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August 06, 2010

Dong Feng 21D

China's long rumoured carrier-killer, an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) might not be vapourware.

SinoDefence has a DongFeng 21 development history. China Military Report has DongFeng 21 pictures and commentary.

Update: Welcome Times of India and Eurasia Review readers. Please feel free to have a look round while you are here.

Two further updates: Ry of Castle Argghhh! writes with a link to Arms Control Wonk - "DF-21 Delta: Some Early Thoughts" - and comments thusly.

Basically, they've got to show a tonne on the targeting and detection side.

That's not to say that the impact of such a thing won't be disproportionate to the actual utility, as such things usually go, neh?, since it'd only be a fool who thinks he can sail blithely around in that part of the world since the weapon hasn't been proven with war shots(and that may be the longest---possible run on-- sentence I've written this year).

I'm just not on board with the Gary Brecher aka War Nerd view on this (why have carriers? Carriers are for losers. Everyone should go for subs!).

For anyone not familiar with Gary Brecher's argument: "This is how the carriers will die".

Long time Flea-readers will know I am pro-sub, but submarines cannot project power - and prestige - and carriers can and do. That said.... Describing the DF-21D as a harassment weapon, J.E. Dyer's discussion of the challenges faced by China's missile designers is not the main question. We should rather be thinking in terms of how an ASBM will be deployed tactically alongside other weapons systems to make life difficult for a carrier and its escort group to do what they have been deployed to do. Busy the group defending itself to the point it cannot project power: In this way lies "senility" for carrier-based power projection.

If the DF-21D is mainly a nuisance, these issues can be addressed in the medium term with tactics, while we look for longer-term fixes in technology. But the DF-21D will be only one of the disruptions a naval force faces. It’s probably not going to be a very effective way to literally “kill” a carrier for some years to come. A submarine nailing the carrier at the keel is a much better bet: take out propulsion, you take out the whole weapon system. Without propulsion, the carrier can’t make the 35 knots of wind over the deck that it needs to recover aircraft. And China has lots of submarines.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at August 6, 2010 07:44 AM