China’s Anti-aircraft, Ground Attack Missiles Have Anti-ship functions

Air defense missile launched to hit a warship

Air defense missile launched to hit a warship

An air defense missile explodes above a warship

An air defense missile explodes above a warship

An air defense missile hits a warship

An air defense missile hits a warship website quotes Russian Korolev Talk about Military Column First 267 as saying that in addition to Shangyou-2, YJ-62 long-range land-based, YJ-83 series of aircraft/ship-based, YJ-82 submarine-based, YJ-18 general-purpose two-speed, YJ-12 supersonic air-to-surface, YJ-9 light air-to-surface, and Russian-made KH-59 and submarine-launched Club anti-ship missiles in service, China has quite a few other missiles that have anti-ship functions.

According to a March 24 article on PLA Daily, in a live ammunition drill in 2015, the Shenyang, a 051C missile destroyer in North Sea Fleet hit a surface target with a Russian-made S-300MF surface-to-air missile.

The Shenyang has 6 vertical launch systems with 8 units each for its 48 48N6 missiles with 150 km range. Each missile is 7.5 meters long and 0.5 meter in diameter and weighs 1,800 kg. Its warhead weighs 150 kg and is guided by a semi-automatic TVM guide system.

Usually an anti-ship missile has a semi-armor piercing warhead but an anti-aircraft missile has no such warhead. It hits an aircraft with the shreds of its explosion. Can such warhead be effective in destroying a warship? The Forum says that the warhead will cause serious damage if it explodes close above the deck of a warship.

The S-300 missile is guided by the radar on the destroyer, which has only a range of 35 km due to the curving surface of the earth. That limits the range of S-300. However China’s sea-version HQ-9 long-range air defense missile finds and tracks its targets with its own radar and thus has an effective of range of 150 km in hitting a warship.

Moreover, China’s ship-based Yu-8 anti-submarine missile and aircraft-based KH-31, KH-59, YJ-63 and YJ-88 air-to-ground missile also have anti-ship function.

Source: “In addition to S300, Chinese navy has a lot of concurrent anti-ship weapons” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)

One Comment on “China’s Anti-aircraft, Ground Attack Missiles Have Anti-ship functions”

  1. Joseph says:

    This is really a good use of surface to air missile beyond its specification. Anti ship missiles are designed to sink a ship, while SAMs are designed to damage an aircraft enough to bring it down. A SAM missile detonated above a ship may not damage the ship’s superstructure, but it will be very lethal to its crew as anti-personnel weapon. The ship will be vulnerable for boarding. A SAM missile detonated above an aircraft carrier would effectively disable its operations, incapacitating deck crews and bridge crews alike rendering it vulnerable for boarding and capture. A disabled aircraft carrier will be an embarrassment. A captured aircraft carrier will have different consequences than a sunk aircraft carrier as it can be paraded as war thropy to send messages.