Skip to comments.China’s Maritime Missile Threat
Posted on 05/29/2010 9:54:38 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld
Last month was the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Peoples Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). At the naval parade held to commemorate the event, in front of delegations from 29 countries, PLAN Commander General Wu Shengli declared that Beijing intended to build aircraft carriers, spurring widespread speculation over Chinas blue-water ambitions.
So what should we make of Beijings assertiveness and openness about its carrier plans? My advice: ignore it.
Traditional measures of naval power fail to give an accurate picture of Chinas maritime ambitions and capabilities. Beijing currently lacks the hardware and skills to keep a carrier at sea, especially under wartime conditions. So even if there is the political will to commit the necessary resources, it will be many years before China joins the exclusive carrier club.
Thus, it is in the murkier arena of unconventional weaponry the modern-day, real-world equivalent of the sling and stone David used to defeat Goliath that represent the truest indication of Chinas nautical prowess. Indeed, Beijing already boasts a range of non-traditional (or what the Pentagon calls asymmetric) capabilities that could unsettle Asian maritime stability and pose problems far beyond Chinese shores without it ever building a carrier.
Over the past decade, China has introduced a variety of disruptive technologies designed to make US and Allied naval operations in the Pacific more hazardous. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union possessed an arsenal of powerful, manoeuvrable anti-ship missiles that could skim just metres above the water at supersonic speeds. Today, Chinese engineers and scientists are mastering similar technologies.
(Excerpt) Read more at the-diplomat.com ...