The U.S. Navy’s Aircraft Carriers: $13 Billion Floating Targets for China or Russia


Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis in the Arabian Sea. Photo: Flickr/U.S. Navy

Sebastien Roblin June 10, 2017

On May 31, 2017, the U.S. Navy accepted into service USS Gerald Ford, the first of up to four new fleet carriers. The massive 1,100-foot-long vessel will eventually embark around sixty aircraft, including twenty-four F-35 Lightning stealth fighters and another twenty to twenty-four FA-18 Super Hornets. It features a faster elevator for loading munitions, and new electromagnetic launch catapults (EMALS) and arresting hooks to increase the tempo of flight operations while reducing maintenance costs. All of these new perks come at roughly a $13 billion price tag—more than twice the cost of the preceding USS George H. W. Bush.

The United States’ nuclear-powered fleet carriers are currently without rival in the world, and their onboard Carrier Air Wings can unleash tremendous sustained firepower. They serve as potent symbols of American military power, and floating air bases for campaigns in Libya, Iraq and the Balkans.

But how would the supercarriers fare when taking on something tougher than a third-world despot? Advances in missile and submarine technology put in question whether such large and expensive ships are survivable when operating within striking distance of an enemy coastline.

That striking distance is dictated by the roughly seven-hundred-mile combat radius of the carrier’s F-35C stealth fighters, with a shorter range for the Super Hornets. Inflight refueling may extend that distance a bit, though one should bear in mind that a carrier air wing has only a modest ability to refuel itself with its Super Hornet tankers without resorting to larger land-based tanker support. However, sailing a carrier strike group close enough for its fighters to attack coastal targets also places the carrier well within harm’s way of a variety of nasty new weapons.

Long Littoral Reach

One of the newer threats comes from ground-based ballistic missiles—normally a weapon we think of as exclusively used for striking land targets. However, the new Chinese DF-21D Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBM) possess a high degree of accuracy and the capability to adjust course midflight. Both traits enable the rocket to hit a moving target like an aircraft carrier.

The DF-21D “East Wind” IRBM has a range of nine hundred miles, and can adjust its flight path using targeting data fed to it by other platforms, including a series of Yaogan satellites put into space over the last several years. The U.S. Naval Institute claimed the massive kinetic energy of a descending DF-21D, combined with the explosive payload, could potentially destroy a carrier in one hit.

It’s important to note that the East Wind is a mobile weapons system, and could thus prove difficult to preemptively strike. On the other hand, while dozens of the missiles have been deployed to PLA units, it doesn’t appear that the weapon has ever been tested against a moving naval target.

Until recently IRBMs were nearly impossible to shoot down. Today, U.S. cruisers and destroyers carry SM-3 air-defense missiles, which supposedly might be able to swat down an incoming IRBM—although it’s not expected to be easy. There also a number of potential methods for messing up an IRBM’s guidance systems.

Stealthy Submarines—or Subs with Big Missiles

Torpedo-launching submarines sank several aircraft carriers during World War II—though both land- and carrier-based aircraft played a major role in countering the submarine threat. At the time, submarines were especially vulnerable to patrol planes because they had to surface a couple of times a day to keep their batteries charged. Even when lurking underwater, they relied on noisy air-breathing diesel engines that made them easier to pick up on sonar.

During the 1950s and ’60s, new nuclear-powered submarines increased the underwater endurance of subs from hours or a few days at best to months at a time. Nuclear propulsion also enabled them to become far faster and quieter than diesel submarines. Other innovations, such as anechoic tiles and teardrop-shaped hulls reinforced the sonar stealth trend. The quieting technology had reached such a peak by the end of the Cold War that nuclear submarines obliviously collided with each other in 1992, 1993 and as recently as 2009, due to their inability to detect each other.

Of course, carriers are always escorted by destroyers or frigates specialized in antisubmarine warfare. Furthermore, long-distance maritime patrol planes and shipboard helicopters also assist in sweeping the seas for enemy subs. However, while Russian submarines were initially much noisier than their Western counterparts during most of that period, later Cold War designs, such as the nuclear-powered Akula class, were nearly peers to their Western counterparts in quietness.

Nuclear submarines, however, cost well over $2 billion apiece in modern times, so noisier diesel submarines remain more common across the world. However, in the 1990s Sweden deployed the first submarine to use Air Independent Propulsion (AIP), the Gotland. A variety of AIP technologies allow for a new generation of very quiet and very cheap ship-hunting submarines that cost as little as roughly one-sixth the price of a nuclear submarine, and can operate up to two to four weeks underwater, albeit at fairly slow speeds.

China now possesses fifteen Type 41 submarines, employing the same Stirling AIP system as the Gotland, with another fifteen planned, while dozens of German-made Type 212, 214 and 218 AIP submarines are entering service across Europe and Asia. In fact, the Pacific in particular has become the site of a veritable submarine arms race.

Both nuclear and AIP submarines, including the Gotland, have repeatedly succeeded in sinking aircraft carriers during NATO naval exercises. This is even more alarming considering how cheap the latter type of submarines are to build. In addition to being quiet, AIP submarines possess the range and endurance to hunt for carriers across regional waters, even if most aren’t suitable for deep-ocean operations. Another limitation is that they are significantly slower than the carriers they are hunting, especially while attempting to maximize battery life, forcing them to rely more on ambush tactics.

Still, creeping up to within torpedo range of a carrier strike group is a risky business. Some submarines are designed to hunt their targets from afar. The Russian Oscar-class cruise missile submarine, for example, is not especially stealthy, but it does not have to get close to a carrier group’s surface escorts, thanks to the four-hundred-mile range of its P-700 Granit missiles, which it can launch while underwater. The ten-meter-long missiles travel at supersonic speeds, and are designed to network together to overwhelm defensive countermeasures.

Cruise Missile Defense

This brings us into the realm of missile defense, a long-established threat that carrier strike groups have evolved to counter. While carriers carry short-range antiaircraft missiles and Phalanx CIWS guns for self-defense, their escorting Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Arleigh Burke–class destroyers are armed with a diverse array of medium- and long-range air antiaircraft missiles, designed to thin out incoming missile barrages from hundreds of miles away. These defenses are backed up by networked radars and coordinated by the sophisticated Aegis defense system.

The challenge facing carrier strike groups today is that new antiship missiles are becoming faster, longer-range and more widespread, and can be deployed from platforms including long-distance patrol planes and bombers, small and stealthy fast-attack boats, and even shipping containers concealed in a harbor.

The greater range means new missiles can be more safely lobbed at the carrier without necessarily entering within range for easy retaliation. The greater speed means they are harder to shoot down. And the ability to deploy them from a variety of platforms means the missile-launching units might prove difficult to detect and comprehensively eradicate preemptively.

Take, for example, the Russian Kalibr cruise missile, the “Sizzler” antiship variant of which can strike naval targets up to four hundred miles away. The missile skims just above the sea, making it difficult to detect at a distance, before leaping up to three times the speed of sound on the terminal approach—offering a challenging target for missile-defense systems. The Kalibr can be fired not only from underwater by submarines, but also by relatively small and cheap corvettes.

The heavier but shorter-range BrahMos missile entering use on sea, land and air platforms in the Indian military approaches the target at Mach 2.8, and is designed to perform an L-shaped evasive maneuver to fool a ship’s missile defenses. And China, needless to say, has developed its own range of similar antiship missiles, including both clones of Russian weapons as well as truly indigenous designs.

Even more troubling for a carrier’s air defenses are a new generation of hypersonic missiles—weapons exceeding five times the speed of sound. On June 3, Russia claimed to have successfully tested the hypersonic Zircon missile, with a reported speed of 4,600 miles per hour.

If a carrier tasks forces defense’s function properly—not something to take for granted when both the attacking and defensive systems have scant operational records—then they should be able to handle a few incoming missiles. However, an attacker would seek to “saturate” the defender’s defenses by launching large volleys of the missiles all at once, and it may only take a few getting through to wreak considerable havoc.

This, however, brings us to the major critique common to all these carrier-killing tactics: they often require a high degree of coordination, operational planning and networking.

Breaking the Kill Chain

Set aside the air-defense missiles for a moment—a carrier’s first defense is that its thousand-foot-long flight deck is still nothing more than a tiny pinprick measured against the millions of square miles that make up the ocean. A tiny moving pinprick. Not just locating but also tracking a carrier across all that space relies on having a maritime observation apparatus coordinating long-distance patrol planes, submarines, over-the-horizon radars and satellites—many of which are vulnerable in turn to a carrier strike group’s aircraft and missiles.

Once that apparatus identifies a carrier’s position, the targeting data needs to make it back in a timely fashion to air, land or naval units to put them in position for an attack. This sort of “cueing” is also very important in submarine operations. In many cases, a separate platform will have to network targeting data on the carrier, as the launch platforms may be too far away to acquire them on their own radars. Of course, that targeting data may also be disrupted by electronic warfare and defensive countermeasures. Just as likely, the observers may lose track of the carrier task force’s position before elements can get into place to make the strike.

These considerations lead National Interest contributor Rob Farley to argue that China and Russia lack adequate the maritime intelligence assets and operational experience to mount a well-coordinated maritime search-and-destroy campaign against a carrier task force, even if they possess armaments that could theoretically prove effective against one.

The Operational Track Record—Such As It Is

It’s important to stress that nobody really knows how effective both the offensive and defensive naval technologies will prove against each other, as there have fortunately been no large-scale naval wars since World War II.

However, the smaller-scale naval conflicts that have occurred in the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and the South Atlantic all suggest long-range antiship missiles pose a substantial threat.

Consider the two British ships sunk by air-launched Exocet missiles in the Falkland War, with a third damaged by a ground-launched weapon. The first attack was not detected until seconds before the moment of impact. Argentina’s possession of just a few of the missiles nearly led London to dispatch a suicidal commando raid on Argentine soil to negate the threat.

During the same conflict, an Argentine diesel-electric submarine twice managed to launch torpedo attacks on British vessels without being detected—though, fortunately for the Royal Navy, the torpedoes all malfunctioned! Meanwhile, Argentina’s own carrier did not participate in the conflict due to the threat posed by British submarines, one of which had sunk cruiser General Belgrano.

On the other hand, antiship missiles liberally employed during the Iran-Iraq War generally failed to sink large tanker vessels—which may imply that supercarriers will also prove similarly resilient.

Obviously, these decades-old incidents should not be over-extrapolated into applying to current technology—but their lessons shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.

One should also recall how many navies continued to invest in battleships in between the world wars, skeptical that then-new aircraft carriers could seriously challenge them. Surely, early carrier-based aircraft must not have seemed nearly as dependable as the sixteen-inch guns on a battleship turret. But those primitive warplanes and the operational doctrine for their use matured to the point where their ability to search for and destroy targets across hundreds of miles rendered the battleship obsolete.

Actual combat in World War II proved revelatory. In the December 7 raid on Pearl Harbor, Japanese warplanes sank three U.S. battleships and severely damaged several more. Shortly afterward, land-based bombers sank the British battleship Prince of Wales and the battlecruiser Repulse in a few of frenetic hours of action. To cap it off, the subsequent decisive naval battles of the Coral Sea and Midway were fought entirely by carrier air strikes and submarine attacks. It took these brutal encounters with reality to finally sweep away many navies’ long-held devotion to a weapon system that no longer provided results commensurate with the expense of building them.

Today’s supercarriers will likely serve on for decades. However, the new threats arrayed against them, combined with the limited range of the current generation of carrier-based aircraft, suggest they may prove too vulnerable to operate within striking distance of near-peer opponents.

It would make sense to plan future naval strategy around these new adversary capabilities, rather than simply doubling down on the supercarrier model because it has worked so far in permissive environments. Solutions that have been suggested to meet the new challenges posed by operating in littoral waters include using long-range carrier-based drones that will allow carriers to operate further afield from dangerous coastlines, relying on stealthy submarines to deliver cruise-missile attacks and distributing firepower across a larger fleet of individually less expensive ships. Above all, planners should seriously consider whether supercarriers loaded with relatively short-range warplanes remain a survivable and cost-efficient linchpin of U.S. naval strategy.

Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring.

Source: National Interest “The U.S. Navy’s Aircraft Carriers: $13 Billion Floating Targets for China or Russia?”

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


5 Ways Russia and China Could Sink America’s Aircraft Carriers


USS George Washington transits the Pacific Ocean. Flickr/U.S. Navy

Robert Farley

March 18, 2017

Aircraft carriers have been the primary capital ship of naval combat since the 1940s, and remain the currency of modern naval power. But for nearly as long as carriers have existed, navies have developed plans to defeat them. The details of these plans have changed over time, but the principles remain the same. And some have argued that the balance of military technology is shifting irrevocably away from the carrier, driven primarily by Chinese and Russian innovation.

So let’s say you want to kill an aircraft carrier. How would you go about it?

Torpedo

On September 17, 1939, the German submarine U-29 torpedoed and sank HMS Courageous. Courageous was the first aircraft carrier lost to submarine attack, but would not be the last. Over the course of World War II, the United States, the UK and Japan lost numerous carriers to submarines, culminating in the destruction of the gigantic HIJMS Shinano in 1944.

Submarine-fired torpedoes remain a critical threat to modern carriers. Russian and Chinese submarines regularly practice attacks on U.S. carrier groups, as do those of allied navies. Modern torpedoes cause damage by exploding beneath a ship, an impact that can break the ship’s back with dramatic effects. Fortunately, no such torpedo has ever hit a ship the size of a U.S. supercarrier, although the U.S. Navy did conduct a variety of tests on the hulked USS America in 2005. Those tests, which may have involved underwater charges (of the sort that damaged USS Cole) did not result in America’s sinking; she was scuttled in the wake of the process. The short answer is that no one knows how many modern torpedoes a U.S. carrier could take before sinking, but we can estimate with little doubt that even a single torpedo would cause extensive damage, and severely impede operations.

Cruise Missile

In 1943, the Germans used a precision-guided bomb to destroy the Italian battleship Roma. Such bombs soon gave way to self-propelled cruise missiles, which could launch from aircraft, ships, submarines, or surface installations. During the Cold War, the Soviets developed a dizzying array of platforms for launching cruise missiles at carrier strike groups, ranging from small patrol boats to massive formations of strategic bombers.

Today, China, Russia and several other countries field a wide variety of cruise missiles capable of striking U.S. carrier battle groups. These missiles vary widely in range, speed and means of approach, but the most advanced can fly at high (often supersonic) speeds while offering a very low radar profile. As with torpedoes, the available evidence on the effectiveness of cruise missiles against a modern supercarrier is virtually nil. Much smaller ships have survived such hits, as have civilian tankers similar in size to CVN-78. Nevertheless, even a nonfatal cruise missile hit would probably result in severe damage to the flight deck, impeding or completely stopping flight operations.

Ballistic Missile

The most important development in carrier-killing technology over the last decade has been the antiship ballistic missile (ASBM). The Chinese Df-21 has the potential to strike American carriers from heretofore unrealizable ranges, and threatens to penetrate existing defense systems. The missile can maneuver in its terminal phase, targeting a moving carrier on a high-velocity final approach. The kinetic energy alone of the weapon could inflict devastating damage on a flight deck, putting a carrier out of action if not sinking it entirely.

The development of the Df-21 has forced the U.S. Navy to significantly step up its ballistic-missile defense efforts. However, the ability of a U.S. task force to manage a large barrage of ASBMs is in great question; more than anything else, the development of the ASBM has forced the U.S. Navy to reconsider the role of the carrier in high-intensity warfare.

Cost Overrun

The new Ford class (CVN-78) carriers cost somewhere around $13 billion, a price that does not include the air wing. With a contingent of F-35Cs, F/A-18E/Fs and various support aircraft, the price of an individual carrier is simply staggering, and the numbers go higher when accounting for the escort group that a carrier requires. Although the per-unit cost will go down as more ships are acquired, the Fords take so long to build that each new ship will need to incorporate a host of new technologies, just as with the Nimitz class.

The tolerance for large defense expenditure in the United States has varied considerably over the past three decades. The Trump administration has combined a fondness for increased spending with a grand strategy of retrenchment, an odd pairing. If retrenchment takes hold, then generating enthusiasm for defense spending may become increasingly difficult. And at some point, the military utility of an aircraft carrier may become literally irrelevant, relative to the cost of building, maintaining and effectively deploying the ship and its air wing.

Excess of Caution

Maybe China and Russia don’t need to kill a carrier to drive the species to extinction. All of the factors above—the weapon systems that can kill carriers, and the costs associated with the ships themselves—come together to create caution about how to use the ships. In the event of a conflict, U.S. Navy admirals and the U.S. president may grow so concerned about the vulnerability of carriers that they don’t use them assertively and effectively. The extraordinary value of the carriers may become their greatest weakness; too valuable to lose, the carriers could remain effectively on the sidelines in case of high-intensity, peer-competitor conflict.

And if aircraft carriers can’t contribute in the most critical conflicts that face the United States, it will become impossible to justify to the resources necessary to their construction and protection. That, more than anything else, will lead to obsolescence, and the end of the aircraft carrier as the currency of national power.

Do these factors mean that the aircraft carrier has become obsolete as a platform? No. China and Russia have worked relentlessly on ways to kill aircraft carriers because they perceive those ships as critical security threats. Moreover, China and Russia have developed the array of systems they now deploy because aircraft carriers have good answers to many of these weapons. Finally, China has embarked on its own carrier program; the PLAN will soon operate the second-largest carrier force in the world.

Nevertheless, aircraft carriers face real dangers from advanced military technology. The greatest threat, though, probably comes from the procurement process; unless the United States can restrain cost growth in the carrier and its air wing, the ships will struggle to retain their place in the overall architecture of U.S. defense policy.

Robert Farley, a frequent contributor to TNI, is author of The Battleship Book. He serves as a Senior Lecturer at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. His work includes military doctrine, national security, and maritime affairs. He blogs at Lawyers, Guns and Money and Information Dissemination and The Diplomat.

Source: National Interest “5 Ways Russia and China Could Sink America’s Aircraft Carriers”

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


China’s New High Tech Naval Mine May Sink US Aircraft Carrier


China’s New High Tech Naval Mines able to attack US aircraft carriers

China’s New High Tech Naval Mines able to attack US aircraft carriers

China has made high-tech naval mines with sound, electromagnetic and rocket technology. Some of the mines can lie deep in the bottom of the sea, shoot up by its rocket, track its target and hit it when its sensor finds warship coming. They constitute great threat to US aircraft carriers.

Source: mt.sohu.com “China makes known its new-type deep-sea killer: No return for US aircraft carrier” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)

Related post
China Developing Crab Torpedoes, Super Hornet Program to Destroy US Aircraft Carriers dated March 4, 2014


Jane’s: China’s Type 022 Missile Boats Scare US military with Their Strength


Type 022 Fast Attack Missile Craft launches a missile

Type 022 Fast Attack Missile Craft launches a missile

Recently, China’s official media has disclosed that Chinese Navy’s new stealth fast missile boat excelled in a drill and proved their formidable power in long-range attack.

Britain’s Jane’s Defence weekly believes China’s Type 022 (also called Houbei class) stealth fast missile boat is perhaps the first stealth fast missile boat in the world that adopts wave-piercing technology. Its three great advantages of high speed, quietness and undetectability make it so powerful that under certain circumstances, it may scare away a US aircraft carrier.

Its shape with lots of sharp angles greatly reduced the reflection of radar wave.

Its water jet propulsion avoids the noise caused by the air bubble in propeller propulsion to make it very quiet.

In my post “China’s Type 022 Missile Fast Boat Cannot Be Detected by Tens of Radars” on October 28, 2013, I said a reporter of Chinese Navy’s website navy.81.cn was on board of a Type 022 missile fast boat to watch the drill of a flotilla of Type 022 fast boats. According to him, the boats’ stealth function is so superb that tens of radars cannot detect them while their coating is so wonderful that one cannot see them until they have come quite close.

Jane’s weekly said in its report that the boats’ eight YJ83 new-type medium-range (150 km) anti-ship missiles can attack multi-targets beyond visual range. A flotilla of more than two dozen such boats can conduct saturate attack by simultaneous fan-shaped launch of all the boats’ missiles.

That is quite formidable as the boats can approach enemy fleet to a very short distance without being detected due to its radar and optical invisibility and quietness. They may leave the battle field after firing their missiles as due to the boat’s advanced data link, they can leave the missiles to the care of Chinese AEW&C aircraft or warships.

Each boat has a 30mm six-barrel high-speed gun for short-range air and missile defense.

The boat’s multi-purpose radar can search and lock on targets both in the air and at sea, guide anti- ship and aircraft missiles. It has also optical-electronic and infrared tracking devices and laser distance measuring device. In addition, it can provide navigation guidance and short-range early warning for other boats that are maintaining radar silence.

In my post “China’s Houbei class fast-speed missile boats” on June 1, 2012, I quoted an article for the United States Naval Institute by John Patch, a retired U.S. Navy officer, as saying, “This craft is a purebred ship killer, perhaps even a carrier killer”.

Source: qianzhan.com “Jane’s: PLA Type 022 stealth missile boat with outstanding strength that scares even US military” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)

Related posts:

  • Dense Firing Drill of China’s 022 Fast Boats Regarded as Aircraft Carrier Killer dated April 6, 2014
  • China’s Type 022 Missile Fast Boat Cannot Be Detected by Tens of Radars dated October 27, 2013
  • A Pretty Girl Is China’s Houbei Class Missile Boat Designer dated November 12, 2012
  • Close Views of Water Jet Propeller of Type 022 Missile Boat dated October 10, 2013
  • China’s Houbei class fast-speed missile boats dated June 1, 2012

China’s Type 022 Missile Fast Boat Cannot Be Detected by Tens of Radars


Fleet of Type 022 missile fast boats not detectable by tens of radars

Fleet of Type 022 missile fast boats not detectable by tens of radars

According to a reporter of navy.81.cn who was on board of a Type 022 missile fast boat to watch the drill of a fleet of the fast boats, the boats’ stealth function is so superb that tens of radars cannot detect them while their coating is so wonderful that one cannot see them until they have come quite close.

In the drill, they successfully overcome electromagnetic disturbance and hit their targets

Source: huanqiu.com “China’s Type 022 missile fast boat has so good stealth function that tens of radars cannot detect them” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)

Related posts:

  • China’s Houbei class fast-speed missile boats dated June 1, 2012
  • A Pretty Girl Is China’s Houbei Class Missile Boat Designer dated November 12, 2012
  • Close Views of Water Jet Propeller of Type 022 Missile Boat dated October 10, 2013

Close Views of Water Jet Propeller of Type 022 Missile Boat


Web user’s photo of the water jet propelling device of Type 022 missile boat. Credit: Binbinyouli (bbs) of fyjs.cn

Web user’s photo of the water jet propelling device of Type 022 missile boat. Credit: Binbinyouli (bbs) of fyjs.cn

Type 022 missile boat (Houbei Class missile boat) is a new generation of PLA navy’s missile fast boat first built by Shanghai Jiangnan Shipyard in April 2004. It got the name due to the number 2208 of its first boat. Type 022 fast boat is the first missile fast boat in the world that adopts high-speed wave-piercing design. According to foreign media, more than 80 such boats have so far been launched and commissioned.

There has been report in foreign media that Type 022 missile boat is obviously superior in its speed due to its wave-piercing design and water jet propelling device. In a naval battle, it goes close to its target at 45 knots and leaves at the speed of 50-55 knots after it has reached the target area and carried out the attack. It is said that water jet propelling device has also been used in Chinese navy’s newest three hull prototype.

The report provides 6 photos of the water jet propeller, the other five can be seen at http://mil.huanqiu.com/photo_china/2013-10/2711799.html.

Source: huanqiu.com “Close Views of Water Jet Propeller of Type 022 Missile Boat” (translated from Chinese by Chan Kai Yee)

Related post

  • China’s Houbei class fast-speed missile boats dated June 1, 2012
  • A Pretty Girl Is China’s Houbei Class Missile Boat Designer dated December 22, 2012

China: DF-21C Aircraft Carrier Killer Missiles Showed Their Strength in Gobi Desert


Launching operaters running to their positions promptly

Launching operators running to their positions

PLA Pictorial: Draw bow for shooting on a horse in vast desert, a great general once said. In midsummer a certain unit of the Second Artillery Corps went fully out will all its equipment to the Gobi Desert.

The unit relied on its missile command information system to merge into one the training of its command platform, missile weapons and insurance equipment and technology.

They carried out a comprehensive computer simulation with integration of mobile battle elements, combination of battle units and merger of battle systems.

Quick maneuver in complicated landscape

Quick maneuver in complicated landscape

At the site of drill, the mobile command cabin laid silently under cover of modern stealth technology at the desert. Through various monitors, the commander haf full views of the situation of the entire battlefield while combat and communications staff stayed put in their combat positions.

There are waves of sounds from their keyboards.

Single element actual feeding operation

Single operator controls

In the past, the missiles stayed stationary in deep mountains with difficulty of maneuver. Launching depended on weather while maneuvers depended on topography.

Over the past few years, along with the commissioning of an amount of information technological equipment, the unit has traveled many times to all places to the south and north of the Yangtze including deep mountains and forest and vast desert. The integration between people and new-type missiles has been continuously enhanced and nearly one hundred training achievements have been obtained.

Training to integrate various telecommunications elements

Training to integrate various telecommunications elements

This drilling was carried out focusing closely on the themes of the systems conducting battle in the very cold weather of Gobi Desert, integrated training of combination of new equipment under complicated electromagnetic environment and fighting while defending itself under heavy enemy fire.

Throughout the training of operation in real war, there was the atmosphere of real war.

The officers and soldiers had to create new movements, overcome dangers and resolve difficulties under various complicated circumstances.

Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Second Artillery Corps’ DF-21C missile troops showed their strength in desert” (translated from Chinese by Chan Kai Yee)