Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles (ASBMs) ( conventional weapon - non-nuclear )
Speed: up to 7,000 Miles per Hour ( 11,000 Feet per Second, MACH 10 ) at point of vertical impact with ship
Range: > 933 Miles.
This is an example of a Weapon that uses technology acquired ( stolen ? ) from the U.S.A.
to Create a capability that no other country in the world, except China, has
and against which the U.S.A. has no known defense
An Aircraft Carrier killer intended to keep the U.S. Navy away from the portions of the Pacific Ocean near China during a war
from U.S. Congression Research Service ( crs.loc.gov, 7-7610 )
report to the United States Congress
CRS report dated March 23, 2012
China for several years has been developing and testing an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM),
which is a theater-range ballistic missile22
equipped with a maneuverable reentry vehicle (MaRV)
designed to hit moving ships at sea.
The ASBM is referred to as the DF-21D, and is believed to be a new variant of China’s existing DF-21 (aka CSS-5) road-mobile medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM).
U.S. DOD states that the missile has a range greater than 933 Miles (810 nautical miles), and that it “is intended to provide the PLA the capability to attack large ships, including aircraft carriers, in the western Pacific Ocean.”23
( Okinawa, Tokyo, Northern Philipines, All of Korea, All of Vietnam, are in range, if launched from China )
( All of Japan is in Range if launched from North Korea )
( All approaches and exits at east end of Malacca and Singapore Straights are in range, if launched from south western and western Philipines )
Another observer states that “the DF-21D’s warhead apparently uses a combination of radar and optical sensors to find the target and make final guidance updates…. Finally, it uses a high explosive, or a radio frequency or cluster warhead
that at a minimum can achieve a mission kill [against the target ship].”24
Observers have expressed strong concern about the DF-21D, because such missiles, in
combination with broad-area maritime surveillance and targeting systems, would permit China to
attack aircraft carriers, other U.S. Navy ships, or ships of allied or partner navies operating in the
The U.S. Navy has not previously faced a threat from highly accurate ballistic
missiles capable of hitting moving ships at sea. For this reason, some observers have referred to
the DF-21 as a “game-changing” weapon.
Due to their ability to change course, the MaRVs on an ASBM would be more difficult to intercept
than non-maneuvering ballistic missile reentry vehicles.25
Regarding the operational status of the DF-21D, DOD states that “during 2010, China made
strides toward fielding an operational anti-ship ballistic missile....”26
An August 25, 2011, United States DOD press report states:
China has developed a “workable design” of the world’s first anti-ship ballistic missile,
potentially capable of hitting and disabling a U.S. aircraft carrier, according to Pentagon
China also has satellites in place “that could provide some targeting data on large surface
ships in the region, and this expanding infrastructure is augmented by non-space-based
sensors and surveillance assets,” said Navy Commander Leslie Hull-Ryde, a Pentagon
spokeswoman on China, in an e-mail.
“Over the next few years, we expect China will work to refine and integrate many emerging
systems, including the DF- 21D” missile, she said....
China at this time “has provided no indication of whether they consider this an operational
system,” Hull-Ryde said. She declined to say if the Pentagon believes the missile currently
poses a threat to U.S. carriers.
Taiwan, which relies on the U.S. military presence, says in its new 2011 National Defense
Report that China already has “produced and fielded” the missile “in small numbers,” said a
translation provided by Andrew Erikson, an associate professor in the Naval War College’s
Strategic Research Department.27
A July 12, 2011, news report from China quotes Chen Bingde, the chief of the PLA general staff,
as stating that “the missile is still undergoing experimental testing” and that “it is a high-tech
weapon and we face many difficulties in getting funding, advanced technologies and high-quality
personnel, which are all underlying reasons why it is hard to develop this.”28 A February 18, 2011,
press report from China quoted an unnamed source as saying that the DF-21D “is already
deployed in the army.”29
In December 2010 and January 2011, it was reported that the United States DOD believes
the missile has achieved the equivalent of what for a U.S. weapon would be called Initial
Operational Capability (IOC).30
22 Depending on their ranges, these theater-range ballistic missiles can be divided into short-, medium-, and
intermediate-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs, MRBMs, and IRBMs, respectively).
23 2011 DOD CMSD, p. 3. See also 2009 ONI Report, pp. 26-27. A July 12, 2011, China Daily news report described
the DF-21D as a missile with a range of 2,700 kilometers, or about 1,460 nautical miles. (Hu Yinan, Li Xiaokun, and
Cui Haipei, “Official Confirms China Building Aircraft Carrier,” China Daily (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn
), July 12, 2011,
accessed online July 13, 2011, at http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2011- ... 880708.htm
subsequent news report, however, states: “Jane’s has learnt that the reference to 2,700 km was added by China Daily
staff and is not corroborated by other Chinese reporting on the DF-21D.” (J. Michael Cole, “China Confirms ‘Carrier
Killer,’” Jane’s Defense Weekly, July 20, 2011: 6.)
24 Richard Fisher, Jr., “PLA and U.S. Arms Racing in the Western Pacific,” available online athttp://www.strategycenter.net/research/ ... detail.asp
. A mission kill means that the ship is damaged
enough that it cannot perform its intended mission.
25 For further discussion of China’s ASBM-development effort and its potential implications for U.S. naval forces, see
Craig Hooper and Christopher Albon, “Get Off the Fainting Couch,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, April 2010: 42-
47; Andrew S. Erickson, “Ballistic Trajectory—China Develops New Anti-Ship Missile,” Jane’s Intelligence Review,
January 4, 2010; Michael S. Chase, Andrew S. Erickson and Christopher Yeaw, “Chinese Theater and Strategic Missile
Force Modernization and its Implications for the United States,” The Journal of Strategic Studies, February 2009: 67-
114; Andrew S. Erickson and David D. Yang, “On the Verge of a Game-Changer,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings,
May 2009: 26-32; Andrew Erickson, “Facing A New Missile Threat From China, How The U.S. Should Respond To
China’s Development Of Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile Systems,” CBSNews.com, May 28, 2009; Andrew S. Erickson,
“Chinese ASBM Development: Knowns and Unknowns,” China Brief, June 24, 2009: 4-8; Andrew S. Erickson and
David D. Yang, “Using the Land to Control the Sea? Chinese Analysts Consider the Antiship Ballistic Missile,” Naval
War College Review, Autumn 2009: 53-86; Eric Hagt and Matthew Durnin, “China’s Antiship Ballistic Missile,
Developments and Missing Links,” Naval War College Review, Autumn 2009: 87-115; Mark Stokes, “China’s
Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability, The Anti-ship Ballistic Missile Challenge to U.S. Maritime
Operations in the Western Pacific and Beyond, Project 2049 Institute, September 14, 2009. 123 pp.
26 2011 DOD CMSD, p. 13.
27 Tony Capaccio, “China Has ‘Workable’ Anti-Ship Missile Design, Pentagon Says,” Bloomberg.com, August 25,
28 Hu Yinan, Li Xiaokun, and Cui Haipei, “Official Confirms China Building Aircraft Carrier,” China Daily
), July 12, 2011, accessed online July 13, 2011, at http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2011-
07/12/content_12880708.htm. See also Bradley Perrett, “Imbalance of Power,” Aviation Week & Space Technology,”
July 18/25, 2011: 24-25.
29 Zhang Han and Huang Jingling, “New Missile ‘Ready by 2015,” Global Times (http://military.globaltimes.cn
February 18, 2011. The new missile referred to in the title of the article is a missile other than the DF-21 that the article
said is to have a range of up to 4,000 km, or about 2,160 nm.
30 See, for example, the transcript of a January 5, 2011, Defense Writers Group roundtable with Vice Admiral David J.
Dorsett, Deputy CNO for Information Warfare; Tony Capaccio, “China’s Anti-Ship Missiles Aren’t Effective Yet, U.S.
Navy Says,” Bloomberg.com, January 3, 2011; “Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance
(N2/N6): China Has Space-Based & Non-Space-Based C2 + ISR ‘capable of providing the targeting information
necessary to employ the DF-21D’ Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM),” blog entry dated January 4, 2011, accessed by
CRS on January 7, 2011, at http://www.andrewerickson.com/;
and Yoichi Kato, “U.S. Commander Says China Aims to
Be A ‘Global Military’ Power,” Asahi.com (Asahi Shimbun), December 28, 2010. See also Andrew Erickson and Gabe
Collins, “China Deploys World’s First Long-Range, Land-Based ‘Carrier Killer’: DF-21D Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile
(ASBM) Reaches “Initial Operational Capability” IOC,” China SignPost, December 26, 2010; Bill Gertz, “China Has
Carrier-Killer Missile, U.S. Admiral Says,” Washington Times, December 28, 2010: 1; Associated Press, “China
Moving Toward Deploying Anti-Carrier Missile,” Washington Post, December 28, 2010; Kathrin Hille, “Chinese
Missile Shifts Power In Pacific,” Financial Times, December 29, 2010: 1.