PLA Second Artillery Corps' DF-21C ballistic missiles

In 2009, PLA Second Artillery Corps' DF-21C ballistic missiles on the parade on the National Day  

Willard, commander U.S. Pacific Command, recently received an interview with Japanese media, said China's Dongfeng-21D anti-ship ballistic missile developments. He pointed out that the DF-21Dmissile after intensive testing after deployment to the east coast now, and already have an initial operational capability (IOC). The deployment of missile-US relations will enter a new situation.

"China's Dongfeng-21D anti-ship missile with an initial operational capability"

Year of the Rabbit with the arrival of many foreign observers, China has far exceeded the expected rate, achieved significant military achievements. December 27, 2010 Asahi Shimbun of Japan Yoichi Kato, a senior defense reporters on the U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Robert Willard F · interview, can provide important new insight:

Yoichi Kato: China's anti-access / area denial (A2/AD) capability, the Chinese anti-ship ballistic missile development in which the current status? How can the actual deployment?

Willard: China's anti-ship ballistic missile system is subject to extensive testing. Argument with the West is that China's anti-ship ballistic missile systems already have "initial operational capability (IOC)", that is, its operational capability has been available – I think China will recognize this – but China continues to develop its . I guess in the next few years, it will continue in the testing phase.

Q: The Chinese anti-ship missile system already has an initial operational capability?

A: This question, you need to ask the Chinese, but through the development of anti-ship missile system, which in the public confirmed the news and the continued testing of the system, I guess it should be equivalent to an initial operational capability with the U.S. system.

Q: China has improved the targeting missile delivery systems and sensor systems. Then, the integration of the entire system has been completed?

A: to enter the initial combat phase of the system, usually refers to the general pattern in accordance with the system design is completed.

Q: But they have not the actual flight tests, or test the attack moving ships, right?

A: We have not seen the entire system of water testing.

Q: But you think they already have this capability yet?

A: I think the anti-ship ballistic missile development and testing of components has been completed.

Q: For the United States, in China's anti-intervention / area denial capabilities, this threat even more than the submarine threat?

A: No, I do not think so. Anti-access / area denial capability is a relatively new term, tried to reflect the development of China and the capabilities of other countries. In fact, not only the Chinese have A2/AD capacity. However, for China, this ability by the integrated air defense systems, such as submarines and other advanced marine systems such as ballistic missiles and other advanced anti-ship missile systems, and power projection systems.

Anti-access / area denial, more or less to reach Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam, so many countries in Asia and the Pacific China A2/AD capacity within the coverage area. So, for those countries, the issue of concern. Although a large extent, A2/AD affect their ability to ensure that the waters surrounding China's military capacity, but this is beyond the ability of growing the first island chain, and with the overlap occurs in many countries in the region. For this reason, this issue deserves attention Southeast Asian countries, worth U.S. concern.

A pair of Willard by Kato Yang interview can be seen, China's Dongfeng-21D anti-ship ballistic missile is no longer out of reach. Beijing has successfully developed, tested and deployed the world's first to take advantage of land-based mobile launchers, remote targeting mobile carrier battle groups in the weapons systems. Second Artillery Corps has been in conflict with the use ofDF-21D missile's ability to deal with the U.S. aircraft carrier battle group, therefore, can be expected that the deterrent power of China, there has been increased.

Since the 20 years since the last century, the U.S. Navy has been based on the "carrier-based aircraft carrier air force is the first and last line of defense" concept, to build aircraft carrier battle groups. May bypass the anti-ship ballistic missile Air Force, will remove it from the defense equation. Prior to this, only submarines can provide this capability. In this regard, while China is building a strong surface fleet, but could not carry out effective and advanced anti-submarine warfare, while the United States can – use of carrier-based aircraft. In contrast, for the purposes of any national army, defense missiles, is a very difficult problem.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense report on Chinese military power in 2010, China's anti-ship ballistic missile is a derivative of DF medium-range ballistic missiles -21. "Missile range of more than 1,500 kilometers, armed with maneuverable warhead, as with the appropriate command and control system integration, the PLA is likely to provide for the attack aircraft carrier cruising in the Western Pacific's capabilities."

DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles may have been deployed to the east coast

Then, "the initial operational capability" exactly mean? According to an authoritative American source, the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and related terms, "initial operational capability" means the "first to obtain the effective deployment of weapons, equipment or approved the special properties of the system capabilities, but also the equipment by a fully trained training, equipment and support personnel from the armed forces driving or control. "Moreover, the U.S. Defense Acquisition University's Web site also points out that" when the number of troops and / or organizations in the force structure scheduled to receive access to the system and the capacity to deploy and maintain the the ability of the system, then it will have an initial operational capability. "

However, this still amounted to less than "full operational capability." Although the Department of Defense Dictionary of the term has not yet been given to explain, but the U.S. Defense Acquisition University have "full operational capability," defined as "when all the forces and / or organizations in the force structure scheduled to receive access to the system, and the capacity to deploy and the ability to maintain the system, then have the full operational capability. "

Perhaps most importantly, the "initial operational capability" far beyond the "initial threat capability" of the fuzzy state, which is sometimes used to describe those who although was successfully tested but not deployed system. In 2007, a different description of the missile, the Defense Department official explained: "This is the section to determine when the Chinese leadership needs them, can be obtained and make use of the system. Initial threat capabilities and the ability of the initial line of battle The difference is that we now assess east -31 may not fully integrated into the force structure, may not get all the necessary support personnel / equipment, and we thought they had it fully operational … … The difference is said ready or available for use in the system, now may not be fully operational. "

Common in the U.S. defense body, all the terms mentioned above have a very clear definition and connotation, so the exact system for comparison with the foreign is not a small challenge. Moreover, this is a very difficult question, because if not fully take into account all nuances to misunderstandings may occur. Willard seems to be "initial operational capability" into the appropriate system within the United States, the United States at the same time stressed that it is a special term.

Therefore, China's Dongfeng-21D anti-ship ballistic missile weapon system may have been fielded combat troops (not testing or training unit), and these forces are capable / certified / eligible to deploy the weapon in the battle system.

In accordance with the U.S. on "Initial operational capability," the standard definition, and there have been several times from China associated with many anti-ship ballistic data, according to the order reached the following conclusions:

Test: China must carry out rigorous testing program to prove that DF-21D anti-ship missile are mature enough to conduct a preliminary to the production, deployment and use level. This may include a variety of flight tests conducted, although so far not been fully integrated in the water.

Production: Today's "initial operational capability" state strong evidence, the report referred to in fall 2009 completed an east-21D rocket motor factory or some related preparations have occurred.

Forces: China's military must have received the DF-21D missile. Moreover, these forces have been carrying out the deployment, use and maintenance of which anti-ship ballistic missiles, supporting infrastructure and related systems training. This may be reported in July of this year's Second Artillery Corps, Shaoguan, Guangdong Province missile brigade of the new things related to construction of the facility.

C4ISR: Although it is a continuous challenge and no doubt will encounter areas for improvement, DF-21D of the command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) infrastructure must be sufficient to support the basic aircraft carrier battle group (CSG) positioning capacity. In 2009, China's advanced satellite launched one after another move that Beijing's concerted efforts to build space-based architecture is to support this initial capacity (though still in the moderate stage.)

Deployment: the deployment of the Second Artillery Corps under the previous model, is expected to better performance, and connected to the DF-21D C4ISR will deploy a large number of different forces, until most of the anti-ship ballistic missiles to deter the PLA that the target level sufficient so far.

Deterrence: the basis of the current capacity is expected that China has been looking through the Dongfeng-21D anti-ship ballistic missile reaches a certain level of deterrence.

Finally, an important caveat – interference. Chinese anti-ship missile with just the initial operational capability, but it does not mean that U.S. and coalition forces should not ignore the effectiveness of interference.

Although the initial operational capability status is an important message, but the Chinese news, official statements and reports in the United States also has a lot of data on anti-ship ballistic missiles. They not only those of Sino-US strategic relations provide a favorable case studies, under the conditions of incomplete information to analyze the staff also very valuable.

DF-21D missile-US strategic relations will enter a new situation

Now, Willard, General view, China's anti-ship ballistic missile system is feasible, must be considered. This system is not illusory. This is not "baseless" the bluff. The United States can not ignore such a capability.

Now the question is, what China can achieve the operational level? How fast? More broadly, from a strategic point of view, this will result in areas which affect the dynamics of deterrence on the U.S. strategic, operational concepts and force deployment plan and what it means? The Second Artillery is not even their own operations to determine the actual case, the DF-21D's exact role is. Prior to the actual use, no one to determine whether this anti-ship ballistic missiles to achieve the desired operational results.

In contrast, the basic idea of anti-ship cruise missiles to be effective. China's anti-ship ballistic missile is consistent with the promotion or publicity is still within the unknown, but essentials have been tested in battle (the war in Frankfurt in 1982, the Royal Navy has had that experience before.) Torpedo, laser-guided bombs and GPS-guided bombs is such a situation.

Meanwhile, anti-ballistic missile system is not independent, which include submarines, strike aircraft, surface ships and other systems, including even part of it. Therefore, even if defective weapons, could be back, still represents another problem facing U.S. forces in the Western Pacific of crisis, we must address this issue.

DF-21D initial operational capability status means that some of the possibilities not previously considered, it must be considered. With anti-ship ballistic missiles, in terms of deterrence, these uncertainties will benefit China. In crisis or combat situations, the U.S. commander must designate the range of DF-21D cycle, and then decide whether to risk sending the aircraft carrier battle groups into the range circle.

Today, more and more confident China is determined to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity. DF-21D regardless of the actual combat anti-ship ballistic missile capabilities, China-US strategic relations have entered a new dynamic. In the new year approaching, I hope that Beijing and Washington can find a better, more peaceful means to resolve their differences.


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