China’s Hypersonic Air-to-surface MissilePosted: October 24, 2014
In my book Space Era Strategy: The Way China Beats The U.S., I point out that China may launch hypersonic missiles to destroy a whole aircraft carrier battle group from an aerospaceplane it has been developing. As the aerospaceplane flies around the earth in its orbit at the speed of Mach 23, the missiles launched from it also have the hypersonic speed of Mach 23. There is no weapons system to intercept such missiles.
True enough, China has already developed a hypersonic air-to-surface missile using the supersonic speed of the supersonic fighter or fighter/bomber plus its own gravity and propulsion to attain the speed of Mach 4.5 to 5, close to the Mach 5+ achieved by the best US hypersonic glide vehicle.
It seems that if the US fight a war against China in Asia, its aircraft carrier battle groups will have to deal with not only DF-21D ballistic missiles, saturate attack of cruise missiles and the volley of missiles from China’s flotilla of Type 022 speed missile boats but also hypersonic anti-ship missiles from the air.
The following is the full text of ISH Jane’s article on the hypersonic anti-ship missile:
Images show JF-17 flying with CM-400AKG hypersonic ASM
Recent images of two China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) CM-400AKG high-speed air-to-surface missiles fitted to an airborne Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) FC-1/JF-17 fighter suggest that China continues to develop the missile.
While the source or date of the photos is not known, they have appeared on multiple Chinese military websites. The JF-17 carrying the missiles, which could be mock-ups, has a serial number of 10-115 and is believed to be a test aircraft based at the CAC airfield.
Chinese sources indicate the CM-400AKG is derived from the SY-400 tactical ballistic missile. The CM-400AKG has been promoted as a ‘hypersonic’ anti-ship-capable missile since its unveiling at the November 2012 Zhuhai Airshow. However, at the November 2013 Dubai Airshow a Pakistan military source told IHS Jane’s that while the CM-400AKG was then in “Chinese service,” an anti-ship version was still “in development”.
If true then it is used by another platform as the FC-1/JF-17 is not in Chinese service. The most likely candidate is the Xian Aircraft Corporation JH-7A strike fighter or the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation’s J-11 fighter family.
Chinese brochure data at the 2013 Dubai Airshow gave the CM-400AKG’s length as 5.1 m, its diameter as 400 mm, weight as 910 kg and range as 100-240 km. It also listed seeker options to include “INS+GNSS+Passive Radar Seeker,” which could have anti-ship capabilities, and “INS-GNSS+IR/TV Seeker”. The respective circular error probable for each is given as 5 m and 5-10 m.
However, it is the CM-400AKG’s reported maximum terminal speed of around Mach 4.5 to 5, which is obtained in part through its high altitude cruise and steep terminal dive, that has sparked the most interest. At the 2013 Paris Airshow Argentine officials with the FADEA state aircraft factory cited this missile’s performance as a major reason for their interest in co-producing the FC-1/JF-17.
Source: ISH Jane’s “Images show JF-17 flying with CM-400AKG hypersonic ASM”
- China Conducts Lunar Ship Return Test for Hypersonic Weapons dated October 23, 2014
- China Surpasses US in Hypersonic Weapons dated August 29, 2014