29 March 2010

China Testing Ballistic Missile ‘Carrier-Killer’

Andrew Erickson,China Testing Ballistic Missile ‘Carrier-Killer’,” Danger Room, Wired.com, March 29, 2010.

Last week, Adm. Robert Willard, the head of U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), made an alarming, but little-noticed disclosure. China, he told legislators, was “developing and testing a conventional anti-ship ballistic missile based on the DF-21/CSS-5 [medium-range ballistic missile] designed specifically to target aircraft carriers.”

What, exactly, does this mean? Evidence suggests that China has been developing an anti-ship ballistic missile, or ASBM, since the 1990s. But this is the first official confirmation that it has advanced to the stage of actual testing. If they can be deployed successfully, Chinese anti-ship ballistic missiles would be the first capable of targeting a moving aircraft carrier strike group from long-range, land-based mobile launchers. And if not countered properly, this and other “asymmetric” systems—ballistic and cruise missiles, submarines, torpedoes, and sea mines—could potentially threaten U.S. operations in the western Pacific, as well as in the Persian Gulf. …