China Tests ‘Guam Killer’ Missiles


Could strike U.S. carriers in South China Sea

Photo DF-26

Military vehicles carrying DF-26 ballistic missiles, drive past the Tiananmen Gate during a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two on September 3, 2015 in Beijing, China. / Getty ImagesJack Beyrer • June 11, 2021 1:30 pm

The Chinese military tested a set of intermediate-range missiles that could strike U.S. aircraft carriers in the South China Sea.

The People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force—Considered by experts to be one of the most dangerous branches of the Chinese military—tested the DF-26 missiles on Tuesday, according to Chinese state media. The missiles, which are known as “Guam killers” or “carrier killers” due to their extended range, could threaten the U.S. Navy’s ability to respond to crises in the South China Sea.

Col. Jiang Feng, the deputy commander of the brigade that tested the missiles, said the Chinese military conducted the test to ensure it is “able to fight at any time.”

“We have been holding night exercises on a regular basis recently, which usually continue until early the next day,” Jiang said. “We often change training grounds, striking targets and launch bases without prior notice to test the troops’ skills and pave the way for the brigade to fight, and be able to fight at any time.”

The advanced weaponry—which have a range of nearly 2,500 miles—can be used to strike naval targets but also have nuclear capabilities. During the Cold War, nuclear treaties between the Soviet Union and the United States prohibited the production of similar missiles.

The missile tests come shortly after the release of the Biden administration’s 2022 defense budget request, which pared back the Navy’s ability to build up its fleet and procure weapons. Acting Navy Secretary Thomas W. Harker warned in an internal memo, which was leaked on Tuesday, that the budget cuts could constrain the branch’s ability to develop missiles, destroyers, submarines, and fighter jets. Republican defense hawks say the constraints could leave the Navy ill-prepared in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

Source: Washington Free Beacon “China Tests ‘Guam Killer’ Missiles”

Note: This is Washington Free Beacon’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’s views.


Meet China’s Type 055: Beijing’s Very Own Zumwalt Stealth Destroyer?


Image: Reuters.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy is preparing to deploy a new, stealthy, heavily armed high-tech class of Type 055 destroyer intended to offer sea attack, air defenses and wartime support to carriers to carriers and amphibs at war on the open ocean.

by Kris Osborn July 10, 2020

Here’s What You Need To Remember: Commissioned earlier this year in January, the Nanchang has now completed its first replenishment exercises at sea. Interestingly, the ship represents China’s effort to engineer a stealthy destroyer by virtue of its blended body-bow, smooth exterior, absence of large protruding deck masts and few external deck-mounted weapons. In some respects, the ship does appear to resemble some elements of the U.S. Navy’s stealthy USS Zumwalt destroyer.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy is preparing to deploy a new, stealthy, heavily armed high-tech class of Type 055 destroyer intended to offer sea attack, air defenses and wartime support to carriers to carriers and amphibs at war on the open ocean.

A story from China’s People’s Online Daily says the Nanchang, a first-in-class new generation of destroyers can fire anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, anti-submarine missiles and even land-attack missiles. China apparently plans to deploy the new destroyer in support of two of its operational aircraft carriers, the Liaoning and Shandong, the article says.

Commissioned earlier this year in January, the Nanchang has now completed its first replenishment exercises at sea. Interestingly, the ship represents China’s effort to engineer a stealthy destroyer by virtue of its blended body-bow, smooth exterior, absence of large protruding deck masts and few external deck-mounted weapons. In some respects, the ship does appear to resemble some elements of the U.S. Navy’s stealthy USS Zumwalt destroyer. The Nanchang has very similar-looking deck-mounted guns and a smooth, flat, roundly curved deckhouse. Like the USS Zumwalt, there is a decidedly linear, inwardly-angled hull-deckhouse connection. It has narrow command post windows and appears to mirror the hull deckhouse configuration of the USS Zumwalt to some extent with radar panels blended into sides of the ship. Also, the central placement of the deckhouse, blended with a back end area, might represent a deliberate effort to align the ship’s center of gravity and therefore decrease the possibility of capsizing in rough seas.

Some of the ship’s stealth features were pointed out in a 2018 story in The Diplomat which describes the ship as having a “flared hull with distinctly stealthy features including an enclosed bow,” and hidden mooring points and anchor chains. This deck structure indeed does reveal an apparent attempt to engineer a ship with a lower radar signature, as there are no externally mounted, angular or protruding weapons systems hanging from the sides of the ship. There are few separated large, pointy antenna masts apart from one aligned straight up on top of the deckhouse and a small cluster on the back end.

However, unlike the USS Zumwalt which aligns VLS (Vertical Launch Systems) along the periphery of the ship deck, the Diplomat describes the Type 055 destroyers as having a “64 cell block of VLS.” More concentrated VLS might seem to leave a ship more vulnerable to catastrophic attack should an incoming weapon hit the centralized group of VLS. Having VLS on the periphery, however, would enable many VLS to sustain functionality in the event that some were disabled or destroyed by enemy attacks. Also, closely stacked VLS would emit a larger heat signature should multiple missiles be launched concurrently.

Finally, the back of the Nanchang looks a little “busier” than the USS Zumwalt; there does not appear to be a large, flat rectangular helo landing area on the Nanching but rather a series of small antennas and mounted weapons and sensor systems on the back end. These, it would seem, appear less stealthy than a USS Zumwalt but bring an added advantage of close-in or attached firepower. For example, the Diplomat article points out an “eleven barrel H/PJ-11 30mm Cose-in-Weapons System. The USS Zumwalt does not appear to have a deck-mounted Close-In-Weapons System as an Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer does. CWIS can offer a critical last-layer attack-defense weapon able to use a phalanx area gun to knock out approaching close-in drones or small boat attacks—by blanketing areas with thousands of small projectiles per minute.

In addition, aggregated antennas in the back might localize the ship’s electromagnetic signature to some extent, enabling directional emissions and a single, concentrated signal area. This would preclude a need to emit multiple signals from different locations, potentially spreading out an electronic footprint. The deck-mounted guns on the Nanchang are less cylindrical and elongated as they are on the USS Zumwalt. In summary, it seems one could accurately characterize the appearance of the Nanching as a bit of a hybrid blending between a stealthy USS Zumwalt and an armed Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

The Nanchang could also help support the Chinese expeditionary mission scope such as its increased amphibious assault capabilities and expansionist strategies. As far back as 2011, the Chinese Navy has been on the radar for its rapid maritime build-up, according to an essay in National Defense University Press which cites Chinese Frigate and Amphib construction. The 2011 paper, called “The Chinese Navy: Expanding Capabilities, Evolving Roles,” says the Chinese had at that point built 12 new Frigates, a new generation of fast-attack craft and a Type 071 20-ton Amphibious Landing Platform Dock warship. The LPD, as described by the essay, carries two helicopters, two air-cushioned landing craft, and the ability to carry up to eight hundred troops. These Chinese naval assets offer a series of mission scenarios through which the PLA Navy could use its new Nanching destroyer to fortify expansionist aims.

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University. This article appeared earlier this year.

Source: National Interest “Meet China’s Type 055: Beijing’s Very Own Zumwalt Stealth Destroyer?”

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.


Meet China’s Type 055: Beijing’s Very Own Zumwalt Stealth Destroyer?


Image: Reuters.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy is preparing to deploy a new, stealthy, heavily armed high-tech class of Type 055 destroyer intended to offer sea attack, air defenses and wartime support to carriers to carriers and amphibs at war on the open ocean.

by Kris Osborn July 10, 2020

Here’s What You Need To Remember: Commissioned earlier this year in January, the Nanchang has now completed its first replenishment exercises at sea. Interestingly, the ship represents China’s effort to engineer a stealthy destroyer by virtue of its blended body-bow, smooth exterior, absence of large protruding deck masts and few external deck-mounted weapons. In some respects, the ship does appear to resemble some elements of the U.S. Navy’s stealthy USS Zumwalt destroyer.

Doctor Warns: Don’t Use Needles, Fill In Wrinkles With This Instead

South Beach Skin Lab

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy is preparing to deploy a new, stealthy, heavily armed high-tech class of Type 055 destroyer intended to offer sea attack, air defenses and wartime support to carriers to carriers and amphibs at war on the open ocean.

A story from China’s People’s Online Daily says the Nanchang, a first-in-class new generation of destroyers can fire anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, anti-submarine missiles and even land-attack missiles. China apparently plans to deploy the new destroyer in support of two of its operational aircraft carriers, the Liaoning and Shandong, the article says.

Commissioned earlier this year in January, the Nanchang has now completed its first replenishment exercises at sea. Interestingly, the ship represents China’s effort to engineer a stealthy destroyer by virtue of its blended body-bow, smooth exterior, absence of large protruding deck masts and few external deck-mounted weapons. In some respects, the ship does appear to resemble some elements of the U.S. Navy’s stealthy USS Zumwalt destroyer. The Nanchang has very similar-looking deck-mounted guns and a smooth, flat, roundly curved deckhouse. Like the USS Zumwalt, there is a decidedly linear, inwardly-angled hull-deckhouse connection. It has narrow command post windows and appears to mirror the hull deckhouse configuration of the USS Zumwalt to some extent with radar panels blended into sides of the ship. Also, the central placement of the deckhouse, blended with a back end area, might represent a deliberate effort to align the ship’s center of gravity and therefore decrease the possibility of capsizing in rough seas.

Some of the ship’s stealth features were pointed out in a 2018 story in The Diplomat which describes the ship as having a “flared hull with distinctly stealthy features including an enclosed bow,” and hidden mooring points and anchor chains. This deck structure indeed does reveal an apparent attempt to engineer a ship with a lower radar signature, as there are no externally mounted, angular or protruding weapons systems hanging from the sides of the ship. There are few separated large, pointy antenna masts apart from one aligned straight up on top of the deckhouse and a small cluster on the back end.

T

However, unlike the USS Zumwalt which aligns VLS (Vertical Launch Systems) along the periphery of the ship deck, the Diplomat describes the Type 055 destroyers as having a “64 cell block of VLS.” More concentrated VLS might seem to leave a ship more vulnerable to catastrophic attack should an incoming weapon hit the centralized group of VLS. Having VLS on the periphery, however, would enable many VLS to sustain functionality in the event that some were disabled or destroyed by enemy attacks. Also, closely stacked VLS would emit a larger heat signature should multiple missiles be launched concurrently.

Finally, the back of the Nanchang looks a little “busier” than the USS Zumwalt; there does not appear to be a large, flat rectangular helo landing area on the Nanching but rather a series of small antennas and mounted weapons and sensor systems on the back end. These, it would seem, appear less stealthy than a USS Zumwalt but bring an added advantage of close-in or attached firepower. For example, the Diplomat article points out an “eleven barrel H/PJ-11 30mm Cose-in-Weapons System. The USS Zumwalt does not appear to have a deck-mounted Close-In-Weapons System as an Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer does. CWIS can offer a critical last-layer attack-defense weapon able to use a phalanx area gun to knock out approaching close-in drones or small boat attacks—by blanketing areas with thousands of small projectiles per minute.

In addition, aggregated antennas in the back might localize the ship’s electromagnetic signature to some extent, enabling directional emissions and a single, concentrated signal area. This would preclude a need to emit multiple signals from different locations, potentially spreading out an electronic footprint. The deck-mounted guns on the Nanchang are less cylindrical and elongated as they are on the USS Zumwalt. In summary, it seems one could accurately characterize the appearance of the Nanching as a bit of a hybrid blending between a stealthy USS Zumwalt and an armed Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

The Nanchang could also help support the Chinese expeditionary mission scope such as its increased amphibious assault capabilities and expansionist strategies. As far back as 2011, the Chinese Navy has been on the radar for its rapid maritime build-up, according to an essay in National Defense University Press which cites Chinese Frigate and Amphib construction. The 2011 paper, called “The Chinese Navy: Expanding Capabilities, Evolving Roles,” says the Chinese had at that point built 12 new Frigates, a new generation of fast-attack craft and a Type 071 20-ton Amphibious Landing Platform Dock warship. The LPD, as described by the essay, carries two helicopters, two air-cushioned landing craft, and the ability to carry up to eight hundred troops. These Chinese naval assets offer a series of mission scenarios through which the PLA Navy could use its new Nanching destroyer to fortify expansionist aims.

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University. This article appeared earlier this year.

Source: National Interest “Meet China’s Type 055: Beijing’s Very Own Zumwalt Stealth Destroyer?”

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.


The Xian H-20: China’s Latest Next-Generation Stealth Bomber Is Coming


The Xian H-20, which is expected to double the country’s strike range, could make its public debut at this year’s Zhuhai Airshow.

by Peter Suciu

Here’s What You Need To Remember: If the U.S. and its allies deploy more of the next-generation fighter in the region, China may feel compelled to respond by speeding up its Xian H-20 program in the latest – and increasingly expensive and increasingly dangerous – tit-for-tat in the region.

While the goal of a stealth bomber is not to be seen – at least on radar – the Chinese military is reportedly weighing how to officially introduce the still-to-be-delivered next-generation warplane. Military experts, who have anticipated the arrival of the long-range aircraft for a while, may have to extend their wait at least until November.

The Xian H-20, which is expected to double the country’s strike range, could make its public debut at this year’s Zhuhai Airshow. But that is only providing the coronavirus pandemic is under control and contained. Should it make a return this autumn, the Xian H-20 could become akin to “Waiting for Godot” where its promised arrival is continually delayed.

“The Zhuhai Airshow is expected to become a platform to promote China’s image and its success in pandemic control – telling the outside world that the contagion did not have any big impacts on Chinese defence industry enterprises:” an unnamed source told the South China Morning Post this week.

The aircraft had been previously teased about in viral marketing campaigns that wouldn’t seem out of place for a Hollywood blockbuster, and Chinese media had teased that the aircraft would be part of a parade to celebrate the People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s seventieth anniversary in 2019.

There have also been concerns that if the bomber were to make an appearance at this year’s airshow that it could heighten tensions by directly threatening countries that are within its strike range, notably Japan, South Korea and even Australia, including U.S. bases in those countries as well as in the U.S. territory of Guam.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has estimated that the bomber has a cruising distance of more than 5,300 miles and could fly at subsonic speeds, while carrying four powerful hypersonic stealth cruise missiles.

This has provided Beijing with what has been described as a “nuclear triad” of ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched missiles and air-launched weapons. Such a combination of arms has been seen to provide the United States with 24/7 deterrence to prevent catastrophic actions from adversaries, but it could certainly change the power dynamic among China’s regional rivals.

Last year in an annual report to Congress, the DoD warned that China could be inching closer to such a nuclear triad.

“The Beijing leadership is still carefully considering whether its commission will affect regional balance, especially as regional tensions have been escalating over the Covid-19 pandemic,” another unnamed source told the South China Morning Post. “Like intercontinental ballistic missiles, all strategic bombers can be used for delivering nuclear weapons.”

However, as the report to Congress also noted, a true nuclear triad is about more than just possessing the military platforms and weapons.

“To have a true triad involves doctrine, it involves training, a lot of things,” Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver explained as reported by Business Insider last May. Schriver added that the Chinese military is “heading in that direction, toward having capable delivery systems in those three domains.”

The Xian H-20 certainly provides the third piece of the triad, but the aircraft won’t instantly level the playing field. The speed of the H-20 is reportedly slower than its original design. However, the H-20 could be an answer to the U.S. F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. If the U.S. and its allies deploy more of the next-generation fighter in the region, China may feel compelled to respond by speeding up its Xian H-20 program in the latest – and increasingly expensive and increasingly dangerous – tit-for-tat in the region.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.

This article first appeared earlier this year and is being republished due to reader interest.

Source: National Interest “The Xian H-20: China’s Latest Next-Generation Stealth Bomber Is Coming”

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.


Why America’s Skipjack-Class Nuclear Submarines Were Too Successful


And Russia and China took notice. (This reblogger’s note: The article said nothing about Russia and China taking notice)

by Kyle Mizokami

September 15, 2019 (This reblogger’s note: With failure to have anything new to boast, especially US Navy’s blunders in developing Littoral Combat Ship and Zumwalt, the US resorts to nostalgia of its past glory)

Key point: The Skipjack-class was so successful that it became the basis for future submarine innovations.

The Skipjack-class submarines were arguably the first truly modern postwar submarines of the U.S. Navy. Combining two new innovations—a new high-speed hull design and nuclear power—the innovative, fish-shaped subs were the basis of all future American submarines up to the present day.

The United States Navy officially entered the Nuclear Age on September 30, 1954. That was the day the USS Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered attack submarine ever produced, entered service. Powered by a S2W reactor, Nautilus had a virtually unlimited striking range. Nautilus was a technological triumph, heralding a new age in submarine warfare.

Although successful, Nautilus was a one-of-a-kind, proof-of-concept boat. The Skipjacks, with their improved S5W pressurized water reactors, introduced nuclear power to the bulk of the fleet. The S5W was a highly successful design that produced fifteen thousand shaft horsepower and was the standard U.S. Navy reactor until the introduction of the S6G reactor that powers the Los Angeles class. The reactor was also provided to the United Kingdom, where it powered the Royal Navy’s first nuclear powered warship, HMS Dreadnought.

Still, nuclear power represented just half of what the Skipjack class brought to the table. Although the Navy had introduced the nuclear-powered Skate-class subs to the fleet, they were built to a conventional design that made them more resemble late war submarines. As a result, their speed was limited to maximum of twenty knots. A new, hydrodynamic hull that would fully exploit the power of the reactor was needed.

In 1953 the Navy introduced a new diesel electric boat, the experimental research submarine USS Albacore. Albacore introduced a new teardrop-shaped hull, pioneered by legendary submariner Adm. Charles “Swede” Momsen. The symmetrical, tuna-like hull was a radical break from conventional, cigar-shaped hulls. While the Nautilus emphasized nuclear propulsion, Momsen wanted a submarine that was fast and agile.

Indeed, Albacore was fast—its sleek hull propelled it to twenty-six knots, and with the introduction of silver-zinc batteries and contra-rotating propellers it reached an amazing thirty-three knots. It could also turn quickly, at a rate of 3.2 degrees per second, instead of the average 2.7 degrees per second of conventional submarines.

The two innovations, a teardrop hull and nuclear power, proved complementary in the Skipjack class. Nuclear powered, the Skipjacks did not spend most of their time on the surface, and thus could dispense with design characteristics that improved seakeeping on the surface. A nuclear-powered boat could spend all of its time underwater, so it made sense to make their hulls as underwater efficient as possible.

The Skipjack’s sensor suite was centered around the BQS-4 active/passive sonar array, which had a range of six to eight thousand yards. It also had a BQR-2 passive array with a maximum detection range of thirteen thousand yards. It also had search and attack periscopes in the sail and a surface radar for navigating on the surface.

The submarines were also well armed, with six Mk. 59 bow torpedo tubes. Unlike previous classes, they did not have aft-firing torpedo tubes—their large single propeller made firing torpedoes rearward hazardous. They could fire the Mark 16 antiship torpedo, a veteran of the latter days of World War II. They could also fire the Mark 37 antisubmarine torpedo, a homing torpedo with both active and passive guidance. Eventually the single Mark 48 torpedo replaced both the Mark 16 and Mark 37. Finally, the class could also launch the Mark 45 ASTOR antisubmarine wire-guided nuclear torpedo, which had a range of eight miles and packed an eleven-kiloton nuclear warhead.

Six Skipjacks were built—Skipjack, Scamp, Scorpion, Sculpin, Shark and Snook. The third ship in the class, Scorpion, was lost with all hands in 1968 under mysterious circumstances. Although generally regarded as a success, the accelerated pace of weapon development during the Cold War ensured that a replacement for the Skipjacks was just around the corner. Just halfway though the design cycle, a new class, the Thresher class (later the Permit class, after Thresher was lost), was already on the drawing board. These kept the nuclear propulsion and teardrop hull form of their speedy predecessors, but as a larger, heavier sub were slower.

The Skipjack’s hull was later used as the basis of the first purpose-built fleet ballistic missile submarines, the USS George Washington class. A 130-foot-long missile compartment was inserted between the navigation/control areas and the nuclear reactor. Each of the five George Washington boats was fitted with sixteen Polaris A1 missiles. The first submarine-launched ballistic missile, each Polaris A1 had three two-hundred-kiloton nuclear warheads and a range of 2,500 nautical miles.

The Skipjack class was an example of how innovative new technologies can combine to produce a weapons system with vastly improved characteristics. The design was so successful that it provided a basis for future submarines, not only in the United States, but elsewhere around the world. Skipjack’s motto was “Radix Nova Tridentis,” or “Root of a New Sea Power”—an accurate description of this unique class of submarines.

Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami. This article first appeared several years ago.

Source: National Interest “Why America’s Skipjack-Class Nuclear Submarines Were Too Successful”

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.


US Military Needs Weapons, Allies, Efficiency to Counter China’s Rise


In its report “US must be ready for military clash with China, Pentagon official Chad Sbragia says”, SCMP quotes Chad Sbragia, deputy assistant secretary of defense for China, as saying, “US needs to develop weapons, boost ties with allies and improve military efficiency to be ready against ‘formidable’ China”

Of the three tasks developing weapons, boosting ties with allies and improving military efficiency, developing weapons is first of all US military’s weak point. It lacks vision in having wasted lots of resources on useless Zumwalt destroyers, LCSs, etc. and now has to catch up with China in developing hypersonic weapons.

The second task is even more unrealistic, the report says, “Traditional partners have bridled over President Donald Trump’s aggressive use of tariffs, his decision to withdraw from multilateral agreements and his focus on ‘America First’ policies.”

US allies are more likely to focus on themselves first than America first.

US long-term ally the Philippines has told the US that it would end the Philippines-US Visiting Forces Agreement, a move to reduce its alliance with the US.

The US certainly needs to improve its military efficiency but without strict discipline how can it achieve that? The commanders in charge of the two destroyers that clashed with commercial ships have not been duly punished yet. Without strict discipline how can US military be efficient?

Can US military officers accept strict enforcement of discipline?

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/3051683/us-must-gird-possible-military-clash-china-pentagon-official?utm_medium=email&utm_source=mailchimp&utm_campaign=enlz-scmp_international&utm_content=20200221&MCUID=480db96a00&MCCampaignID=dfa7b64609&MCAccountID=3775521f5f542047246d9c827&tc=8.


China Is Building a “Undersea Great Wall” To Take on America in a War


Defenses build under the waves.

by Lyle J. Goldstein October 27, 2019

Key point: Sea mines have a strong history of imperiling adversarial navies.

As defense analysts brood over the evolving military balance in the western Pacific, considerations related to undersea warfare keep coming to the fore. Given the lethality of modern anti-ship cruise missiles, surface combatants of all types may well be scarce on the future naval battlefield. Moreover, precision strikes on airbases (and the inherent vulnerability of aircraft carriers) suggest that aerial platforms could additionally be rather sparse during the first few critical weeks of any military conflict that breaks out in the Asia-Pacific region. That leaves submarines (assisted by undersea robots) to decide the epic battle.

Western strategists have been reasonably comfortable with this conclusion, safe in the knowledge that Washington possesses a very considerable undersea advantage over Beijing. That advantage includes acoustic superiority, larger and more capable boats, and a wealth of experience both in operating submarines and in developing undersea warfare-technology innovations. However, this column has occasionally drawn attention to caveats in the assumption of U.S. undersea superiority, including China’s robust mine-warfare posture, its broad front effort to improve its antisubmarine capabilities, as well as possible attempts to experiment with alternative submarine doctrines. That is not to even mention the fact that the U.S. Navy fleet of nuclear attack submarines is now declining to a perilous low of just forty-one boats by 2029—a “valley” in U.S. naval capabilities that is widely noted in Chinese military sources.

This edition of Dragon Eye seeks to sketch out the undersea warfare competition in the western Pacific in slightly greater detail, by discussing a new Chinese-language article about China’s new “undersea Great Wall” (水下长城) that appeared in a late 2015 edition of China Ocean News (中国海洋报). The article presents a rather complete discussion of China’s new “undersea monitoring system” (水下观测系统). Making clear the national-security imperative for developing this system, the article begins with the suggestion that China’s maritime security situation has become “significantly complicated.” In particular, it is pointed out that in the undersea domain, China’s “doors have been left wide open” (门户洞开). China’s methods for tracking undersea targets are said to have been “weak.”

Nevertheless, it is worth pointing out that the article does not rely on the military rationale alone to justify this ambitious research and development enterprise. A paragraph is devoted to the many nonmilitary applications of such a system, that include providing advanced warning of natural disasters, such as typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis. Thus, the undersea monitoring system is explained as an important way to “reduce social and economic costs” to China’s massive coastal population. Another rationale offered for the system is that all the other major maritime powers are involved in similar research projects, including Canada, the United States, Japan and the European Union. These systems under development by other countries have civilian research objectives “and at the same time have military goals too” (同时用于军事目的).

According to this rendering, the undersea observation system is intended to rectify three lingering gaps. First, Beijing’s lack of ability to monitor targets in the undersea domain is not commensurate with its status as a great power. Nor is it commensurate with “the growing strategic threat” (战略威胁的增长严重). Finally, China’s longtime substandard capability for undersea observation is said to be out of sync with Beijing’s naval surface and subsurface combat capabilities.

This account relates that the first elements of a Chinese undersea observation system went into the water in 2010. Other reports I have analyzed suggest the initial setup was near China’s North Sea Fleet headquarters at Qingdao. A second installation occurred off of Hainan Island in 2011 and part of the system went into operation for testing in May 2013 near the Sanya nuclear submarine base. Two other projects were also mentioned, including one near Shanghai at Yangshan, as well as one managed by Zhejiang University at Zhairuoshan Island. The latter system was deployed in August 2013, according to this article.

It is emphatically stated, moreover, that China’s ambitions for its undersea observation system cannot be restricted to its coastal waters, but rather may be appropriate to deploy into all ocean areas touching Chinese national interests. Therefore, the systems may be put into place in “the near seas, the depths of the far seas, and around islands bordering the far seas, as well as in strategic passages and such areas” (对近海, 深远海, 边远海岛, 战略通道等区域). More than once in the article, the author compares this endeavor to a space project in terms of complexity and difficulty. Indeed, a definite concern is voiced in the article concerning poor coordination among different ministries, capabilities that are too decentralized, duplicative efforts and wasted resources. Notably, the author calls for developing a “strict system of secrecy” for the project.

The above developments should serve as a warning that Beijing is not simply willing to yield to American undersea dominance. The recent RAND “Scorecard” report on the evolving military balance in the western Pacific does actually attempt to model certain aspects of a hypothetical undersea-warfare battle. For example, an evaluation of U.S. submarines operating against a Chinese amphibious force invading Taiwan yields the conclusion that growing Chinese ASW forces might kill 1.82 U.S. submarines per week of the campaign (p. 213). If the campaign lasted two weeks, therefore, the U.S. Navy could presumably expect to lose approximately three to four submarines.

But this conclusion, entailing very significant U.S. losses, could actually be too rosy. Bathymetry (water depth) would mean very shallow and tight spaces for comparatively larger U.S. submarines. China could employ unconventional platforms like coast guard vessels or even fishing boats to patrol adversaries’ submarine operating areas and report on periscope sightings and missile launches. In creating such a low-tech ASW targeting system, the Chinese would know well that such nonmilitary vessels would not be worth the expenditure of even a single precious American torpedo since submarines are well known to have comparatively limited magazines, nor any easy solution for resupply.

What is most troubling about the RAND study is that it does not seriously grapple with the problem of sea mines and their likely employment against U.S. submarines. Ten of fifty-two U.S. submarines lost in the Pacific War were likely destroyed by sea mines. It is well known, moreover, that China has deployed and continues to work diligently on ASW-optimized sea mines. The undersea observation system discussed above presents yet another challenge to U.S. undersea superiority that did not figure into the RAND estimate of losses.

True, these waters may be so shallow and noisy as to limit the value of these new undersea sensors for Beijing. But Chinese scientists are hard at work trying to master the principles of shallow-water acoustics, and such breakthroughs cannot be ruled out.

Lyle J. Goldstein is Associate Professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. The opinions expressed in this analysis are his own and do not represent the official assessments of the U.S. Navy or any other agency of the U.S. Government. This article first appeared several years ago.

Source: National Interest “China Is Building a “Undersea Great Wall” To Take on America in a War”

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 shot down another missile in space


Like a hypersonic bullet hitting another hypersonic bullet.

By Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer February 14, 2018

A Hit!
On February 5, during the Chinese midcourse ABM test, the interceptor hit the target missile in space. Pictured here: the exhaust plumes from the DN-3 rocket motor, suspended in the stratosphere for a spectacular show in the morning light.
Weibo

On February 5, China used a long-range missile interceptor, tentatively identified as the DN-3, to destroy a target missile in space. This isn’t the first time the nation has managed it; in 2010, China used a midcourse interceptor, likely another DN-3, to destroy a target missile in the exoatmosphere, or roughly 62 miles above the earth’s surface. That 2010 test made China the second country in the world, after the United States, to develop hit-to-kill, exoatmospheric missile defense capability.

Kinetic Kill Vehicle
The upper stage of the DN-3, shown here in a CCTV broadcast of Xi Jingping’s visit to a research lab in 2011, includes the rocket motor stage and the shrouded interceptor, which maneuvers itself into the path of the incoming missile. Note the dark apertures on the rim of the nosecone. Those are electro-optical and infrared sensors for guiding the upper stage in the stratosphere and into space.
CCTV

Compared to boost-phase and terminal missile defenses, exoatmospheric ballistic missile defense (BMD) is the most difficult of all missile defense mission sets. It requires launching a hypersonic missile interceptor to shoot down another hypersonic missile in space. Hit-to-kill interceptions, such as those performed by the DN-3 and the American SM-3, are even more technically demanding. They require the interceptor vehicle to precisely smash into the incoming warhead in order to destroy the missile with force of impact alone. It’s such a difficult task that early BMD missiles like the LIM-49 Spartan used a nuclear warhead to overcome fire-control issues.

One and the Almost Same
Shown in this CGI drawing are two exoatmospheric missiles: anti-satellite (left) and anti-ballistic (right).
Planeman 2009

While the system is reportedly based nf the solid-fueled DF-21 medium-range ballistic missile, the DN-3’s rocket motor is believed to be similar to that of the SC-19 anti-satellite (ASAT) missile. That should come as little surprise, as midcourse anti-ballistic and anti-satellite technologies have much in common. They both need to strike high-velocity targets precisely in the vacuum of space.

China Strategic Radar
This massive electronically scanned radar—which measures up to 100 feet in diameter by some estimates) has enough power to track high-orbit satellites and and long-range missiles.
Guancha Syndicate

The timing of the test is notable. It occurs amid ongoing Korean Peninsula tensions and recent test flights of India’s Agni V intercontinental ballistic missile, as well as the release of the 2018 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review. China’s pursuit of state-of-the-art BMD technology reflects renewed competition as well as a larger pattern in development of high-tech, high-speed weapons like railguns, hypersonic glide vehicles, and scramjet engines.

Peter Warren Singer is a strategist and senior fellow at the New America Foundation. He has been named by Defense News as one of the 100 most influential people in defense issues. He was also dubbed an official “Mad Scientist” for the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command. Jeffrey is a national security professional in the greater D.C. area.

Source: Popular Science “China shot down another missile in space”

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


Northrop CEO Says China’s R&D spending could ‘leapfrog’ U.S


Northrop Grumman Corp CEO Wes Bush takes part in the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit in Washington September 7, 2011. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Northrop Grumman Corp CEO Wes Bush takes part in the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit in Washington September 7, 2011. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

China could “leapfrog” the United States in certain technological capabilities in coming years, thanks to its burgeoning investment in research and development, the head of Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N) warned on Thursday.

“Although the United States is still the leader overall in research and development spending, that is changing quickly,” the defense company Chief Executive Wes Bush said in an address to the Wings Club, an aviation organization in New York.

U.S. spending growth is lagging behind China’s, he said, “a situation that acts like a break on progress and even places our nation’s technological lead in jeopardy.”

Measured in purchasing power parity, China is expected to surpass the United States in R&D spending by around 2022, he said, adding that “the quality of R&D is China is impressive.

U.S. Defense Undersecretary Frank Kendall has been critical about the high level of share buybacks among defense companies, which put a drain on capital resources, and recently said he hoped new research funding in the Pentagon’s fiscal 2017 budget proposal would help motivate companies to invest more in internal research and development, or IRAD.

Bush said he thought defense companies are striking the right balance between research spending and rewarding investors, but acknowledged Kendall’s frustration. “Defense R&D has taken a very brutal hit” in recent U.S. budgets, he said.

Bush said numerous emerging technologies where China is investing “represent avenues for potential leapfrogging.” Among them, he cited cyber technology and synthetic biology as areas where China could assume global leadership.

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott; Editin gby Tom Brown)

Source: Reuters “Northrop CEO Says China’s R&D spending could ‘leapfrog’ U.S”


China Fields DF-26C New Intermediate-Range Nuclear Missile to Reach Guam


Chinese Internet photos first published Feb. 29, 2012 show China's new DF-26c intermediate-range ballistic missile

Chinese Internet photos first published Feb. 29, 2012 show China’s new DF-26c intermediate-range ballistic missile

U.S. intelligence agencies recently confirmed China’s development of a new intermediate-range nuclear missile (IRBM) called the Dongfeng-26C (DF-26C), U.S. officials said.

The new missile is estimated to have a range of at least 2,200 miles—enough for Chinese military forces to conduct attacks on U.S. military facilities in Guam, a major hub for the Pentagon’s shift of U.S. forces to Asia Pacific.

As part of the force posture changes, several thousand Marines now based in Okinawa will be moved to Guam as part of the Asia pivot.

In April, the Pentagon announced it is deploying one of its newest anti-missile systems, the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) to Guam because of growing missile threats to the U.S. island, located in the South Pacific some 1,600 miles southeast of Japan and 4,000 miles from Hawaii.

And on Feb. 10, the Navy announced the deployment of a fourth nuclear attack submarine to Guam, the USS Topeka.

Chinese military officials said the Topeka deployment is part of the Pentagon’s Air Sea Battle Concept and posed a threat to China.

Disclosure of the new Chinese IRBM follows the announcement this week by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that the U.S. military is sharply reducing its military forces.

“How can [U.S. policymakers] possibly justify such reductions in defense spending when American forces as far away as Guam, Korea, and Okinawa are targeted by these nuclear missiles,” said one official familiar with reports of the DF-26C.

It was the first official confirmation of China’s new IRBM, which officials believe is part of the People’s Liberation Army military buildup aimed at controlling the Asia Pacific waters and preventing the U.S. military entry to the two island chains along China’s coasts.

The first island chain extends from Japan’s southern Ryuku Islands southward and east of the Philippines and covers the entire South China Sea. The second island chain stretches more than a thousand miles into the Pacific in an arc from Japan westward and south to western New Guinea.

Few details could be learned about the new missile and a Pentagon spokesman declined to comment, citing a policy of not commenting on intelligence matters.

The missile is said to be on a road-mobile chassis and to use solid fuel. The fuel and mobility allow the missile to be hidden in underground facilities and fired on short notice, making it very difficult to counter in a conflict.

The DF-26C is expected to be mentioned in the Pentagon’s forthcoming annual report on China’s military power, which is due to Congress next month.

Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, told a congressional hearing this week that missile and other nuclear threats from China and Russia continue to grow.

“The current security environment is more complex, dynamic, and uncertain than at any time in recent history,” Haney said in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Advances of significant nation state and non-state military capabilities continue across all air, sea, land, and space domains—as well as in cyberspace. This trend has the potential to adversely impact strategic stability.”

Russia and China in particular “are investing in long-term and wide-ranging military modernization programs to include extensive modernization of their strategic capabilities,” Haney said. “Nuclear weapons ambitions and the proliferation of weapon and nuclear technologies continue, increasing risk that countries will resort to nuclear coercion in regional crises or nuclear use in future conflicts.”

Richard Fisher, a China military affairs specialist, said Chinese reports have discussed a DF-26 missile as a medium-range or intermediate-range system. Medium-range is considered between 621 miles and 1,864 miles. Intermediate-range is between 1,864 and 3,418 miles

Online reports of three new types of medium- and intermediate-range missiles have said the weapons could be multi-role systems capable of firing nuclear or conventional warheads, along with maneuvering anti-ship and hypersonic warheads, Fisher said.

According to Fisher, two likely transporter erector launchers (TEL) for the new missiles were displayed last year on Chinese websites. They include two versions from missile TEL manufacturing companies called Sanjiang and Taian.

Three years ago, the state-run Global Times reported that the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. (CASIC) was working on a new 2,400-mile range missile that would be deployed by 2015.

That Chinese manufacturer also produced the DF-21 missile, prompting speculation that the DF-26C is a follow-up version of that system.

“China is developing and will soon deploy new longer-range theater missiles as part of its anti-access, area denial strategies, to be part of a combined force of new long-range bombers armed with supersonic anti-ship missiles, plus space weapons and larger numbers of submarines,” Fisher said in an email.

These forces are being deployed to push U.S. forces out of the first island chain and to have the capability to reach the second chain, including Guam, he said.

“China also consistently refuses to consider formal dialogue about its future nuclear forces or to consider any near term limits on them,” Fisher said. “China is giving Washington and its Asian allies no other choice but to pursue an ‘armed peace’ in Asia.”

According to Fisher, the Chinese missile buildup has forced the Navy to redesign its first aircraft carrier-based unmanned combat vehicle into a larger and longer aircraft.

The new Chinese long-range missiles also highlight the urgent need for a new U.S. long-range bomber to replace an aging fleet of strategic bombers.

To counter the Chinese threats, the United States should field its force of anti-ship ballistic missiles on submarines to match Chinese capabilities and deter China from using its naval power against U.S. allies such as Japan and the Philippines, Fisher said.

Russian officials have cited China’s intermediate-range missiles as one reason Moscow is seeking to jettison the U.S.-Russia Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which bans medium and intermediate ballistic and cruise missiles.

U.S. officials have said Russia is violating the INF treaty with a new cruise missile and testing its long-range missiles to INF ranges.

“It is time to retire the INF treaty because the United States now requires this class of missiles in order to deter China,” Fisher said.

“The bottom line: We are in an arms race with China and if America falters, so will our strategic position in Asia, which will surely increase the chances of conflict, nuclear proliferation and even nuclear war.”

The Pentagon’s latest report on China’s military forces, published last year, said the PLA is investing in “a series of advanced short- and medium-range conventional ballistic missiles, land-attack and anti-ship cruise missiles, counter-space weapons, and military cyberspace capabilities.”

The weapons “appear designed to enable anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) missions, what PLA strategists refer to as ‘counter-intervention operations,’” the report said.

The Washington Free Beacon first reported on March 7, 2012, that the Chinese military had revealed online photos of a new intermediate-range nuclear missile.

The new missile is believed by U.S. officials to be the DF-26C.

China’s military frequently uses the Internet to reveal the first photos of new weapons systems.

Analysts said the missile TEL shown in the photo is smaller in size than China’s DF-31 intercontinental missile and larger than the DF-21 missile.

Source: Washington Free Beacon “China Fields New Intermediate-Range Nuclear Missile: DF-26C deployment confirmed”

Related posts

  • China Developing DF-26 Aircraft Carrier Killer Missile with Hypersonic Warhead dated January 30, 2014
  • China challenging U.S. military technological edge: Pentagon official dated January 29, 2014
  • China’s 12 Advanced Weapons to Be Turned out or Developed in 2014 dated January 24, 2014
  • China Tests Mach 10 Hypersonic Weapon: US media dated January 14, 2014
  • China: DF-41 ICBM with Range of 14,000 km, Able to Break Through US Anti-missile Network dated October 8, 2013
  • First Revealing Photo of Simulated Test of China’s Anti-Carrier Missile dated January 24, 2013