Friday, May 9, 2014

Fearful Sino Weaponry

GsGf's Sino Weaponry advisor gets his cherry popped over at Nat'l Interest with a fully crunk debut bout China's near future arsenal...

China recognizes the potential for conflict with Great Satan , however small, and is planning accordingly. China is pouring resources into weapons specifically designed to target American forces and limit their ability to operate near the Chinese mainland. These “anti-access, area-denial” (A2/AD) weapons have the potential to exclude American forces from China’s innermost defense zone: the so-called “First Island Chain” consisting of the Kuril Islands, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and Borneo.

The chances of a shooting war between China and Great Satan are remote, and neither is set on war with the other. However, the extent to which the interests contradict or compete with each another means war cannot be entirely ruled out. With that in mind, here are the five Chinese weapons Great Satan fears most.

DF-21D Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile

The most dangerous weapon to U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific region is the Dong Feng-21D anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM). Somewhat prematurely dubbed “the Carrier Killer”, the DF-21D is a medium-range ballistic missile specifically designed to attack American aircraft carriers, skirting the defenses of a U.S. naval task force to attack ships from above at hypersonic speeds.

DF-21D is a land-based system, with an estimated range of up to 1,500+km. Once launched, the missile would release a reentry vehicle traveling at speeds of up to Mach 10-12. The resulting velocity and kinetic energy—to say nothing of the reentry vehicle’s payload—would cause serious damage to even the largest naval vessels. Nobody knows for sure, but it is believed direct hits from a DF-21D could be enough to put an aircraft carrier out of action, or even sink it.

Chengdu J-20 Fighter

China’s first fifth-generation fighter, the J-20 is a large, twin-engine aircraft currently in the demonstrator phase. The J-20’s mission set is unknown, but the aircraft’s robust design seems to support it going in a number of different directions. The aircraft promises to be long-range, fast- and low-observable—if not outright stealthy. As a long-range fighter, the J-20 could also patrol disputed territories, particularly in support of China’s recently declared Air Defense Identification Zone.

Anti-Satellite Weaponry

China has at least an operational weapon, the SC-19. A derivative of the DF-21, the SC-19 ballistic missile is equipped with the KT-2 (a kinetic kill vehicle). Launched into space, the KT-2 is guided to target by infrared sensors. The KT-2 does not have an explosive warhead but destroys enemy satellites by colliding with them.

Type 071 Landing Platform Dock

Power projection is becoming increasingly important to China, particularly to enforce territorial claims in the East and South China Seas. China’s ability to land amphibious troops on some island chains such as the Senkaku, Paracel and Spratly islands could embolden the leadership to do exactly that.

China has three amphibious assault ships of the Type 071 class, Kunlunshan, Jinggangshan and Changbaishan. The three Type 071 ships were built by the Hudong-Zhonghua shipyards of Shanghai. Each ship displaces 20,000 tons and is nearly 700 feet long. The 071 class can transport up to a battalion of marines—roughly 400 to 800 troops—and up to eighteen armored vehicles.

The ships have a flight deck capable of simultaneously operating two W-9 troop-carrying helicopters, and can store another four in a large hangar. The ships also have a very long well deck that can store and launch amphibious vehicles, rigid-hulled inflatable boats, and four Chinese troop-carrying hovercraft similar to the American LCAC.

Offensive Cyber Operations

The People’s Liberation Army believes establishing “electronic dominance” early on is critical to their success in a future conflict. Of the five Chinese weapons that America fears the most, the most enigmatic is China’s ability to mount offensive cyber

These five weapons do not make war more likely—rather, they may give self-conscious China the confidence to cooperate with its neighbors and the United States. Alternately, they may tempt China to decisively settle longstanding claims—or create new ones. One thing is for certain: they put the ball in China’s court.