The YJ-12. (Internet photo)
In an article written for the Washington-based military website, War on the Rock, Robert Haddick, an American military analyst said that the People's Liberation Army Navy's YJ-12 anti-ship cruise missile is the most dangerous threat to the US Navy in the Western Pacific.
On page 40 of the Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2014 published by the Pentagon for congress indicated, this cruise missile provides an increased threat to naval assets, due to its long range and supersonic speeds. In addition, the YJ-12 is capable of being launched from PLA Navy Air Force's H-6 strategic bombers. Haddick said, therefore that the YJ-12 poses more of a risk that the DF-21 anti-ship ballistic missiles.
Citing a study conducted by the US Naval War College in 2011, Haddick said that the YJ-12 has a range of 400 kilometers. This makes the YJ-12 one of the world's longest-range anti-ship cruise missile. Haddick said that the range of the US Navy's Harpoon missile is only 124 kilometers. The extended range allows the PLA Navy's aircraft to launch the YJ-12 beyond the engagement range of the Navy's Aegis Combat System and the SM-2 surface-to-air missiles that protect US aircraft carrier strike groups.
The missile can be even more dangerous when they are deployed in Su-30 and J-11 fighters from the PLA Navy's two Flanker regiments. With a combat radius of 1,500 kilometers, the Chinese fighters can carry between two and four missiles into the battlefield. Haddick said that the US carrier strike group will have to defend itself against over a hundred supersonic ASCMs approaching from several directions at a wave-top height, allowing the group's close-in air defenses less than 45 seconds to respond.