Chinese Missile Systems : Discussions


Senior member
Dec 4, 2017
For ease of understanding, FOBS allows China by not only bombarding any target from multiple locations but also from single object in space via different trajectories rendering ground or space based launch detection system ineffective. It's range is not specified wt this time but it did took round trip of earth after launch from ground, before testing the capability. This is indeed a big breakthrough for Chinese state.
Yep, this type of missile is one that the US and USSR/Russia agreed not to have. Basically, this puts all current treaties in jeopardy.
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Senior member
Dec 3, 2017

China tests new space capability with hypersonic missile​

China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August that circled the globe before speeding towards its target, demonstrating an advanced space capability that caught US intelligence by surprise. Five people familiar with the test said the Chinese military launched a rocket that carried a hypersonic glide vehicle which flew through low-orbit space before cruising down towards its target. The missile missed its target by about two-dozen miles, according to three people briefed on the intelligence.

But two said the test showed that China had made astounding progress on hypersonic weapons and was far more advanced than US officials realised. The test has raised new questions about why the US often underestimated China’s military modernisation. “We have no idea how they did this,” said a fourth person. The US, Russia and China are all developing hypersonic weapons, including glide vehicles that are launched into space on a rocket but orbit the earth under their own momentum. They fly at five times the speed of sound, slower than a ballistic missile. But they do not follow the fixed parabolic trajectory of a ballistic missile and are manoeuvrable, making them harder to track.

Taylor Fravel, an expert on Chinese nuclear weapons policy who was unaware of the test, said a hypersonic glide vehicle armed with a nuclear warhead could help China “negate” US missile defence systems which are designed to destroy incoming ballistic missiles. “Hypersonic glide vehicles . . . fly at lower trajectories and can manoeuvre in flight, which makes them hard to track and destroy,” said Fravel, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Fravel added that it would be “destabilising” if China fully developed and deployed such a weapon, but he cautioned that a test did not necessarily mean that Beijing would deploy the capability.

Mounting concern about China’s nuclear capabilities comes as Beijing continues to build up its conventional military forces and engages in increasingly assertive military activity near Taiwan. Tensions between the US and China have risen as the Biden administration has taken a tough tack on Beijing, which has accused Washington of being overly hostile.

US military officials in recent months have warned about China’s growing nuclear capabilities, particularly after the release of satellite imagery that showed it was building more than 200 intercontinental missile silos. China is not bound by any arms-control deals and has been unwilling to engage the US in talks about its nuclear arsenal and policy.

Last month, Frank Kendall, US air force secretary, hinted that Beijing was developing a new weapon. He said China had made huge advances, including the “potential for global strikes . . . from space”. He declined to provide details, but suggested that China was developing something akin to the “Fractional Orbital Bombardment System” that the USSR deployed for part of the Cold War, before abandoning it. “If you use that kind of an approach, you don’t have to use a traditional ICBM trajectory. It’s a way to avoid defences and missile warning systems,” said Kendall.

In August, General Glen VanHerck, head of North American Aerospace Defense Command, told a conference that China had “recently demonstrated very advanced hypersonic glide vehicle capabilities”. He warned that the Chinese capability would “provide significant challenges to my Norad capability to provide threat warning and attack assessment”.

Two of the people familiar with the Chinese test said the weapon could, in theory, fly over the South Pole. That would pose a big challenge for the US military because its missiles defence systems are focused on the northern polar route. The revelation comes as the Biden administration undertakes the Nuclear Posture Review, an analysis of policy and capabilities mandated by Congress that has pitted arms-control advocates against those who believe the US must do more to modernise its nuclear arsenal because of China.

The Pentagon did not comment on the report but expressed concern about China. “We have made clear our concerns about the military capabilities China continues to pursue, capabilities that only increase tensions in the region and beyond,” said John Kirby, spokesperson. “That is one reason why we hold China as our number one pacing challenge.”

The Chinese embassy declined to comment on the test, but Liu Pengyu, spokesperson, said China always pursued a military policy that was “defensive in nature” and its military development did not target any country. “We don’t have a global strategy and plans of military operations like the US does. And we are not at all interested in having an arms race with other countries,” Liu said. “In contrast, the US has in recent years been fabricating excuses like ‘the China threat’ to justify its arms expansion and development of hypersonic weapons. This has directly intensified arms race in this category and severely undermined global strategic stability.” One Asian national security official said the Chinese military conducted the test in August.

China generally announces the launch of Long March rockets — the type used to launch the hypersonic glide vehicle into orbit — but it conspicuously concealed the August launch. The security official, and another Chinese security expert close to the People’s Liberation Army, said the weapon was being developed by the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics. CAAA is a research institute under China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the main state-owned firm that makes missile systems and rockets for China’s space programme. Both sources said the hypersonic glide vehicle was launched on a Long March rocket, which is used for the space programme. The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, which oversees launches, on July 19 said on an official social media account that it had launched a Long March 2C rocket, which it added was the 77th launch of that rocket. On August 24, it announced that it had conducted a 79th flight. But there was no announcement of a 78th launch, which sparked speculation among observers of its space programme about a secret launch. CAAA did not respond to requests for comment.
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Senior member
Dec 3, 2017

China’s Aircraft Carrier Killers, And Who Else Has Them​

Earlier this month it was revealed that China has been building targets in the shape of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers in their remote deserts. Together with other targets, designed to represent American warships, they are believed to be part of the Chinese Navy’s Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) program.

This will provide the China with a potentially game-changing capability. It could inhibit the other countries’ ability or wiliness to employ aircraft carriers against them. Or certainly limit the way that they are employed and thus the tactical and strategic impact of them.

And China is not the only country working on ASBMs. Other countries, facing a resurgence of Aircraft Carriers, are developing similar missiles.

An ASBM starts its flight to the target following a ballistic trajectory. The path generally takes it into space before it returns to earth, re-entering the atmosphere at a steep angle. The final stage will have some form of Maneuverable Reentry Vehicle (MaRV). Therefore it can adjust its flightpath to hit the target which may have moved during the flight. The maneuvering flight path will also make them harder to intercept, thus increasing the threat.

Because they are going incredibly fast, over Mach 5, they are categorized as hypersonic weapons. And potentially some future designs may feature a hypersonic glide vehicle as the final stage. This has an aerodynamic form with wings which allows it to skim off the atmosphere, thus extending its range and making it even harder to intercept.

Why they are needed​

In the modern world, ships can be hit by missiles and torpedoes. Bombs, mines, limpet mines and artillery fire too, but those are all much more limited. However, regular missiles and torpedoes have problems, especially with large and well defended targets. And aircraft carriers are the ultimate combination of large and well defended.

Modern heavyweight torpedoes explode under the keel of a ship to ‘break it’s back’. It’s impressive, devastating, and likely to be enough to put a carrier out of the fight. But even with ever improving torpedoes, they are still relatively short ranged. And they need a submarine to be in the right place at the right time.

Mainstream anti-ship missiles tend to be small and are less likely to strike a catastrophic blow to large ships like a carrier (circumstances are of course everything!). Some missiles are larger, like Russia’s Granit, but even these have comparatively limited range.

There are ongoing improvements to mainstream anti-ship missiles in terms of range, targeting capabilities, speed and survivability. But designers have explored ASBM technology which takes these variables to new levels.

High speed is also valuable as it reduces flight time meaning that the target will have moved less during the flight. Blake Herzinger, who has written a book on China’s Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles, estimates that a long range engagement may only take 25 minutes from launch to impact. In this time a carrier, even at 30 knots, could cover less than 13 nautical miles.

When added to the size of these systems, ASBMs should hit much harder than even the largest regular anti-ship missiles. All the same, Herzinger doubts that this could be enough, in a single strike, to sink a carrier. However “it is unlikely China would only launch one missile. Achieving a mission kill, rendering a carrier unable to launch or recover aircraft, is a distinct possibility for a successful strike.”

Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles Around The World​

China: The main and most often cited adopter of the technology is, China. They have developed at least three distinct weapons in the category. The ground-based DF-21D (CSS-5 Mod-4) was first delivered to the PLARF (People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force) around 2009. It has an estimated range of about 800 nautical miles and reaches speeds of up to Mach 10.

For the past five years or so the DF-21 series of missile has been complemented by the improved DF-26 (CSS-18). This has a much longer range, around 2,000 nautical miles. And significantly, the missile has several interchangeable payloads including both nuclear and conventional warheads. The anti-ship version is therefore just a configuration, and any DF-26 could be fitted for it in the field.

There is also the expectation that the ASBMs will be added to the latest Type-055 Renhai Class warship. Officially described as large destroyers, they are more aptly described as cruisers. Although the exact type of ASBM is not known in open sources, it is likely to be larger than the current missiles carried. This may mean that new launch cells need to be added, reducing the current 112-cell vertical launch system capacity. The new capability would likely more than make up for the reduction.

China is also believed to be working on an air-launched ASBM. A single round, the largest air-launched weapon in the world, can be carried under an H-6 strategic bomber. Very little is known about the missile itself but Herzinger suspects that it may be a variant of the DF-21. Air-launch will increase its range considerably, and potentially allow quicker reactions against time-sensitive targets.

How fast the they can react to newly identified targets is important. Targeting is one of the greatest challenges for any ASBM because of the extreme ranges involved. China appears to have adopted a large number of satellites to provide coverage of the vast Pacific Ocean. These could include Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors to provide all-weather coverage.

Another country going the air-launched ASBM route is Russia. Some MiG-31 FOXHOUND fighters have been upgraded to carry the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic missile. This Mach 10 missile has a reported range of around 1,100 nautical miles.

With Russia we should also briefly touch on the Zircon missile. This is a hypersonic anti-ship missile, but would not normally be categorized as an ASBM. A small scramjet-powered missile, it is launched from ships and submarines. However, think of it as a hypersonic version of a traditional anti-ship missile rather than an anti-ship version of a ballistic missile.

Iran has also been developing ASBMs, using its ground-based Fateh-110 missile as a base. The latest version of the Khalij Fars ASBM uses an infrared / electro-optical sensor for terminal guidance. Its range is claimed to be 380 nautical miles, which is less than the other systems described above. Its speed is also not hypersonic, being reported at Mach 3. So overall it is a less capable system on paper, but a serious threat all the same.

The final country to mention is India. The Dhanush ballistic missile is reported to have an anti-ship capability. It has a range of less than 200 nautical miles and but a very high terminal speed of around Mach 8-9. Launch is via a stabilized platform, typically occupying the helipad of the ship. This makes the system less flexible than some other systems.

The newer Agni-P intermediate-range ballistic missile is also reported to be capable of ASBM missions. This is currently a development test platform but if productionized will be a much more potent and versatile system than the Dhanush .

From a sea of disbelief, ASBMs are a being taken increasingly seriously. Particularly China’s ambitious program. Like any new weapons there will be challenges. And many systems may not be as capable in an operational setting as advertised. But the direction of travel is clear. And China seems determined to make it a reality.
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Senior member
Dec 3, 2017

Chinese made combat drones are Ineffective, several countries decided to abandon​

Several countries, including Iraq and Jordan, decided to abandon Chinese made CH-4 combat drones due to ineffectiveness and maintenance problems.

Chinese-made drones are said to be available at very competitive prices compared to their competitors produced by Western countries and Israel. Although can be purchased at competitive prices, Chinese drones are alleged to face a range of problems ranging from ineffective on the battlefield and difficult to maintain especially in desert terrain.

China’s efforts to emerge as one of the world’s leading arms exporters, including drones on par with the United States, Israel and Russia, are facing image problems, as one after another several countries decided to stop using CH-4 combat drones. That is, even if they have just spent hundreds of millions of dollars to own it.

The actions of these countries to stop the use of Chinese-made combat drones have tarnished Beijing’s image as the world’s leading arms producer, raising the question of whether the country’s defense products are reliable on the battlefield.


Saudi Ch-4B UCAV shoot down by Houthis

According to media reports, among the customers of the Chinese-made drone is Jordan which has acted to resell the Chinese-made Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) CH-4B even though the Middle Eastern country had only bought it about two years ago.

The reason is that “Jordan is not satisfied with the performance shown by the drones involved” and wants to stop its use and sell it, according to the Jordanian military to international defense news portal, Shepard Media.

Amman’s action has raised questions about the effectiveness of unmanned aircraft developed by companies from China.

The CH-4B combat drone has been developed by the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics, an entity under China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).
china drone
Chinese made Wing Loong 2 UCAV
It is capable of carrying “Blue Arrow 7” missiles, TG100/INS/GPS-guided bombs, and AR-1/HJ-10 anti-tank missiles.

The Jordanian military is said to have purchased up to six CH-4 combat drones, whose design is very similar to a US-made Predator drone.

CASC is said to mimic the design of the US -made Predator drone, with several countries in the Middle East also becoming buyers of the drone after they failed to acquire the Uncle Sam -made drone as a result of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) agreement.
Shortly before that, another Middle Eastern country, Iraq, also complained that it was facing problems in maintaining Chinese-made CH-4 drones.

International media reports claimed that Iraq had bought 10 CH-4 combat drones from China but the country, one of the world’s largest oil producers, was only able to fly only one of the 10 drones due to critical maintenance problems.

In 2012, Algeria also bought several combat drones from China, but some of them were alleged to have crashed due to control problems.
The latest incident took place at Bir Raqqa Air Base, eastern Algeria last year where a CH-4 drone had crashed.

Chinese-made drones were also alleged to have crashed due to technical problems in Pakistan and Nigeria, while CH-4 drones used by the UAE were also successfully shot down by the Government of National Accord (GNA) troops of Lidya.

Beijing has sold its drones to several countries including Nigeria, Jordan, Zambia, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, and Myanmar.

The latest is the incident in Sanaa, Yemen where, three people died after being “crashed” by a Chinese-made CH-4 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) belonging to the Saudi army which was shot down by the Houthi rebels.

The country’s health authorities, quoted by the country’s news agency, said the three residents died when the wreckage of the drone that was shot down fell in a commercial area in the capital.

Three other residents were injured by the wreckage of the unmanned aircraft involved in the unfortunate incident. – DSA

According to our info total of seven CH-4B Chinese-made combat drone of the Saudi-led coalition shot down over Yemen by the Houthis’ air defenses.


Senior member
Dec 4, 2017

Bon Plan

Senior member
Dec 1, 2017
Blake Herzinger, who has written a book on China’s Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles, estimates that a long range engagement may only take 25 minutes from launch to impact. In this time a carrier, even at 30 knots, could cover less than 13 nautical miles.
probably, but it will take some more minutes (or dozen of minutes) between the last and precise detection of the carrier and the fire order. Add that the chinese army is probably as the russian one (communism...) not very decentralisated, so it takes some more minutes to reach the boss and have its agreement to fire.

So the carrier may be far theses 13 nautical miles. maybe 20? maybe 30 ?

How agile may be such a classical warhead fired from an IRBM? able to change of trajectory more than 13 miles? (according that the real place of the carrier is to be found by the embarked seeker, and in this case how effective and at what altitude and speed may a RF seeker be efficient on such a warhead? ).


Senior member
Dec 4, 2017

Chinese team claims ‘highly reliable’ communications during hypersonic flight​

  • Researchers from space physics laboratory in Beijing say they made ‘breakthrough’ during ‘multiple’ hypersonic weapon tests
  • They say their system on a high-frequency network could overcome the plasma blackout seen at this extreme speed

Man-made objects such as re-entry capsules and ballistic missiles can experience a communication blackout when they reach hypersonic speed in the atmosphere. Photo: Shutterstock Images