There has been much said and written about China’s so-called “Carrier Killer” missiles. And while the weapon is a serious threat and a valuable insight into the strategic thinking of the People’s Liberation Army and People’s Liberation Army Navy, it’s worth noting that the challenges on the other side of the ball are steep – hitting a heavily defended moving target at sea in a war zone is no easy task.
This recent interview with the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Greenert, sheds light on all the different ways the US Navy will attempt to use to stop a weapon like the carrier killer:
“You want to spoof them, preclude detection, jam them, shoot them down if possible, get them to termination, confuse it,” Greenert said. “The concept is end-to-end, and the capabilities therein [are] what we’re pursuing”
Shooting a missile down is the “sexy” way of defending a ship – confusing enemy sensors and messing up their targeting equation is a lot less pretty, but probably more effective in the long run. The effectiveness of the DF-21D will, in large part, be dependent on the contest between the Chinese ability to find/fix our carriers and our ability to disrupt the Chinese firing solution.
What’s certain is that no one will really know which side has the advantage until somone decides to launch a no-kidding DF-21 at a no-kidding Carrier Battle Group – and that will be a bad day for all involved.