo and carrier, it will prove itself. However, we still have time. Countermeasures, counter-countermeasures, various new technology, etc., should buy us another 20 or so years of use.
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FWIW, I suspect that the next generation of US carriers (not the updated Nimitz class), if they are built, will be the last series of large carriers built. Absolute cost is very high (even though it makes sense over decades), build time is very long, and vulnerability is increasing. The ability of a carrier to provide a friendly airstrip virtually anywhere in the world is extremely valuable, and this value will never disappear.
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Perhaps very small carriers: 25,000tons, 5-10 AC, and lots of electronics, something that looks a lot like a converted cruiser, are the wave of the future.

Arbalest on August 6, 2010 at 10:03 PM

Instead of the carriers, send in the subs. Theirs are getting better, but not competitive with our Virginias and, sans carriers, surface ships are just targets anyway.

It’ll be ugly, but it’ll be China-ugly.

Cricket624 on August 6, 2010 at 10:05 PM

Makes one think back to our remaining mothballed “Iowas”.

Twelve to eighteen inches of solid steel armor at important areas

bullet proof to many current weapons (Exocet would mar the paint)

lethal with it’s original armament

could keep up speed with fast attack groups

Cost too much to run though

Sonosam on August 6, 2010 at 10:07 PM

Perhaps very small carriers: 25,000tons, 5-10 AC, and lots of electronics, something that looks a lot like a converted cruiser, are the wave of the future.

Been tried, many times. Doesn’t work for an offensive system. We have the LHDs for the Marines – that’s just assault and close air support. But converted and composite small carriers have been tried. The problem is you need to be able to carry a large number of strike and interceptor aircraft and be able to deploy them rapidly in order to have any punch at all. Only one plan does that – the split deck carrier.

Cricket624 on August 6, 2010 at 10:12 PM

Oh, the Dems have been successfully exorcising American power for decades. What we need is for them to exercise our power more effectively. ;)

holygoat on August 6, 2010 at 9:25 PM

You are so correct, my spelling and typing skills are non existent.

fourdeucer on August 6, 2010 at 10:12 PM

The obvious question is whether the SM-3 can intercept such a missile.

year_of_the_dingo on August 6, 2010 at 10:28 PM

Cricket624 on August 6, 2010 at 10:12 PM
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To address you points out of sequence:
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The problem is you need to be able to carry a large number of strike and interceptor aircraft and be able to deploy them rapidly in order to have any punch at all.
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Yes, but we also see that this is a race. At some point the weapon systems become more effective, so fewer platforms (AC) with new weapons will be as effective as older systems. On paper, this is true, the F-16/JDAM and Predator/Hellfire combinations seem to confirm this. With the F-22 & F-35 we seem to be banking on it in very hostile environments.
.
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Only one plan does that – the split deck carrier.
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Yes, but someone is spending a lot of resources and money …… eventually, our high-cost carriers will be much too vulnerable …… time to plan ahead.
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But converted and composite small carriers have been tried.
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Yes, but we have new technology. Remember, the early the early guided missiles and bombs (c. 1968 Vietnam) did not work particularly well, for various reasons, some of them avoidable. But now, things are very different.
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We expect the F-35 to be a major success, and quite formidable, both as a strike AC and as an interceptor.
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One of the problems the British had in the Falklands was no AWACS. At one point they had the Fairey Gannet, but not in 1982. Unfortunately, it required a catapult …… We currently have the V-22, a slightly larger AC that can carry 20,000lb for about 3 hours; 20,000lb of fuel as a tanker, or 20,000lb of fuel and electronics as an AWACS. It also has VTOL abilities.
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With these 2 systems, plus the probable improvements, we have most of the components needed. Now for a hull. California? Virginia? Decommissioned, but maybe they are a starting point. The idea is to get as much of the value of a carrier in a form factor that is much less vulnerable. Quantity helps reduce vulnerability.

Arbalest on August 6, 2010 at 10:56 PM

The crucial and utterly decisive battlespace to be won or lost in any conflict, is the six inches between your enemy’s ears!
If we allow the Chinese to believe that we cannot, or will not, defend Taiwan’s independence then Taiwan is doomed. This missile or that fleet is a rotting pile of garbage without the well understood will to use it.
Remember why Pearl Harbor was attacked and the entire Pacific seized in 1941? Not because the Imperial Japanese Fleet could do it, but because the Japanese Imperial Army was convinced that America was so gutless and corrupt, and distracted in Europe, that it would never take the casualties inherent in a campaign to recapture the Pacific islands. The Roosevelt Administration blatantly failed to make the power we had credible to the generals who were running Japan.
In other words, they lost the war for the battlespace between Hideki Tojo’s ears.
Similarly, no matter what weapons the Chinese develop or steal or buy, if they come to believe that they can expand into the neighboring Pacific islands without getting their nose busted by the U.S., they’ll do it in a heartbeat. Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philipines all hang by that thread and they are all painfully aware of it.
So, is this new anti-carrier missile a big deal? It depends upon how the Obama administration reacts to it. If they calmly track its progress and visibly develop and maintain credible countermeasures, along with a policy of rock solid resolve to keep China within its borders, the missile won’t matter. If however, they start waffling and pontificating about the “inevitable” rise of competing superpowers and cutting military spending and “negotiating” about the fate of independent countries in the region in search of “Peace”, then the missile is everything.
The battlespace has then become the six inches between Obama’s ears, and the Chinese will have dominated and won it.

Lew on August 6, 2010 at 11:19 PM

First the Chinese would have to be able to locate the target. Finding an aircraft carrier in the ocean is quite difficult. Then there would have to be targeting data sent back to the launcher. That would either have to be a satellite or aircraft transmission. Both are vulnerable. Then the missile has to detect the target in its terminal phase and not be jammed. And if the missile did impact, the warhead would have to be substantial. Missiles traveling that fast are not likely to be weighed down by massive warheads. It would take swarms to do substantial damage. In any case, it’s a threat, but we have time to counter it.

NNtrancer on August 6, 2010 at 11:28 PM

Also, the Russians developed the SS-N-22 Sunburn anti-ship missile, which comes in at Mach 2.5, and then sold it to the Chinese. I suspect the Chinese just improved on it. If the missile can be launched from a submerged submarine, it would be very dangerous. But if launched from 900 miles away, then, as I indicated previously, there’s a targeting problem. Chinese conventional subs are quiet, so they do pose a threat even with more conventional weapons. So I don’t see anything that’s game changing in this report. I could be wrong, however, since I don’t have the entire story.

NNtrancer on August 6, 2010 at 11:35 PM

Missiles traveling that fast are not likely to be weighed down by massive warheads. It would take swarms to do substantial damage. In any case, it’s a threat, but we have time to counter it.

NNtrancer on August 6, 2010 at 11:28 PM

The DF-21 has a warhead of 1,320 lbs. Its big. The exocet has a warhead of 360 lbs. The US Harpoon has a 487lbs warhead. Cluster munitions can typically penetrate 120mm to 250mm of steel. The flight deck of a carrier is 90mm thick.

Locating the carrier is the trick, but that applies to a strike of any sort. It is going to be blasting out radio, communications, and radar signals of all sorts so its general location isn’t going to be much of a secret. Say within about 20 to 30 miles. A ballistic course can target the center of that and adjust its course on the way down.

Not easy, but hardly impossible.

sharrukin on August 6, 2010 at 11:40 PM

As Sun Tzu or Sun Ra said: “Weakness is an invitation to predators.”

The Obama Doctrine is Weakness.

profitsbeard on August 6, 2010 at 11:45 PM

Two aircraft . . .blah . . blah . .blah

sharrukin on August 6, 2010 at 8:40 PM

Having actually been there and done that, I know for a fact you have no clue what you are talking about. Even in a non-threat environment, when actually CONDUCTING FLIGHT OPS, we would normally have a minimum of 15 – 20 aircraft airborne, and double that right after launch and prior to recovery. In a non-threat area when NOT conducting flight ops, your 2 aircraft on “Alert” status is more accurate, but that was not the situation posited.

Additionally, we have had the capability for more than 20 years to make any missle like this think that the carrier is somewhere where it is not. This missle simply is not the major threat it is made out to be, although the Chinese propaganda ministers would love for you to believe it was.

You can live in fear and trembling if you like, but having actually flown fighters off of a carrier deck both back when there WAS a credible threat in the form of the Soviet Union and in more recent combat, most of the people commenting here have no idea of our capabilities. Although, the attrition in the number of carriers we maintain is hugely problematic, their capabilities are being incredibly underestimated.

We do NOT operate based solely on “escort radar and communications” and, in fact, rarely rely on such assets. The Navy normally uses its own version of AWACS, or airborn radar and control, not to mention the fact that every pilot is trained to be able to operate independent of ANY ground or air-based controllers, something that has always given us a massive advantage over our potential rivals.

As to your other points, one does not conquer a nation with a single carrier, nor do you conquer it with a single tank or a single soldier, that does not render the tank, the solder or the carrier useless. To even venture forth a statement as silly as “We didn’t conquer Iraq with a carrier” is beyond belief.

Fatal on August 7, 2010 at 12:43 AM

P.S. Carriers do not “blast out” radar or communications signals when in a threat environment.

Fatal on August 7, 2010 at 12:46 AM

One of the things to remember is the US debt owed to China. An attack on the US would allow us to declare it null and void, without the usual penalties of defaulting.

Slowburn on August 7, 2010 at 1:00 AM

P.S. Carriers do not “blast out” radar or communications signals when in a threat environment.

Fatal on August 7, 2010 at 12:46 AM

Most of what you said is just babble.

What you said previously was…

First, in ANY kind of threat environment, we run flight ops 24 hours a day – thus we ALWAYS have aircraft airborne.

15-20 aircraft are not kept constantly in the air and if you are claiming that you never served on carriers, or you’re an idiot. Otherwise you would have a standing patrol which is what I stated. The Chinese would be the ones who decided when to launch a missile strike and to think that a mission package would be coincidentally on hand is fantasy. If a mission was being conducted it is far more likely it would be on its way, or returning.

Otherwise you are talking about a battle group detecting an incoming strike and then launching fleet defense. A DF-21 strike would arrive on target in 9-12 minutes and the alert time from active radar would be less than that. Even if the launch was detected by satellite, it takes time for that information to be seconded to the carrier. How many aircraft you could get off in that time is the question. All this of course is without the intercept ability of the SM-3 which is an unknown.

And yes carrier battle groups are constantly emitting signals which is how active radar works. The Aegis cruisers require active radars to detect incoming strikes, acquire lock-ons, or they would get a hand-off from another active emitter such as an E-2. Leaving the Aegis passive would be very dangerous as they have some of the best radar systems available to the battle group and you would lose the range advantage of their long-range radars.

BTW, you were the one claiming that a single sortie is all that would be needed, not me. Sortie rate does matter!

sharrukin on August 7, 2010 at 1:27 AM

This is the way Obama and his administration and the Democrats, the leftists, communists, socialists, fifth columnists, media, Jihadis, et al want it.

They want the US as a weak, submissive, dependent, has-been nation, reduced to ashes, grovelling, with hand held out, begging and defenseles, and that is just what they are getting.

Congratulations, Obama, his administration, his pals, the media who love him, the Democrats, etc. You wanted a weak US which is not expceptional and you got it.

Congratulations to all you who voted for all those Democrats and voted for Obama, putting them in power and helping ruin our nation.

William2006 on August 7, 2010 at 1:39 AM

Most of what you said is just babble. . .

sharrukin on August 7, 2010 at 1:27 AM

Whatever you say. Anyone here who has actually served on a carrier, especially as a pilot, officer, etc knows who is full of it and who isn’t.

You have no clue what or how flight ops work, you have no clue about electronic countermeasures, you have no clue about emcon operation, you have no clue about most anything you are talking about, but we can let others judge that.

As to your vaunted “sortie rate”, what I said is IF the mission were a retaliatory strike or an anti-ship strike, as it would likely be if the Chinese were involved, then one sortie would be all it would take, if you are denying that, you are beyond naive and into moby territory. (Unless you think we would actually be trying to “take over” China instead of just defend against it??)

One can claim whatever they want on the internet, but you’ve run into someone who actually HAS been there for a much longer time than you can even fathom and all you’ve done is show yourself to be ignorant to anyone else who has actually been there.

Fatal on August 7, 2010 at 1:51 AM

As to your vaunted “sortie rate”, what I said is IF the mission were a retaliatory strike or an anti-ship strike, as it would likely be if the Chinese were involved, then one sortie would be all it would take, if you are denying that, you are beyond naive and into moby territory. (Unless you think we would actually be trying to “take over” China instead of just defend against it??)

Fatal on August 7, 2010 at 1:51 AM

One strike isn’t going to destroy the Chinese airbases launching aircraft, nor will it take out the launch sites of the Second Artillery Corps, nor would it turn back a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. So what are you talking about? A Chinese naval task force might be destroyed if they were out of range of Chinese air cover, or the strike package wasn’t intercepted. Otherwise you are talking nonsense.

Trying to launch long range refueling strikes would reduce sortie rates against a major power like China to impotence.

sharrukin on August 7, 2010 at 2:34 AM

This weapon is basically an ICBM with a more sophisticated targeting mechanism and a conventional warhead/kinetic warhead.

So… the defense is anti ICBM weapons or abandoning carriers and going entirely to submarines for our naval doctrine.

I think we can do it with Anti ICBM weaponry. Layered laser defense.

The old SDI system would have us put mirrors in space and then use powerful ground based lasers to swat enemy ICBMs out of the sky from anywhere in the world. There are treaties against putting such things in space. But we need something. This weapon along with the steady collapse of nuclear containment means we need missile defense.

If we have that in place then the Chinese can fire these things and we’ll just knock them out of the sky.

Can’t outrun light.

Karmashock on August 7, 2010 at 2:34 AM

Anti-ship ballistic missile? Please.

We’ve got that. We’ve HAD that. For years. Seriously.

FCCS(SW/AW) Jeff Weimer, USN

JeffWeimer on August 7, 2010 at 4:10 AM

I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Carriers are POS, anyway; thin-skinned, weak little boats, and they don’t take a whole lot to bring down. There’s a lot of difference between the carrier and the battleship, in terms of durability and outright resistance to damage. Saying you can sink a carrier is like saying you can slap your wife. Big deal. Unfortunately, most USN ships are thin-skinned and easily damaged. Claims of missiles with pinpoint accuracy aren’t anything new. Name a missile that isn’t supposed to be accurate. Striking a carrier isn’t all that easy, though, even with a missile that allegedly can knock down a fly at 100 km. Carriers do not sail into hostile waters, alone; they are always accompanied by their CVBG: Carrier Battle Group. No carrier moves without a CAP (Combat Air Patrol) flying overhead, overlooking the entire CVBG, consisting of not only fighters, but AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) planes. I seriously doubt any PRC (Peoples’ Republic of China) naval vessel has the sensor technology necessary to launch a standoff missile out from further away than the CAP can detect them. In seconds, the CVBG CO can order a strike from F/A-18 E/F planes, all capable of carrying the AGM-154 JSTOW (Joint Stand-Off Weapon), which is specifically made for shooting at targets a LOOONG way off, and keeping them from getting close-in. They also have the AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missile, which will home in on and attack anything that radiates (such as giving off radar waves, radio waves, or just about any other kind of detectable radiating signal). Even if the PRC could get a lock on a carrier at that kind of range, that’s akin to asking Davy Jones if you can sleep with him, because that’s exactly what will happen once the hull of their boat strikes the bottom, after being blasted with missiles. The instant they threatened that carrier, the missile strike against them would be like a boot coming down on a peanut shell (AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles). Perhaps just as important as the CAP is the CVBG, itself. Cruisers, frigates and destroyers are there to put up a WALL of lead and missiles between themselves, the carrier and anybody they don’t like. Somehow, I think a PRC naval weapon isn’t going to get through all that, especially when you consider the CVBG also has submarines lurking around; perhaps several of them. Imagine the looks on their faces when they get a target lock, only to have 2 660mm torpedoes broadside them, followed by a sub-launched cruise missile coming out of the water and landing on their deck.

The Chinese of the PRC taking out a carrier through it’s CVBG? I just don’t see it happening. That’s like when the Iranians claimed to have a ‘supersonic’ torpedo that nothing could escape from. Sure, this supercavitating, high-speed torp could exist, but it’s hardly something that you could use as a surprise weapon (sonar isn’t going to miss something screaming toward them like an undersea jet fighter), and it’s hardly inescapable, given today’s anti-torpedo technologies.

Really, the biggest threat to the USN does not come from the Chinese of the PRC, but Barack Hussein Obama. Listening to guys that couldn’t even make it into the Navy, like Bawney Frank (a homo that doesn’t know the meaning of Duty, Honor or Country), he will devastate them through layoffs, long-desired budget cuts and excessively stupid ROE that would probably require them to take a couple of hits to prove the strike against them wasn’t accidental, before being able to fire a warning shot in return. Notice when George W. Bush was in the Oval Office, the PRC didn’t even think of showing their asses, like that. Just like Greasy Joe said: if you elect Hussein, everybody with a slingshot will come out from under whatever rock they were hiding under, during the Bush Administration, to take on this incompetent, thorougly unimpressive, non-intimidating wannabe we’ve got squatting in the big chair and hiding under the desk.

Finally, another thing the Chines would want to consider: while Barack HUSSEIN Obama is a useless, spineless, nutless wonder, the Indians aren’t. A conflict like that has a GOOD chance of involving the Indians and their navy, which could threaten to blockade the PRC’s waterways, cutting off supply lines. This could result in a ground war involving India and China, and that would be one big war, just those two, alone. This would result in India, a NUCLEAR POWER with American and EU equipment, possibly getting pissed enough at the ChiComs to threaten to turn Beijing into another Hiroshima. And believe me: the Indians aren’t going to apologize, like our State Department weasels did. What India would have to think seriously about (besides warring with the Chi-Coms) is the possibility of Pakistan’s involvement. We are on fairly good terms with them, and I understand the position; I’m friends with a lot of people that CAN’T STAND each other. We’d have to make sure Pakistan didn’t take that war as an opportunity to nuke Calcutta. However, since we have a belligerent, perpetually-on-the-rag, disgraced, unethical, lying fraud of a shyster (http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/252624) for a secretary of state, that might be easier said, than done. To the North, the other threat would be the Russians, who already love Obama so much, they’d be dying to lend a hand (to the Chi-Coms). If Hillary went to Moscow, they’d send her body back with a bullet-hole in her forehead, and a “RESET” button stuck up her ass.

Virus-X on August 7, 2010 at 4:49 AM

Karmashock on August 7, 2010 at 2:34 AM

That’s a lot of BS. You can’t just put mirrors all over the place in orbit, strategically placed for convienience. Obama’s pretty much cancelled our methods of getting such devices in space, unless we’re going to ask the RUSSIANS for help (which I wouldn’t put past an idiot like the Dalai Obama), and that would take quite a while. Arranging the launches and actually manufacturing the devices would take quite a while. Not to mention hundreds of millions of dollars we don’t have, anymore (also thanks in no small part to the Dalai Obama).

As opposed to your idea of pissing away billions (possibly trillions) on something that’s never even been demonstrated to actually be effective, just use the defenses the USN already has, including Phalanx guns on the carriers, themselves, and their picket ships. Paying for a few thousand bullets or a couple of missiles would be a lot cheaper than this space race idea of yours, and a lot more likely to work, and work effectively. You’re talking about equipping Soldiers on the battlefield with Strykers to ward off bullets, as opposed to having them wear IOTV (Improved Outer Tactical Vests). Another analogy is using a shotgun to kill a fly, when you’ve got a perfectly good electrified swatter lying on the table next to you.

Virus-X on August 7, 2010 at 4:58 AM

Anti-ship ballistic missile? Please.

We’ve got that. We’ve HAD that. For years. Seriously.

FCCS(SW/AW) Jeff Weimer, USN

JeffWeimer on August 7, 2010 at 4:10 AM

Dude, I’m ARMY and I’m both unimpressed and know better. The only reason we’d even have to launch an ABM would be because of some sort of failure or f-ckup. Hostile PRC naval forces couldn’t approach a USN CVBG, without running the risk of endung up worse than the Japanese at Midway. The USN would see ‘em coming.

Virus-X on August 7, 2010 at 5:03 AM

Great news: Chinese perfecting “game-changing” anti-carrier missile

Oh god, another hobgoblin trotted out on a dull news day.

If you are reading about a “threat” in your local newspaper the only thing you can be certain of is it doesn’t exist. It is yesterday’s news. That’s why you are able to read about it.

On rare, extremely rare occasions, significant military news is leaked out. This is then followed by the dead bodies of the leakers. This Chinese missile bogeyman is meaningless.

patrick neid on August 7, 2010 at 9:09 AM

I see it as an issue, but one that has probably already been addressed by the military troubleshooters.

Anti-ship missiles have been around for years, the technology to deal with them also. I know there is a difference in size of payload, speed, but you basically just beef up your defenses.

Does it make our ships more ‘vulnerable’, sure. But a lot of things in the modern world make a CTF vulnerable. Subs are the biggest threat and will remain so.

I don’t see a real big need to drastically change doctrine for this. Think up some new tactics/counters though.

catmman on August 7, 2010 at 9:21 AM

So the game has changed…so what? Has there ever been a game that we couldn’t still win? Our greatest strategic liability BY FAR is our prepostrous economic situation, which is 100% within the control of the people of the United States. If we get our economic house in order and get the deficits down and start paying down the debt, for one I’d bet these missiles would get a lot less interesting to the Chinese, and if not we’d have no trouble getting carriers that made these missiles and the next 10 generations of these missiles obsolete.

galenrox on August 7, 2010 at 10:21 AM

This is a big threat to our dominance of the seas, but the DF21D only strips our dominance, it does not allow the Chicoms to replace us with their own forces. Though they are making rapid gains in assembling a true “blue-water” navy, this is still a couple of decades off(in Chinese planning terms, a blink of an eye) thus changing the actual gameboard fundamentally erasing the importance of naval power.

Perhaps the answer to this vexing situation is already in hand with the recent success of the naval bourne laser we saw last week. Provided the dhimmicrats don’t snatch deafeat from the jaws of victory by defunding the program like they did with the ASAT system (Star Wars) in the late 80′s.

Archimedes on August 7, 2010 at 4:25 PM

Great exit question, AP. I posted an answer in the Green Room.

J.E. Dyer on August 7, 2010 at 9:13 PM

I’ve followed these stories for years. The carrier-killing ballistic missile is something that China has worked on for a long time, and has been talked about for a long time. They have never tested it, unlike the sat-killer test, so we know they do not have the capability.
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The US Navy is already threatened by conventional missiles, including large high-speed missiles that are meant to beat defenses with a burst of incredibly high speed in the final attack run. The US Navy already knows how to counter these threats both directly, and indirectly by not giving enemies a clear shot.
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A long range ballistic missile is extremely difficult to stop simply because it moves too fast. However, also because it moves too fast, it can only be used on static targets. At incredibly high speeds, there is simply no time to use on-board radar to find a target, lock onto it, and maneuver. The Soviets couldn’t manage it. China can’t either. US ballistic missiles, with the very best terminal guidance, still only manage to land 50% of warheads in a 100 meter radius circle from the target. This is not anywhere near good enough to hit a stationary aircraft carrier. The vast majority of the warheads would hit the water on either side of the carrier, or hit the edge of the flight deck and detonate outside the hull to the side. China does not possess anywhere near this level of technology. Once you add the fact that a carrier would be a moving, maneuvering target, the ability to hit it with a high-speed ballistic missile is near-zero.
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But wait, you say, we can put GPS on the warhead, and maneuvering flaps or thrusters. We can even put on-board sensors like infrared or radar. Yes, you could. The US has looked into this in its own programs regarding conventional ballistic missiles, and the accuracy can be potentially reduced to under a 10 meter radius circle. You solved the accuracy problem. However, to pull this off, you need to add guidance and SLOW THE WARHEAD DOWN GREATLY so that it can maneuver. This creates new problems:
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1. All forms of terminal guidance can be JAMMED. GPS can’t hit moving targets, and even if it could, the signal from China’s version of GPS could be jammed. Radar and infrared can be jammed. Decoys work. Any of these countermeasures results in a miss.
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2. Now that the ballistic missile is slow IT CAN BE SHOT DOWN WITH EXISTING ABM DEFENSES. The ABM defenses are better than the Navy’s defenses against sea-skimming cruise missiles and submarines.
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3. Ballistic missiles are NOT STEALTHY. You see a ballistic missile coming very far away because it is easy to see it in its boost phase, as well as when it has attained altitude. By the time it descends towards the carrier, it will already have been tracked for some time, and any defenses will be ready and waiting.
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4. Submarines, naval mines, and sea-skimming supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles are a greater threat. The threat is well-known, though, so they aren’t “sexy superweapons”. The Russians are smarter than the Chinese in terms of doctrine, and are ahead of them technologically. The Russians chose to focus on high speed anti-ship missiles because they have many advantages over ballistic missiles. They are far cheaper, more stealthy, and can far more easily evolve to overcome ship defenses. Most importantly, thanks to their smaller size and speed, they can be deployed by air, sea, mobile launchers on land, and can be used in groups to saturate and overcome defenses.
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Anti-ship ballistic missiles are one of those phantom superweapons that China uses to pretend to be more capable than it really is. If and when China is confident that it can take down a carrier, it will not boast about it, it will instead hide its capability and provoke a crisis in order to use the weapon. Any weapon China boasts about is one it either doesn’t have, or one it has no intention of using.

kaltes on August 7, 2010 at 9:30 PM

Virus-X on August 7, 2010 at 4:58 AM

First, I wasn’t proposing the SDI approach as I said it’s against treaty. However, a layered laser defense is possible if we place them on ships, airplanes, and possibly airships.

Second, your notion of defending the carrier with computer guided miniguns demonstrates that you do not understand the physics. The range of those guns is very limited and the speed of the missile towards the end is hyper sonic which means total effective firing time is going to be about .01 seconds. How many bullets does that gun fire in .01 seconds? And how many of them are going to even hit the missile? And how many does it take? And are you aware that at that speed a kinetic impact… that is the missile just slamming in with nothing but it’s own force might be enough to sink a carrier all by itself? You don’t know the physics. Trust me, the US Navy, and the Chinese. It isn’t that simple. Those guns are ok for taking down low speed cruise missiles like the tomahawk or low flying airplanes. But they’re useless against hypersonic missiles. To stop that you need something with enough range to give you TIME to respond. Your idea is like suggesting someone use sub machine gun to stop a smart bomb. Not. Going. To. Work.

Third, we need missile defense for strategic reasons beyond our carriers. It’s a general need. Having effective missile defense solves many problems. Without it the spector of nuclear armed minor powers as well as the decaying power of Russia and growing power of china remain critical. If we have missile defense then a huge segment of the weaponry the US has cause to fear are nullified. We also remove most of the incentive to develop nuclear weapons by minor powers because the primary use of such weapons would be to intimidate the US and similar powers. If the weapons are unable to intimidate us then they lose their value. We need missile defense. This is just another reason we need it.

Fourth, as to the cost… don’t blame me if our systems have become obsolete. I didn’t do that. However, whining about the expense when your fleet has been rendered obsolete is a little childish isn’t it? We have no choice. If the fleet is obsolete it must be adapted. Period. The alternative is having a fleet about as effective as a WW2 battleship fleet against modern carriers would be… sound like a fun battle? The carriers would annhilate the battleships. The battleships were the super weapon of their age. Unstoppable symbols of power and military might. The carrier killed them because it could out range them with more accurate weapons long before the ponderous battleship ever got into range. Think about that. What does this missile do to the carrier? Further, this can be mounted on ships… not just fired from some land base in china. A ballistic submarine could fire a modified version of this missile. Think about that.

Final point. This poses a doctrinal threat to the carrier as a battle platform. Either we take this seriously or we lose. Our options appear to be countering the threat with better defenses or shifting our doctrine to something this weapon can’t touch.

Karmashock on August 8, 2010 at 5:56 AM

It is a potential weapon that will need to be tested, evaluated and refined. As that takes place, other weapons will be developed to counter it either at its launching point or in the terminal phase.

Then it will have to be used in combat in order to know if it is effective.

130 years ago it was the torpedo boat. It did not mean the end of large surface ships.

105 years ago it was the Dreadnought. It did not mean the end of anything but large surface ships with and all gun battery.

90 years ago it was the aircraft. It did not mean the end of large surface ships.

70-80 years ago it was the dive bomber. It did not mean the end of surface ships or aircraft carriers.

60 years ago it was the nuclear weapon. If did not mean the end of surface ships or aircraft carriers.

40 years ago it was the anti-ship cruise missile. It did not mean the end of surface ships or aircraft carriers.

… and so today we are talking about Anti-ship cruise missiles.

There is an evolution and survival of the fittest in warfare. It is only a problem if ignored. It is only a reason to panic if you lack a historical perspective and a lack of confidence in your military to effectively meet a new threat … at threat that is yet to be fully formed.

The only thing needed here is to ask the CNO – what is your plan to address this possible threat? Are your priorities aligned with preserving your nation’s ability to project power into the future?

CDR Salamander on August 8, 2010 at 8:48 PM

That post-American Presidency stuff ain’t funny anymore.

RobCon on August 8, 2010 at 9:54 PM

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