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Missile being launched from a submarine  (Source: Daily Mail)
Experts believe it could be years before the missiles are fully operational

There are potential future hot spots for military conflict all over the world, with China being high on the list. Since the days of WWII, the U.S. Navy has had the clear superiority in surface ship warfare in the waters in and around China, but the Chinese have a new missile system that could cause the U.S. to rethink its plans for any future conflicts in the area.

Newsroom America
 reports that China has a new missile known as the DF-21 that has reached its "initial operational capability" (IOC). The IOC milestone for the Chinese weapon system means that the design has been settled on but the system will continue to be refined according to military experts.

Admiral Robert F. Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, "An analogy using a Western term would be 'initial operational capability (IOC),' whereby I think China would perceive that it has an operational capability now, but they continue to develop it. I would gauge it as about the equivalent of a U.S. system that has achieved IOC."

The missile can be launched from land and is capable of striking surface vessels that are moving, with enough force to destroy a U.S. supercarrier with one hit. 

A U.S. Naval Institute report from last year said of the missile system, "The size of the missile enables it to carry a warhead big enough to inflict significant damage on a large vessel."

The missile is launched from land, soars into the atmosphere, and then uses a complex guidance system combined with maneuverability and a low radar signature to evade defensive weapons and hit moving targets. So far, the U.S. has not detected over-the-surface tests of the missile on moving targets.

Despite the continued growth of the Chinese military and the new weapons system, 
DailyMail reports that the Chinese military still maintains that it is no threat to countries in its region. The missile would be guided by an interwoven system of UAVs, submarines, and satellites to its target.

Chinese military spokesperson Jiang Wu said, "I can say that China pursues a defensive national policy. ... We pose no threat to other countries. We will always be a force in safeguarding regional peace and stability."

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By bobsmith1492 on 12/29/2010 12:14:37 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if the Phalanx system can defend against such missiles? I guess it'd be a question of the radar signature of the missiles.

RE: Phalanx?
By warisz00r on 12/29/2010 12:33:50 PM , Rating: 2
The design of China's ACK missile may include consideration of defeating close quarter defense systems like the Phalanx or the Goalkeeper.

The main line of defense against this threat to a carrier group, IMO, is AEGIS-equipped ships.

RE: Phalanx?
By FITCamaro on 12/29/2010 1:21:28 PM , Rating: 2
Well as long as the gun could lock onto the missile in time I don't see why a ton of 20mm bullets wouldn't stop one.

RE: Phalanx?
By marvdmartian on 12/29/10, Rating: 0
RE: Phalanx?
By marvdmartian on 12/30/10, Rating: 0
RE: Phalanx?
By Mudhen6 on 12/29/2010 1:48:46 PM , Rating: 2
Phalanx would have a lot of problems dealing with large, supersonic missiles. I don't know about this Chinese missile, but it is a concern that Phalanx would be ineffective against some Russian designs because even if the 20mm bullets find their mark, you still have a multi-thousand pound missile carcass inbound at supersonic speed. Such missiles, contrary to popular belief, do not necessarily insta-explode when hit. IIRC, most are armored.

Carriers and other military vessels are being outfitted with the RIM-116 missile, or the Evolved Sea Sparrow, which are designed to complement/supplant the Phalanx CIWS. The primary US Navy SAM, the SM-2MR/ER, have also been updated/are in the process of being updated to deal with evasive, supersonic anti-ship missiles.

RE: Phalanx?
By Chillin1248 on 12/29/2010 1:48:07 PM , Rating: 2

This is a ballistic missile with multiple warheads (MIRV). Each warhead is basically a semi-guided chunk of metal with no explosive warhead. It relies on kinetic energy alone to do its job, after all it is traveling the in the realm of 15,000MPH; also as such there is no current defense against these missiles.

The biggest question that remains unanswered is how do they plan on guiding these missiles?

Hitting a stationary thousand of kilometers away is hard enough, parking it on a moving target the size of a football field is incredible. For comparison, our most advanced SLBM, the Trident D-5, has a rough accuracy of 90m. Perhaps they might make the warheads nuclear in the future (unannounced yet), but that opens up a whole new can of worms, then again so does killing a Carrier [Battlegroup].


RE: Phalanx?
By AssBall on 12/29/2010 1:55:57 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly if you are thinking tactically and have enough resources, you overcome the guiding flaws with overwhelming redundancy. Would you just shoot one missile at a several billion dollar piece of well defended equipment if you were adamant about destroying it? You go for overkill or don't go at all.

RE: Phalanx?
By ekv on 12/30/2010 3:03:58 AM , Rating: 2
This is a ballistic missile with multiple warheads
No. There are a couple variants, including 300KT nuke. About 1100 mi range. Terminal guidance is believed to be advanced radar design. Suspected dummy warheads and highly maneuverable (actual) warhead. CEP around 300m, which of course means nothing if it has a nuke.
traveling the in the realm of 15,000MPH
Hell no. X-51 is our latest, greatest and fastest. E.g.
Btw, Mach 6 is (very) roughly about 4500mph.

U.S. does not have anything to counter this, says current reports.

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