01 March 2010

“China’s New Jin-Class SSBN is ‘Relatively Noisy’”

Doug Richardson, “China’s New Jin-Class SSBN is ‘Relatively Noisy,’ According to US Intelligence,” Jane’s Missiles and Rockets, March 2010, pp. 6-7.

… China has been conducting advanced research into an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) programme since the 1990s … An article by Andrew S Erickson—a professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute at the US Naval War College—that was published in the February issue of Jane’s Intelligence Review, notes: “If deployed successfully, an ASBM would offer a relatively accurate, over-the-horizon strike capability from ashore, without having to risk surface vessels or submarines in engagements.”

However, Erickson sees potential problems for China in areas of joint service operations and information usage. “China will need to develop an ASBM firing doctrine, including deciding on objectives of target destruction; what to shoot at, and when; whether to fire one ASBM, several or a large salvo; which warheads to use; and whether to co-ordinate with other munitions and services.”

“The launching of an ASBM would essentially be a joint service operation, which also raises the messy bureaucratic questions of which services should control which sensors (such as over-the-horizon radar) and how they should be used. With ASBM operations requiring data fusion from multiple sources across multiple commands or services, problems with institutional ‘stovepipes’ are likely, particularly during general wartime crisis management. Particularly revealing… would be which command level would have the ultimate authority for release of an ASBM.”