26 August 2011

Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg: “China Has ‘Workable’ Anti-Ship Missile Design, Pentagon Says”

Tony Capaccio, China Has ‘Workable’ Anti-Ship Missile Design, Pentagon Says,” Bloomberg, 25 August 2011.

China has developed a “workable design” of the world’s first anti-ship ballistic missile, potentially capable of hitting and disabling a U.S. aircraft carrier, according to Pentagon officials.

China also has satellites in place “that could provide some targeting data on large surface ships in the region, and this expanding infrastructure is augmented by non-space-based sensors and surveillance assets,” said Navy Commander Leslie Hull-Ryde, a Pentagon spokeswoman on China, in an e-mail.

“Over the next few years, we expect China will work to refine and integrate many emerging systems, including the DF- 21D” missile, she said. …

Today’s statement also builds upon remarks in December by Admiral Robert Willard, the head of U.S. Pacific Command, to the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun that China had acquired an “initial operational capability” for the missile.

Neither the Pentagon statement nor Willard speculated on when China might have an effective system. China at this time “has provided no indication of whether they consider this an operational system,” Hull-Ryde said. She declined to say if the Pentagon believes the missile currently poses a threat to U.S. carriers.

Taiwan, which relies on the U.S. military presence, says in its new 2011 National Defense Report that China already has “produced and fielded” the missile “in small numbers,” said a translation provided by Andrew Erickson, an associate professor in the Naval War College’s Strategic Research Department. …

For the  analysis from Taipei mentioned in this article, see Taiwan 2011 National Defense Report: DF-21D ASBMs ‘have been produced and deployed in small numbers in 2010’.”

For the latest analysis of official Chinese statements, see “General Chen Bingde, PLA Chief of General Staff, Becomes First Chinese Official to Confirm Publicly that “2,700 km-Range” DF-21D Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) is in Development; “Not Operational Yet” by PLA Definition.”

For the latest analysis and sources on Chinese ASBM development, see “China’s Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) Reaches Equivalent of ‘Initial Operational Capability’ (IOC)—Where It’s Going and What it Means.”

Detailed analysis by top subject matter experts of Chinese ASBM development and strategic implications is offered in five dedicated chapters in Andrew S. Erickson and Lyle J. Goldstein, eds., Chinese Aerospace Power: Evolving Maritime Roles (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2011).

For an explanation of Chinese ASBM development and its larger implications, see the China Maritime Studies Institute Lecture of Opportunity, Chinese Sources Discuss the ASBM Threat to the U.S. Navy,” that I presented at the Naval War College on 21 March 2011.

For detailed analysis of Admiral Willard’s statement regarding China’s ASBM reaching IOC, see Andrew Erickson and Gabe Collins, China Deploys World’s First Long-Range, Land-Based ‘Carrier Killer’: DF-21D Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) Reaches ‘Initial Operational Capability’ (IOC),” China SignPost™ (洞察中国), No. 14 (26 December 2010).

For further background on Chinese ASBM development, see also “China Testing Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM); U.S. Preparing Accordingly–Updated With Latest Analysis & Sources.”