Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Growing Threat to U.S. Aircraft Carriers

As China deploys surface-to-air missile (SAM) launchers to the Woody Islands in the South China Sea, CNAS Defense Strategies and Assessments Program has written a new report, “Red Alert: The Growing Threat to U.S. Aircraft Carriers.” The report examines the short-, medium-, and long-range threats to the carrier – including SAMs and other anti-access/area denial capabilities, in which China is investing heavily – and concludes that U.S. carriers will not be able to act with impunity in the event of future conflict.


Dong Feng makes her upgraded manueverable warhead appearance in the threat mix -

Further complicating defensive measures, the DF-21D – which travels at speeds of Mach
10 – features a maneuverable warhead guided by inertial and GPS navigation and may additionally incorporate cluster fléchettes designed to neutralize carrier flight decks and radar and communications equipment
While open-source details of the system’s operating parameters vary, the DF-21D report -
edly has a circular error probable of 20 meters and is capable of striking “slow-moving targets” at a range of around 810 nm.
Chinese submarines and bombers will continue to pose a threat to the carrier throughout
much of the Western Pacific. In the event of an attack, China would likely launch a large number of A2/AD systems – including ASBMs and submarine- and bomber-delivered ASCMs – along a variety of azimuths. Doing so would increase the difficulty of defense and almost certainly result in significant damage to U.S. carriers within range, even assuming a high degree of Chinese attrition