An Eastern Wind
China’s Carrier-Killer Ready for Its Close-Up

Beijing will mark the 70th anniversary of the Second World War by parading, for the first time, a new missile said to be capable of taking out aircraft carriers. With a range potentially extending more than 900 miles and a top speed faster than any counter-measures deployed to intercept it, the new DF-21D missile sounds like a fearsome weapon. Ashley Townshend, a University of Sydney research fellow, told the FT that “This is the missile that really does potentially encroach on US capability to deploy military power close to Chinese shores. It significantly raises the risks and costs.”

More background on the weapon can be found here, via the Diplomat:

The missile is mobile and fired from a truck-mounted launcher, making its detection more of a challenge. Most accounts have the weapon receiving guidance from over-the-horizon radar, satellites and other pieces of intelligence gathering technology. Many reports have the missile hitting its target, most likely a military vessel like an aircraft carrier, at a speed many times faster than sound (some say Mach 10 – 12). Scholars debate if present U.S. missile defenses can shield carriers against the weapon, especially if sea-based AEGIS naval platforms were also pressed to defend against sea and land-based cruise missiles simultaneously in numbers that could overwhelm the amount of interceptors available.

It is, of course, still unclear how functional this new weapon will be in the real world. The full slew of countermeasures available to the U.S. Navy is vast, and includes disrupting the complicated satellite guidance systems required to make the missile accurate. But if it does work, the premier instrument of American naval supremacy could be meaningfully blunted.

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