Monday, November 2, 2009

Japan: SM-3 Against DF-21C

To remove the threat from China’s anti-ship ballistic missile DF-21C, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force successfully conducted the second test of the sea-based aegis ballistic missile defense weapon system. During the test, a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IA engaged and destroyed a medium-range ballistic missile target more than 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean.

The SM-3, guided by a Boeing-built kinetic warhead sensor, was launched from the Japanese destroyer JS Myoko (DDG-175) on Oct. 27, 2009, and the missile target was fired from the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. This is one part of the aegis sea-based system upgrade led by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and the U.S. Navy to ensure Japan is prepared to meet evolving threats from China and North Korea, especially from China.

The Chinese DF-21C is an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) with a range of up to 3,000km and a near-terminal speed of 10 Mach. It has a name of “Aircraft Carrier Killer”. In recent world, this is the only ASBM in operation. Even Russia does not have it. China designed it to destroy enemies’ aircraft carriers and main battleships.

Unlike a typical ballistic missile, whose trajectory is calculated ahead and which is only able to hit a fixed target, it has some kind of terminal guidance system to find its moving target in its later flightpath. China showed this advanced weapon in its 60 anniversary’s military parade on Oct. 1, 2009.