Skip to main content

Hypersonic weapons research and development has been underway in China for decades,” said Rick Fisher: Is The U.S. Military Ready? Interviews


On November 15, 2020, Andrew S. Erickson reported:

China’s DF-21D And DF-26B ASBMs: Is The U.S. Military Ready?

Andrew S. Erickson, interviewed by Harry J. Kazianis, “China’s DF-21D And DF-26B ASBMs: Is The U.S. Military Ready?19FortyFive, 15 November 2020.

… … … With its continued development of ASBMs and associated targeting architecture, China continues to work on changing the game in the South China Sea and beyond—but so too does the United States with its own developments and countermeasures. The game is afoot, and much is at stake. But by no means is the game over for the U.S. Navy, in the South China Sea or anywhere else. My bottom line: there’s no cause for declinist defeatism.

First, give us your sense of the development of both these missiles? Are you surprised at the speed of how quickly China has developed, deployed and tested them over the last decade?

I’m not surprised at the speed of PRC ASBM development overall. My study of Chinese aerospace history for my doctorate at Princeton revealed Beijing’s early emphasis on ballistic missiles, including some ASBM-relevant thinking. Three sentences alone repaid several years of graduate reading. In 1972 Vice Premier Zhang Chunqiao told China’s Central Military Commission: “We are continentalists. Now guided missiles are well developed. Installed on shore, they can hit any target, and there is no need to build a big navy.” In March 2007, I testified before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission: “China is…thought to be in the process of developing anti-ship homing warheads for its ballistic missiles, which is a very worrisome development…If they work, they would be extremely difficult to defend against.” Several years of intense open-source research culminated in my 2013 book, Chinese Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) Development: Drivers, Trajectories, and Strategic Implications.

That said, the following wording in DoD’s 2020 China report leapt out at me: “The PLA has fielded approximately 200 IRBM launchers and more than 200 missiles.” To me, this is the single most important sentence in what I believe is the best-written report to Congress yet in the two decades that the Pentagon has been issuing them. Reported ranges for systems currently in the PLA Rocket Force inventory suggest that these 200 IRBMs are DF-26s, with some number of the DF-26B ASBM variant among them. The DF-26’s dominance of China’s arsenal within that set of operationally-important range parameters suggests great confidence in this particular missile for two major reasons: (1) extraordinarily fast production and deployment in high numbers of a modern weapon system, and (2) no apparent need to hedge with multiple missile types with broadly overlapping capabilities.

While we knew back in the summer that China tested the DF-21D and DF-26 missiles, we did not know they were tested against moving vessels, as many assumed the missiles splashed down into the sea. What message is China trying to send? 

With its recent ASBM tests, reportedly against moving targets, Beijing seeks to demonstrate a maturing capability and enhance deterrence. It seeks to overawe audiences limited in access to technical details and limited in understanding of basic technical principles—and thereby to generate deference that it has not earned operationally. But however sophisticated and successful, these tests are but one element in a far greater equation. First, ASBMs’ effectiveness in practice hinges on a comprehensive reconnaissance and targeting architecture. As datapoints at the last four Zhuhai Airshows I attended impressed upon me, China is clearly working diligently to develop such architecture. But it remains a work in progress that has not been validated concretely in critical respects. Second, growing American countermeasures make this at least a two-sided contest.

In your view, has the United States and its allies taken this threat seriously? Have we done enough to try and mitigate it? 

The U.S. Navy has taken this threat very seriously; both in terms of hard kill and soft kill systems. There is certainly more work to be done, but America is pacing the threat with manifold potent countermeasures. Soviet Chief of the General Staff Nikolai Ogarkov termed this struggle of opposites the “dialectic of negation in military affairs.” In American parlance, “The enemy gets a vote.” American military “votes” thus far include Aegis ballistic missile defense, Standard Missile-6, and electronic warfare systems with the potential to confuse incoming ASBMs with false targets that—proportionately speaking—could already far exceed the 355+ ship force that the U.S. Navy is planning to build. As well it should. []



Popular posts from this blog

Vox Cantoris vs. Aqua

The Catholic Monitor commenter Aqua had this to say to the Vox Cantoris website: Aqua said… Fred, your topic here reminds me of a dust-up, a few days ago, on Vox Cantoris. He asserted that it is our duty as Christians to wear masks to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass if the government tells us we must, or they will close our Churches. My response to him was that I find it inconceivable that an orthodox Catholic, such as himself, would ever submit to unjust dictates from secular government over how we approach Our Lord in Holy Mass. My response to him was that the Mass belongs to Catholics and we decide, within the bounds of Tradition, and in accord with the Word of Jesus, how we conduct ourselves in Holy Mass. Only one authority prevails over Mass and that is our God and the Sacred Tradition given by Him to guide us in all times and places. Understand, there is nothing inherently wrong with wearing a mask to Mass. But there is EVERYTHING wrong with wearing a symbol

Inventor of mRNA Vaccines, Robert W. Malone MD: "'Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò is calling for the creation of an Anti-Globalist Alliance 'under the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the only King and Savior,' to fight back against the establishment of the New World Order'"

T his is what the inventor of mRNA vaccines, Robert W. Malone MD himself, reported about the vaccines: Robert W Malone, MD @RWMaloneMD "We conclude that the mRNA vacs dramatically increase inflammation on the endothelium and T cell infiltration of cardiac muscle and may account for the observations of increased thrombosis, cardiomyopathy, and other vascular events following vaccination." []   Moreover, he goes even further and is quoting Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò's call for the creation of an Anti-Globalist Alliance:   Robert W Malone, MD @RWMaloneMD "Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò is calling for the creation of an Anti-Globalist Alliance “under the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the only King and Savior,” to fight back against the establishment of the New World Order." Abp. Viganò calls for Anti-Globalist Alliance to stop global enslav... Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò is calli

Flashback: Virtue Signaling Francis Trads did to Frank Walker what RINO "Conservatives" are doing, now, to Trump

For Virtue Signaling Banning the Mass Francis Trads is Frank Walker the New Trump?   March 25, 2020 British conservative Daniel Hannan said: "Virtue signaling is competitive. When all your friends are anti-Trump, you have to go further." After President Donald Trump took office the liberal virtue signaling was very competitive with them, calling him every name in the book with death threats as well as 12,000 Tweets for his assassination and the famous Kathy Griffin's beheading Trump photo. After Canon 212 publisher Frank Walker made a headline which he later admitted he made a mistake on it appears that banning the Mass Francis traditionalists decided to join in the liberal-like behavior in a frenzy of virtue signaling against him. The Francis trads like the liberals are very competitive in their virtue signaling. Remember, when all your friends are anti-Walker, you have to go farther. The banning the Mass Francis traditionalists have issued num