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WASHINGTON – Just as the United States undertakes a policy “pivot” toward Asia, which will move more American ships into the East and South China seas, Beijing is letting it be known that it is fielding its new DF-21D anti-ship missile as a threat against U.S. aircraft-carrier strike groups, according to report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The move all of a sudden casts a shadow over the platforms – the U.S. aircraft carriers and their support groups – that have allowed the U.S. to maintain military superiority in the Asia-Pacific region for generations.
Andrew S. Erickson of the Washington think-tank Jamestown Foundation said that the Chinese anti-ship missile can target what is the “last relatively uncontested U.S. airfield” in the Asia-Pacific from long-range, land-based mobile launchers.
“This airfield is a moving aircraft carrier strike group (CSG), which the Second Artillery, China’s strategic missile force, now has the capability to at least attempt to disable with the DF-21D in the event of conflict,” Erickson said.
This new anti-ship ballistic missile, or ASBM, reflects a powerful asymmetric form of deterrence which could challenge U.S. military supremacy in the region, especially given Beijing’s new military assertiveness toward neighbors over maritime rights in the East and South China seas.
At the time of its initial deployment in 2010, China announced its new DF-21D missile with what may be a non-nuclear electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, capability aimed at the sophisticated network-centric capabilities that the U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups bring to the region. Those capabilities have assured U.S. warfare superiority.
In 2011, it was first revealed that China was developing EMP weapons to be used against U.S. aircraft carriers in any future conflict, especially over Taiwan, according to a 2005 National Ground Intelligence Center study.
That center study said the Chinese were developing a family, or “assassin’s mace” of EMP and high-powered microwave, or HPM, weapons to be used by a technologically inferior force such as China’s, against U.S. military forces.
The once secret but now declassified study pointed out that the Chinese could detonate an EMP weapon some 30 to 40 kilometers over Taiwan or – by inference – a U.S. carrier strike group – and destroy the electronics capability on which U.S. network-centric strategy depends.
“The DF-21 medium-range ballistic missile has been mentioned as a platform for the EMP attack against Taiwan,” the report said.
The report was labeled as a “trump card” China’s electronic weapons. Assassin’s mace would apply if older nuclear weapons were employed.
The report said that China’s use of EMP weapons against Taiwan and “any vulnerable U.S. aircraft carrier would not push the U.S. across the nuclear-response threshold.”
“China’s (high-altitude) EMP capability could be used in two different ways – as a surprise measure after China’s initial strike against Taiwan and other U.S. (aircraft carrier strike group) assets have moved into a vulnerable position and as a bluff intended to dissuade the United States from defending Taiwan with a CVBG,” a Defense Department acronym for carrier strike groups, the report added.
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