China’s “Kill Weapon” – Don’t Make Me Laugh

| March 31, 2009

USS George Washington.jpg

Today the Drudge Report had a rather alarming red faced link, describing that China now had a special “Kill Weapon” that was a threat to US aircraft carriers.

The article cited was produced by the US Naval Institute, and outlines this weapon:

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.

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.

Along with the Chinese naval build-up, U.S. Navy officials appear to view the development of the anti-ship ballistic missile as a tangible threat.

The Dongfeng (East Wind) 21 is a land based medium range ballistic missile. It is a two stage, solid fuel rocket. By using solid fuel, it is easier to set up and launch as it does not require cryogenic cooling or propellents. China likes to deploy these on mobile launchers that they can easily move around to hide them from anyone who might want to make sure they never launch them.

What the US Naval Institute is implying, without spelling it out, is that China has claimed that they have developed a very accurate warhead that can be targeted against ships at sea, a land-based anti-ship ballistic missile based on the DF-21. This warhead would be nuclear, and with a big enough yield, the Chinese could “Kill” a US carrier. While it is true that if you can toss a live nuke close enough to a carrier, you can sink it, the premise of the entire write up is so far from credible as to be a joke.

One has to wonder how and why this article surfaced. Is the Navy or it’s supporters attempting to stoke support for development money for the Aegis systems? There was at one time a proposal to enhance Aegis to attempt terminal intercept capability. Or is it just time to once again realize that China is steadily moving to expand its sphere of influence in Asia?

Make no mistake, the events that would lead to a DF-21 fired at a carrier battle group would be well down the road of a full fledged and escalating war with China, and would signal the beginning of a nuclear exchange that would see hundreds of millions die, mostly in China. While it is not public knowledge, China knows that the location of their missiles, command and control and launch authorities have been infiltrated, measured to within the inch, and can be targeted within seconds should anyone ever be so stupid as to use a DF-21 against US assets. The chances of this ever happening are so close to zero as to not even merit consideration, let alone the level of concern Raymond Pritchett has raised.

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Category: China, Geopolitics, Main, Military, Space

About the Author ()

Bruce Henderson is a former Marine who focuses custom data mining and visualization technologies on the economy and other disasters.

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