Chinese missiles destroy model ships in the desert

Satellite images show a destroyed model of a destroyer in the Taklamakan desert, a sign that China has tested a new anti-ship ballistic missile.

A commercial satellite image released by Maxar on May 11 shows that the Chinese military destroyed a simulated destroyer target in the Taklamakan Desert in Ruojiang County, Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Military expert HI Sutton said that this is China’s attempt to perfect the ability to attack warships anchored in enemy ports.

Maxar said that the simulation model of the US Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and the piers was built in the Taklamakan desert from December 2021. In a satellite image taken in February, the center of the target was blown away, apparently by a ballistic missile. It was also quickly dismantled after the test and has disappeared in the latest satellite images.

The target simulates a warship in the port in the Taklamakan desert in China in the photo released on May 11.  Photo: Maxar.

The target simulates a warship in the port in the Taklamakan desert in China in the photo released on May 11. Image: Max.

Military analyst Damien Symons also detected a similar target more than 300 km away. It appeared at the end of 2018 but did not attract much attention, with a design that included a model of a destroyer and piers.

Experts say the desert targets indicate that China is testing complex firing systems for anti-ship ballistic missiles.

“The layout of the target is very carefully calculated, from the bow of the ship, the shape and size are all the same, they are not randomly built models. The model of the warship seems to be composed of metal plates placed. ground-based, different from construction materials of simulated harbors and structures, they have different radar and heat-reflecting properties, indicating the sophisticated firing systems used in the tests. “, Symons commented.

To hit a destroyer moored in port, anti-ship ballistic missiles must use precision guidance systems such as infrared, optical or active radar sensors during the descent to increase their ability to destroy targets. pepper.

“The ability to distinguish warships from wharfs could help anti-ship ballistic missiles wipe out enemy fleets before they can leave the docks and disperse forces,” Sutton commented.

The Chinese military is deploying several anti-ship ballistic missile programs, of which the DF-21D has a range of more than 1,400 km and is capable of hitting moving targets. The DF-26 anti-ship ballistic missile has a range of more than 3,700 km, using nuclear and conventional warheads.

China’s H-6 bomber may carry a DF-26 variant called the CH-AS-X-13, which is said to be large enough to mount a hypersonic warhead. The Pentagon believes that China can equip anti-ship ballistic missiles for the Type-055, the world’s largest destroyer with a displacement of 13,000 tons.

Vu Anh (Theo LIP)

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