How will a theoretical Chinese carrier killer work?

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jessmo112

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Unread post28 Aug 2020, 04:51

To be more specific, how does China achieve a firing solution for this thing?

There has been alot of noise about this system lately.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/27/worl ... a-sea.html

Im trying to figure out in my head a few things:

1. How far does a carrier travel in the 10-15 minutes it takes for the Chinese missile to move from the Chinese interior to the SCS?

2. This means you have atleast 10 -15 minutes to disrupt the kill chain, which is an eternity in military engagement time.

3. Is the targeting by sat?
Do they think we cant jamm or fire on a sat in 10 minutes? Are they going to use a sub?
Can the sub paint a carrier for that long?
Anything in the EM spectrum will be
Tracked and killed within this time?
Will they paint the ship with a laser?

4. Even if you give the missile the biggest seeker imaginable you need almost real time updates to track the moving ship. There are numerous problems with a large X-band antenna seeing over the horizon or aquiring the right ship.

5. Even if they used an electro optical space system. This will be killed via aegis, and In not sure it can trasmit data fast enough for a real track.

Im coming to the conclusion that this weapon is a paper tiger or paper dragon rather.
Im not even sure they can accurately find the strike group let alone paint it for ten minutes.
After you find it and paint it, not you have to maintain a weapons quality track on a target thats both shooting, maneuvering, and spoofing.

Discuss.
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boogieman

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Unread post28 Aug 2020, 06:24

The supporting ISR apparatus strikes me as being the achilles heel of the PRC ASBM capability. As you said, all of the proposed targeting data providers seem reasonably vulnerable. Yaogan et al could theoretically be killed via SM3, OTH-B et al. are large, static arrays that could be dismantled via LACM etc, and their overwhelmingly diesel sub fleet is not likely to keep up with CSGs operating in deeper water. That leaves conventional aircraft that would need to survive CSG BARCAP/intercept for long enough to complete the kill chain...

The only caveats I can see to this is that RoE may prohibit kinetic attacks on mainland OTHR and LEO ISR sats (Kessler syndrome?), in which case you may have to jam the latter and live with the more limited range (and possibly resolution?) of the former. There is also the Sharp Sword LO UAV and WZ-8 hyper UAS to contend with but I am honestly not sure how effective either would be as "ASBM spotters".
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jessmo112

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Unread post28 Aug 2020, 07:29

boogieman wrote:The supporting ISR apparatus strikes me as being the achilles heel of the PRC ASBM capability. As you said, all of the proposed targeting data providers seem reasonably vulnerable. Yaogan et al could theoretically be killed via SM3, OTH-B et al. are large, static arrays that could be dismantled via LACM etc, and their overwhelmingly diesel sub fleet is not likely to keep up with CSGs operating in deeper water. That leaves conventional aircraft that would need to survive CSG BARCAP/intercept for long enough to complete the kill chain...

The only caveats I can see to this is that RoE may prohibit kinetic attacks on mainland OTHR and LEO ISR sats (Kessler syndrome?), in which case you may have to jam the latter and live with the more limited range (and possibly resolution?) of the former. There is also the Sharp Sword LO UAV and WZ-8 hyper UAS to contend with but I am honestly not sure how effective either would be as "ASBM spotters".


Like I said before I know my calculations arnt correct, but we are assuming that this IRBM will have a flight time of 10-15 minutes.
That is an eternity to an Aegis cruiser.
Even if you tried to attack our satellites F-35s might see it from 800 miles away.
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jessmo112

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Unread post28 Aug 2020, 07:36

https://youtu.be/qF29GBSpRF4

F-35 tracking missile launchea.
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boogieman

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Unread post28 Aug 2020, 09:18

Well I am far from an authority on the subject but the PRC do have their own ASAT capability in HQ-19, Dong Neng etc. I imagine you'd be relying on LEO sats like SBIRS to detect the actual launch signatures of the ASBMs, then it would be over to ground/ship based BMD radars for the rest of the flight. How long something like SBIRS would last over Chinese territory when the balloon went up I don't know - my gut says it would not be safe to expect to know about the launches from the moment they left the ground. F35s could help here but it also depends on the location of the launch site(s) - DF-26 could be kept pretty deep in the Chinese hinterland (where there wouldn't be many F35s) and still reach the SCS.

That said I do wonder how viable the ASBM arsenal would be if you jam/destroy any ISR sats that pass over your naval groups, hit OTHR sites with CHAMP and screen against Sharp Sword & Soar Dragon with the usual CSG defence-in-depth. WZ-8 has me scratching my head as I'm not totally sure if it has a role here. Its speed and altitude would seem to make it tough to kill but I'm not sure if it would have the on-station persistence needed to cue an ASBM volley.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post28 Aug 2020, 09:23

The kill-chain is defintely difficult to make reliable and effective for such a weapon. I think one possibility is that those ballistic missiles are not really meant to engage fastly moving targets. Maybe their idea is to mostly use them when ships are stationary or moving slowly. Like ships in port or otherwise rendered immobile for some time. It would still require dedicated naval missile to be able to reliably engage certain vessels in a port with a lot of ships close to each other.

Of course the likely present credible threat to moving ships which might complicate naval operations and force them further away.
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jessmo112

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Unread post28 Aug 2020, 10:41

The missiles on the interior really are not that safe.
A B-21 or an armed RQ-170 could definitely reach them.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post28 Aug 2020, 11:29

One point is that USN is definitely not the only navy whose ships may be targeted. There are Indian, Japanese, South Korean, and even Russian navies right next door to China for example. None of those have the capabilities of USA but they do have pretty fair number of advanced ships with good capabilties to deal with regular anti-ship missiles.
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jessmo112

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Unread post28 Aug 2020, 11:39

hornetfinn wrote:One point is that USN is definitely not the only navy whose ships may be targeted. There are Indian, Japanese, South Korean, and even Russian navies right next door to China for example. None of those have the capabilities of USA but they do have pretty fair number of advanced ships with good capabilties to deal with regular anti-ship missiles.


Thats another big issue. Identifying friend and foe.
With no 3rd party targeting the missile might track a chinese warship. Or even worse a oil tanker or cargo ship. I bet the Chinese were stupid enough to use war time trscking in the latest test. Showing every link in the kill chain. Thats why they are pissed at American signet planes flying close by.
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Unread post28 Aug 2020, 18:22

jessmo112 wrote:https://youtu.be/qF29GBSpRF4

F-35 tracking missile launchea.


Not even close comparison.

Chinese IRBM design to engage CAG are lot lighter around 20tons or less depend on model, while rocket on video is Falcon 9 space rocket with couple magnitudes bigger IR signature.

Burn time of irbm is lot shorter then F9, and second stage probable have just thrusters to correct trajectory. So no heat signature of second stage either.

Second state is where things became very problematic. It is small,it is warhead with some electronics and thrusters and RCS of such target even without RAM is very small:
https://media.thebulletin.org/wp-conten ... Postol.pdf

Add RAM and you have target which very hard to detect (VLO or even lower RCS).

So best option against Chinese carrier killers is to kill kill chain. Which is probable doable right now but China isn't plan to sit and don't do nothing. Just look how their destroyer fleet is growing:
https://nationalinterest.org/blog/reboo ... %20leaders.

Same story with other equipment so we can expect they will have fleet of long range stealthy drone AEWs:
https://www.popsci.com/resizer/JeV3RXoM ... GPFAFQ.jpg
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zhangmdev

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Unread post28 Aug 2020, 20:18

Smaller rockets doesn't burn at cooler temperatures. Solid rocket booster exhaust is hotter than liquid rocket engine's.
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jessmo112

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Unread post29 Aug 2020, 00:13

milosh wrote:
jessmo112 wrote:https://youtu.be/qF29GBSpRF4

F-35 tracking missile launchea.


Not even close comparison.

Chinese IRBM design to engage CAG are lot lighter around 20tons or less depend on model, while rocket on video is Falcon 9 space rocket with couple magnitudes bigger IR signature.

Burn time of irbm is lot shorter then F9, and second stage probable have just thrusters to correct trajectory. So no heat signature of second stage either.

Second state is where things became very problematic. It is small,it is warhead with some electronics and thrusters and RCS of such target even without RAM is very small:
https://media.thebulletin.org/wp-conten ... Postol.pdf

Add RAM and you have target which very hard to detect (VLO or even lower RCS).

So best option against Chinese carrier killers is to kill kill chain. Which is probable doable right now but China isn't plan to sit and don't do nothing. Just look how their destroyer fleet is growing:
https://nationalinterest.org/blog/reboo ... %20leaders.

Same story with other equipment so we can expect they will have fleet of long range stealthy drone AEWs:
https://www.popsci.com/resizer/JeV3RXoM ... GPFAFQ.jpg


The F-35s sendors are sensitive enough to detect artillery fire. A rocket shouldn't be an issue.
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boogieman

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Unread post29 Aug 2020, 02:43

milosh wrote:
jessmo112 wrote:https://youtu.be/qF29GBSpRF4

F-35 tracking missile launchea.


Not even close comparison.

Chinese IRBM design to engage CAG are lot lighter around 20tons or less depend on model, while rocket on video is Falcon 9 space rocket with couple magnitudes bigger IR signature.

Burn time of irbm is lot shorter then F9, and second stage probable have just thrusters to correct trajectory. So no heat signature of second stage either.

Second state is where things became very problematic. It is small,it is warhead with some electronics and thrusters and RCS of such target even without RAM is very small:
https://media.thebulletin.org/wp-conten ... Postol.pdf

Add RAM and you have target which very hard to detect (VLO or even lower RCS).

So best option against Chinese carrier killers is to kill kill chain. Which is probable doable right now but China isn't plan to sit and don't do nothing. Just look how their destroyer fleet is growing:
https://nationalinterest.org/blog/reboo ... %20leaders.

Same story with other equipment so we can expect they will have fleet of long range stealthy drone AEWs:
https://www.popsci.com/resizer/JeV3RXoM ... GPFAFQ.jpg


Yes I think you are correct in that the kill chain itself is the weak link here - relying on the ability to intercept the ASBMs themselves strikes me as a losing proposition, since VLS cells are limited and ASBM stocks on mainland China are likely to be less so.

As we have touched upon before, SM3 makes the utility of their ISR sats questionable, and while I understand that there may be hesitance to shoot them down due to concerns about Kessler Syndrome, those fears might well take a back seat if the alternative is for USN vessels to be hit with DF26/21D. Certainly jamming would be preferable though.

I am less confident about whether or not their OTHR assets would be able to provide the needed resolution to accurately cue ASBM volleys, but I am sure it is something they are working on. I've heard speculation that ASM cueing is something that our own JORN network might be capable of in future.

In some respects the stealthy UAS capability might be the most compelling data provider. With that said, I am not confident that an AEW-oriented system like Divine Eagle would be well suited to the task. I just don't see how it would mount a sufficiently large and powerful enough radar array to get the job done. Certainly makes sense for detecting F22/35 at closer range, but a CSG? Not to sure. Sharp Sword strikes me as a better fit for attempting to slip through USN BARCAP and (passively?) triangulate the group's location. Perhaps Divine Eagle could do the same - hard, to say. Its sig reduction features look... unorthodox to my untrained eye(?).
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michaelemouse

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Unread post29 Aug 2020, 04:37

Wikipedia gives the DF-21 as having terminal active radar. Through ISR means, you get a general idea of where the target carrier is then launch and let the missile aim for the return it recognizes as a carrier. Spotting doesn't need to be continuous; You can use ISR units to catch peeks of the target to give the missiles updates through the 10 minutes it takes to reach full range. That's subject to a lot of possible errors and most missiles will miss but it seems feasible. Missile attacks sometimes rely on saturation and an attack on a carrier would likely involve many missiles. Any idea how much a DF-12 (or HGVs generally) costs?
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element1loop

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Unread post29 Aug 2020, 07:35

jessmo112 wrote:The missiles on the interior really are not that safe.
A B-21 or an armed RQ-170 could definitely reach them.


Not needed.

A VLO F-35A with VLO JASSM-ER can hit targets anywhere in central China now, from multiple surrounding countries - unrefueled.

See these unrefueled range circles for JASSM-ER and JSM:
viewtopic.php?p=429798#p429798
viewtopic.php?p=429867#p429867
viewtopic.php?p=428144#p428144
viewtopic.php?p=428259#p428259
viewtopic.php?p=428260#p428260

China's best forces and central China in general, are open to rapid continuous multi-axis missile attacks in a way no other major power currently is.

Their 'area denial' is not going to work and it doesn't need a major new investment in a new platform to soundly and ultimately thrash the PLA, PLAAF and PLAN. What it does need is more, and more effective, and more affordable missile defenses, and far more medium and long-range VLO attack missiles, to enable this to occur much more easily, with far fewer losses.

Which is developing now.

[ EDIT: A note to clarify. I'm not suggesting for one second that B-21 and attack drones are not necessary and essential components here, so please don't go interpreting my pointing this out so bluntly in this way. I think they absolutely are essential to minimizing losses and preventing PLA from gaining the initiative or holding on to it. My point is the PLA are going to get hit everywhere, from beginning to end and they would lose, terribly. The PLA and CCP need to understand this. And we need to understand it too so that we build the right things, in the right numbers, with the right integration to win what could turn into a fight they have materially lost but refuse to accept they have already been defeated. The CCP may feel the need to fight on (pointlessly) for years, rather than accept that they were defeated. That's the fight the CCP would probably then want. Plus that we don't imagine that our position is weak or feeble, right now. Every other country likewise needs to understand how this would go, much more clearly. Especially our own media, institutions, leaders and diplomats. We can relatively defang the PLA, but they are likely (IMHO) to double-down on continuing with armed combat, because what is the CCP's alternative? We'd then need a force for that eventuality, and their like-minded partners would be making trouble simultaneously, and likewise refuse to stop for years. What air force, navy, weapons, production capacity and spares do we need then? ]
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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