Personal and academic blog. Explores the borderlands between rhetoric, politics and intelligence.


Chinese Carrier Killers

More on the Chinese naval development: Janes reports that the Chinese ups their missile capabilities, especially the anti-shipping part, that has long had a central role in the deterrence strategy towards Taiwan.

Not only does China want a carrier of some sort, they also want to be able to sink or damage the American carriers. This is a tough challenge that the russians also pondered - they came up with a "swarming" tactics, firing several tens or hundreds of cruise missiles from all angles at the same time, to overwhelm the anti-missile guns.

Now the Chinese have thought up a new concept, using a tactical ballistic missile (a rocket that launches vertically, but has less range than an intercontinental missile, such as those used for nuclear warheads) to hit carriers:

In Chinese terms, this is a Shashaojian - the assassin's mace - a 'silver bullet' weapon that would, literally, drop from the clear blue sky. A 2004 report by the US Office of Naval Intelligence made it plain that China was developing the capability to use its DF-21 tactical ballistic missiles (TBMs)against targets at sea. The DF-21 carries a single warhead of about 500/600 kg over a distance of 1,500 km to 2,000 km, or more. Designed as a nuclear delivery system, the DF-21 can also be fitted with a conventional payload. If made to work, such a weapon would be a 'carrier killer' without equal.



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