CCTV says in its video report on PLA’s parade at Zhurihe Training Base on September 30 that 40% of the military hardware in the parade is brand new homegrown ones that have never shown to the public.
As China keeps secret the details of its new weapons, in addition to CCTV’s report we have to get information about them from Strait Times report “China’s newest military hardware unveiled at PLA military parade at Zhurihe army base” and SCMP’s report “From stealth fighters to ballistic missiles, China shows the world its weapons of war: A breakdown of the technology on display for PLA’s anniversary celebration” on July 31.
As lots of new weapons are shown in the parade, we have to describe them in several posts to avoid great length that readers may find it boring.
First, we give a description of the ballistic missiles showcased by China’s Rocket Force.
There are first of all China’s strategic ICBMs that are most important but its formation is shown at the end of the parade. CCTV only says the two types of ICBMs in display use solid fuel but gives no description about them. According to Strait Times and SCMP, one of them is DF-31AG.
According to Leung Kwok Leung, a Hong Kong military analyst, in China’s latest system of assigning numbers to missiles, the letter “A” represents nuclear warhead, “B” means regular warhead, and “G” refers to an improved version. Therefore, DF-31AG is an improved version of DF-31 nuclear ICBM with extended range of 11,000 km able to hit almost everywhere in continental United States.
SCMP says, “Its (DF-31AG’s) survivability has been improved by its off-road launch capability, and it is believed to be capable of carrying up to five warheads, which can be independently aimed and make the weapon more likely to be able to penetrate a missile defence system.”
There is no description of the other type of ICBM by the three media.
There are on display intermediate strategic ballistic missile DF26 with nuclear or conventional warhead. It is said that the missile has a range of 4,000 km able to hit both ground and surface targets; therefore it can be an aircraft carrier killer like DF-21D.
CCTV says that DF-21D medium-range missile shown in a separate phalanx is able to adjust its trajectory on its own to ensure accurate hit of its target so that it is regarded as an aircraft carrier killer.
There is a phalanx of DF-16G conventional missile with great accuracy and fire power and capability of quick response. CCTV says it is used to destroy important strategic targets.
As the recent military is entirely different from previous ones, I will have more posts to describe what may be interesting for readers.
Comments by Chan Kai Yee on CCTV, Strait Times and SCMP’s reports, full text of the latter two can respectively be found at http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/chinas-newest-military-hardware-unveiled-at-sundays-military-parade-at-zhurihe-army
Footage of CCTV’s live report in Chinese 1 hour 16 minutes long can be found at http://news.cctv.com/2017/07/30/VIDEHgtfBHiwohA5RtiaMkeL170730.shtml in its website.
SCMP says in its report today titled “New Chinese missile capable of threatening US, Japan bases in Asia makes latest appearance in drills”, “Beijing posts video of medium range DF-16 with a range of 1,000km – within striking distance of Okinawa, home to several US military installations, Taiwan and Philippines”
Previously some Chinese web users give DF-16 the nickname “Okinawa Courier” and DF-26 “Guam Courier” and believe they can destroy US bases there.
Is DF-16 so powerful?
Can it penetrate enemy missile defense?
SCMP says that the final stage of the two-stage missile can adjust its trajectory to evade anti-missile defenses such as the US Patriot system deployed by Taiwan.
As the missile can carry three MIRV warheads and make it even more difficult to intercept.
Is DF-16 accurate enough to hit its target?
SCMP says, “(T)he missile is believed to be accurate to within as little as 5 metres of the target – similar to that of a cruise missile.”
Is DF-16 powerful enough to destroy its target?
SCMP says the three warheads it carries exceed 1,000 kg. It means if it carries a single warhead, the warhead may contain more than one ton high explosive.
That gives me the impression that the missile is also a carrier killer as SCMP says that it can adjust its trajectory to hit slow moving target. An aircraft carrier is precisely a slow moving target that has to be destroyed with such a heavy warhead.
Since China has such warhead technology, I wonder that it may install such warheads in its DF-21D and DF-26 anti-ship missiles to sink US aircraft carriers as far away as 3,000 km in Guam while land-attack DF-26 may destroy US land bases in Guam with the accuracy of cruise missile. No wonder US Navy Matters’ article on February 1 worries about “Guam’s susceptibility to ballistic missiles such as the DF-26 and other intermediate to long range missiles” especially if the missiles are so accurate and can evade missile defenses.
If such are Chinese missiles’ capabilities, China must be happy if the US sends most of its navy to attack China to enable it to annihilate most US navy near it so as to prevent its trade lifelines through the oceans from being cut by powerful US navy.
Is the US so stupid? No, according to Reuters’ report on February 3, US Defense Secretary Mattis said that there was no need for dramatic US military moves in the South China Sea and stressed that the focus should be on diplomacy. True, it is not wise to send US navy within lethal range of Chinese missiles.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2068462/new-chinese-missile-capable-threatening-us-japan-bases.
According to Russian military observation website, China is producing J-20 faster than US F-35B and F-35C to ensure China’s air superiority in long- and super long-range air battles.
A regiment of 30 J-20s is enough to quickly and effectively intercept US early warning and manned and unmanned reconnaissance aircrafts, turning US military blind in areas near China.
With the production capacity of making 36 J-20s a year, China will have a regiment of J-20s by mid 2018.
In addition, 2 J-20 regiment (60 planes) plus dozens of DF-21D are enough to drive away US and Japanese navies. The US may develop better missiles to intercept DF-21D and even DF-26 as US AN/SPY-1A/D multi-function radar can detect the ballistic missiles. However US radar cannot detect a fleet of 10 J-20s conducting stealth attack at US navy with their radars turned off. The 20 YJ-91 supersonic anti-ship missiles carried by those J-20s are enough to sink a US aircraft carrier.
China is now developing hypersonic microwave electromagnetic warheads and stealth warheads even more difficult to intercept. China will have 500 J-20s by 2026, which will enable it to have advantages over others’ navy in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Russian media: US aircraft carrier battle group doomed facing fleet of J-20s” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
China’s DF-21D and DF-26 anti-ship ballistic missiles have already been well-known. In my post “Volley of China’s DF-21D Missiles Kills US Aircraft Carrier at Very Low Cost” on June 6, I said China was able to launch a volley of at least 168 DF-21D missiles simultaneously from its six DF-21D rocket brigades to kill an entire US aircraft carrier battle group in no time.
In addition, the launch vehicles can be reloaded in hours for a second volley.
DF-26 is said to be more powerful, but there is no information about its number and the number of DF-26 China is able to launch in a volley.
According to Depth Column of mil.news.sina.com.cn, to ensure that no US warships can escape China’s annihilation counterattack, China has, in addition, developed three kinds of anti-ship cruise missiles that the US has no effective defense: YJ-12, YJ-18 and YJ-100.
YJ-12 weighs between 2-2.5 tons. It has a terminal speed of Mach 4.0 as it uses a scramjet engine. It has a range of 400 km. As it is carried by fighter jets, fighter/bombers and bombers such as Su-30MKK, J-16 and H-6G/K, the range of attack of YJ-18, including that of the warplane, can be 2,000 km and longer. Its high speed makes it difficult to intercept. One such heavy missile can kill one US Aegis destroyer while more than 2 can neutralize an aircraft carrier.
YJ-18 is another powerful anti-ship cruise missile that the US has no effective defense. It is but supersonic at its terminal stage but it flies with a zigzag trajectory difficult to intercept. It is mainly launched from the VSL of China’s Type 052D destroyers and 093A/B attack nuclear submarines.
According to mil.sohu.com, Britain’s Jane’s Defense Weekly says that the anti-radiation function of YJ-18 is so powerful that it destroys 60% of an Aegis warship’s electronic system even if it explodes 50 meters away from the warship.
Compared with YJ-12 and YJ-18, YJ-100 is not well-know as it is a new missile disclosed by foreign media not long ago. Its greatest advantage is its long range of 800 km for beyond visual range attack with a low trajectory. It is said to be used by China’s new large Type 055 destroyer.
According to mil.news.sina.com.cn, the simultaneous attack by two of the above five kinds of missile will be surely lethal.
Source: mil.news.sina.com.cn “Depth Column: The five Chinese Missiles that the West will have no effective defense for a decade” and mil.sohu.com “Foreign media regards YJ-18 as one of the best anti-ship cruise missiles, one of which can paralyze a US warship” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the reports in Chinese)
By Dave Majumdar June 20, 2016
The United States Navy will have to live with the proliferation of anti-ship ballistic missiles that have the potential to threaten an aircraft carrier. However, the threat from such weapons is not insurmountable, and in many cases, the danger might be overblown.
“I think there is this long-range precision strike capability, certainly. Everybody says A2/AD [anti-access/area-denial],” Adm. John Richardson, the U.S. Navy’s chief of naval operations, told an audience at the Center for a New American Security’s annual conference on June 20. “A2/AD is sort of an aspiration. In actual execution it’s much more difficult.”
While U.S. Navy officials—and many Washington, D.C., think tanks—have talked about the potential threat to the service’s aircraft carrier fleet from weapons such as the Chinese DF-21D and DF-26, the difficulty of developing a true A2/AD capability is seldom discussed.
As Richardson pointed out, A2/AD strategies have existed since the dawn of warfare. What makes the new Chinese capability different is the combination of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability with long-range precision weapons. “The combination ubiquitous ISR, long-range precision strike weapons take that to the next level,” Richardson said. “It demands a response.”
But the threat is not just contained in the South China Sea, Richardson said. The anti-ship ballistic missile threat is increasingly found around the world and will continue to proliferate. Indeed, the hermit kingdom of North Korea has apparently acquired anti-ship ballistic missile technology. As such, the Navy will have to get used to living with the threat of anti-ship ballistic missiles and other similar threats.
“I think that the proliferation of anti-ship ballistic missiles is just a fact of life we’re going to have to address,” Richardson said. “That fact that it’s in the hands of North Korea—a leader who has been less predictable than many others brings another dimension to that equation.”
However, that does not mean that the aircraft carrier is obsolete or that the carrier air wing is unable to conduct its mission. As Navy officials have mentioned repeatedly in private conversations—weapons such as anti-ship ballistic missiles require an extensive “kill chain”—including ISR sensors, data-networks, command and control and other systems—in order to be effective. That extensive kill chain can be attacked and disrupted through electronic attacks, cyber warfare or some other kinetic means. “Our response would be to inject a lot of friction into that system,” Richardson said—disrupting the enemy kill chain.
Indeed, when A2/AD zones are discussed, often the entire radius of where an enemy missile can attack targets—such as an aircraft carrier out at sea—is marked as a no go zone. But in the Navy’s view, it can operate inside those zones, but the service would have to use different tactics. Moreover, the assumption that an area defended by a weapon such as a DF-26 is a no-go zone makes the implicit assumption that the Chinese—or other enemy—has the ISR assets and networks to make their weapon work perfectly. “That’s just not the reality of the situation,” Richardson said.
Nonetheless, anti-ship ballistic missiles and China’s growing A2/AD capabilities will remain a potential threat. But that threat is not insurmountable and will not render America’s mighty super carriers or their air wings obsolete in the near future.
Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for the National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar.
Source: National Interest “Here Is Why the US Military Is Not In Panic Mode Over China’s Carrier-Killer Missiles”
According to a mil.eastday.com article, the US can no longer boast the strong missile defense capabilities of its Aegis destroys in an aircraft carrier battle group. An Aegis destroyer can be armed with only 90 Standard-3 Block1B missile defense missiles that cost $10 million each and $900 million in all. With their maximum interception rate, the defense of all those missiles can be broken by the volley of China’s anti-ship ballistic missiles that cost less than $20 millions in all. As the anti-ship missiles are based on land, their launch system costs much less than an Aegis destroyer that costs $2 billion.
According to previous reports summarized in my posts dated May 20 and February 17, China has 7 anti-ship missile brigades each with the capabilities of launching 24-32 anti-ship ballistic missiles simultaneously. Together, they can attack with the volley of 168 to 224 missiles to sink an entire aircraft carrier battle group. Moreover, they can reload for a second round of volley within hours.
Source: mil.eastday.com “US spends 60 tons of gold but unable to defend China greatest anti-ship ballistic missiles”, mil.huanqiu.com “Rocket Force conducts drill of simultaneous attack with lots of missiles” and Mingpao “Rocket force’s drill to attack aircraft carrier and bombard airfield which, according to experts, aims politically at scaring the US and shocking Taiwan” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the reports in Chinese)
PLA Drill of Simultaneous Multiple Missile Attack at Aircraft Carrier dated May 20
China Launch DF-21D Anti-ship Missiles with Maneuverable Warheads dated Febrirary 17
Washington Post worries that US aircraft carriers may have lost their unchallenged primacy in its report “Report: U.S. aircraft carriers’ ‘unchallenged primacy may be coming to a close’.” The report the newspaper refers to is the report, titled “Red Alert: The Growing Threat to U.S. Aircraft Carriers,” published yesterday by the Center for a New American Security, a D.C.-based think tank that focuses on national security.
Washington post says that the report “claims that the Navy’s carrier operations are at an inflection point. Faced with growing threats abroad, the United States can either ‘operate its carriers at ever-increasing ranges … or assume high levels of risk in both blood and treasure.’”
In fact, due to the advance of technology new weapons will replace old ones. Aircraft carriers are no exception; therefore, in the end of Washington Post quotes the report as advicing: The United States “must re-examine the relevance of the carrier and its air wing and explore innovative options for future operations and force structure,” the report concludes. “If the United States is to maintain its military superiority well into the future, it cannot afford to do otherwise.”
The report suggests switching to use of submarines. In fact, Pentagon has indeed order some more attack nuclear submarines. From that we see China’s wisdom in building artificial islands in the South China Sea to counter the attack by cruise missiles launched from attack nuclear submarines.
Comments by Chan Kai Yee on Washington Post’s report.
Full text of Washington Post’s report can be viewed at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/02/22/report-u-s-aircraft-carriers-unchallenged-primacy-may-be-coming-to-a-close/
That of Kelley Sayler’s report titled ““Red Alert: The Growing Threat to U.S. Aircraft Carriers” can be viewed at http://www.cnas.org/sites/default/files/publications-pdf/CNASReport-CarrierThreat-160217.pdf