DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles with launchers. (Internet photo)
The People's Liberation Army Navy's DF-21D anti-ship missile has a range of 2,000 kilometers and has the capability to sink a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, according to the Hindu, an English-language Indian newspaper, on Mar. 5, citing a recently published report.
The report released by the National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bangalore states that China's Beidou satellite navigation system will help increase the accuracy of the country's missiles greatly. The report, written by various experts in India, concluded that the DF-21D has shaken the traditional view of the US Navy's unassailable superiority in the Asia-Pacific region. The anti-ship missile is likely to serve as a credible deterrent against American intervention in China's maritime disputes, of which it has several with its Asian neighbors, the report said.
The DF-21D is designed based on intercontinental ballistic missiles and carries maneuverable warheads with conventional munitions which can target aircraft carriers at a distance of about 2,000 kilometers, according to the report. The idea of hitting a moving aircraft carrier with a ballistic missile had been unheard of, said S Chandrashekar, one of the authors of the report, adding that the Chinese have come up with a very innovative system based on well-understood components.
While pointing out that China is capable of detecting radio signals and other electronic emissions from US aircraft carriers with its Yaogan military satellites, Chandrashekar added that DF-21D missiles armed with maneuverable warheads are also extremely dangerous. After precisely locating the moving aircraft carrier, the warhead could adjust its trajectory to strike the ship with conventional munitions while descending through the atmosphere, he said.