Strategic Weapons: Chinas Heavenly Thunderbolts

Archives

May 27, 2007: The Chinese military press has published numerous articles on how to defeat U.S. Navy carrier task forces. For example, China is known to be developing terminal guidance systems for its ballistic missiles. This would enable a Chinese ballistic missile to be fired to an area, about a hundred kilometers in diameter, believed to contains an American carrier. If the carrier was there, the conventional warhead would come right down on the carrier. For this kind of job, the ballistic missile could use an armor piercing (non-explosive) warhead. At the high speed of an ballistic missile warhead (several times faster than a rifle bullet) plunging back to earth, the damage to the carrier would be enormous. At the very least, flight operations would be halted. This tactic is not new, both the United States, and the defunct Soviet Union worked on the technical aspects of this.

Chinese officers also discuss the use of high-altitude nuclear explosions to produce an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) that would damage communications on U.S. warships below. By using EMP at sea, there would be less damage to civilian infrastructure. China also appears to be continuing work on anti-satellite satellites. China is already a major player in the Internet warfare area, and is believed to be actively attacking American military networks.

China also discusses using their ballistic missiles, with conventional warheads, against headquarters and communications facilities, both on Taiwan, and American bases in the region. Less often discussed is how China would cope with similar attacks on its own headquarters and infrastructure. China is also still at a major disadvantage when it comes to ICBMs. It cannot reach the United States with any of these, while the U.S. has enough ICBM warheads to obliterate China. But the bet here is that a vigorous grab for Taiwan would not bring down an American ICBM attack. So if China can defeat the U.S. Navy in a battle for Taiwan, a war is won without risking the destruction of China itself.

 


Article Archive

Strategic Weapons: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close