17 November 2009

“China’s New Missile May Create a ‘No-Go Zone’ for U.S. Fleet”

Tony Capaccio, China’s New Missile May Create a ‘No-Go Zone’ for U.S. Fleet,” Bloomberg, 17 November 2009.

China’s military is close to fielding the world’s first anti-ship ballistic missile, according to U.S. Navy intelligence. The missile, with a range of almost 900 miles (1,500 kilometers), would be fired from mobile, land-based launchers and is “specifically designed to defeat U.S. carrier strike groups,” the Office of Naval Intelligence reported. Five of the U.S. Navy’s 11 carriers are based in the Pacific and operate freely in international waters near China. Their mission includes defending Taiwan should China seek to exercise by force its claim to the island democracy, which it considers a breakaway province. …

An article in the May 2009 edition of Proceedings, a magazine published by the U.S. Naval Institute, said the missile “could alter the rules in the Pacific and place U.S. Navy carrier strike groups in jeopardy.”

“The mere perception that China might have an anti-ship ballistic missile capability could be a game-changer, with profound consequences for deterrence, military operations and the balance of power in the Western Pacific,” the article said. ….

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In addition to this Proceedings article, Andrew Erickson has also published on Chinese anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) development in Naval War College Review, China Brief, and CBS News Online.