Thursday, July 11, 2013
Arms Race Update - China's New Missile Subs
They're called "Boomers," submarines capable of launching nuclear armed ballistic missiles. The Americans and the Russians have had them for decades, the French, Brits and Chinese too.
Western navies used to spend massively on anti-submarine warfare ships and aircraft designed to detect enemy subs before they could get into position to fire their weapons at our cities. We even worked on ways to get at them beneath our Arctic ice cap.
But then something happened for which we really didn't have a solution. The submarine missiles got better. Instead of the intermediate-range missiles they developed true, intercontinental ballistic missiles. That meant the submarine could hide just as it did before only it could hide safely within its own home waters and still hit targets many thousands of miles away. And guess who just joined that club? China.
China's military has the world's "most active and diverse ballistic missile program," with an expanding inventory of nuclear warheads that can reach the US, according to a Pentagon intelligence report.
The arsenal includes a new submarine-launched JL-2 ballistic missile that will "for the first time allow Chinese" submarines "to target portions of the United States from operating areas located near the Chinese coast," according to the new assessment by the National Air and Space Intelligence Centre.
China is expanding its missile programs as the Pentagon pursues a policy of putting more emphasis on US forces in the Asia-Pacific region. Some of China's weapons are "specifically designed to prevent adversary military forces's access to regional conflicts," according to the report.