U.S. Navy officials have for long been stating to the Japanese media that the Chinese are moving closer to deploying long-range missiles capable of targeting U.S. aircraft carriers. Here’s how they work.
The most alarming weapon China is developing to deny the U.S. Navy access to the East and South China seas is the Anti Ship ballistic missile—the first such missile able to change course to hit a moving aircraft carrier. Mounted on a mobile launch vehicle, an ASBM would rise in two stages, reach space and then use fins to maneuver at hypersonic speeds on its way back down. The warhead then glides along a level path to permit synthetic aperture radar, which processes multiple radar pulses to form a single picture to target the carrier. Finally, the warhead’s infrared seeker locates a carrier’s signature and closes in for the kill.