- According to a congressional defense analyst, China is
trying to acquire, and may well already possess, submarine-launched, supersonic
land-attack cruise missiles -- weapons which, when deployed by Chinese
navy submarines, could shower U.S. coastal cities with nuclear-tipped stealth
missiles in a surprise attack that may not be detected until the first
bombs are detonated.
- The Russian NPO Mashinostroyenya "Yahont" (NATO
SS-N-26) missile "was put on sale in August during a Russian air show,"
said Richard D. Fisher, a defense analyst working for Rep. Chris Cox, R-Calif.
Fisher, who attended the air show in Moscow, told WorldNetDaily that the
Russians openly bragged about having sold the weapon system to a major
world power. Both Fisher and Aviation Week and Space Technology confirm
that China was by far the most likely customer.
- The new Chinese navy missile is intended to fly at very
low altitude to defeat radar detection, and strike its target at supersonic
speed. No Western nation currently has such a weapon. In fact, the only
similar weapon, an underwater version of the nuclear-armed U.S. Tomahawk
cruise missile, has been withdrawn from service.
- The Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy plans to obtain
the Yahont to arm a new fleet of submarines. The Yahont can be armed with
a nuclear warhead estimated to be six times more powerful than the atomic
bomb used on Hiroshima.
dNetDaily first reported the Russian offer to sell the Yahont last month.
It can deliver a 440-pound warhead at an impact velocity faster than a
rifle bullet -- 2,460 feet per second -- and can be armed with a nuclear
warhead with the explosive power of 120,000 tons of TNT.
- The Yahont ramjet missile is nearly 30 feet long, over
two feet in diameter, and weighs in at 8,598 pounds. An integral kerosene-fueled
ramjet, it can travel at over twice the speed of sound -- MACH 2.6 -- and
has a range of 180 miles. People's Liberation Army
Navy visits U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor
- In its Sept. 20 issue, Aviation Week and Space Technology
fingers China as the likely recipient of Russia's Yahont in the article,
"Large Anti-ship Missile Detailed At Air Show."
- "It was billed as the primary anti-ship weapon for
the Sukhoi Naval variant of the SU-27 Flanker jet fighter, but they have
a sub version too," stated Fisher, a former Asian affairs specialist
for the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation.
- Fisher noted the Chinese navy would have good reason
to acquire the very large and very deadly cruise missile for underwater
use. According to Fisher, China is in the process of acquiring a fleet
of blue-water submarines capable of operating far from Asian shores. In
a recent defense report, "Dynamic elements in the cross-straits military
balance," Fisher noted the Chinese navy is arming itself with a deadly
combination of silent submarines, rocket torpedoes and supersonic nuclear-tipped
- "The PLAN has completed the acquisition of four
Russian Kilo-class conventional submarines," Fisher wrote. "The
Kilo 636 is said to be nearly as quiet as the early version of the U.S.
Los Angeles-class nuclear submarine."
- "The next few years may also see China produce a
new class of nuclear-powered submarine, the Type 093. Again benefiting
from Russian technology," noted Fisher. "The type 093 is projected
by the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence to have a performance similar
to the Russian Victor-III nuclear attack submarine. By one estimate, four
to six Type 093s should enter service by 2012."
- The Russian-made Victor-class nuclear attack submarines
were first produced at the Leningrad yards in the 1970s. Each Victor weighs
over 5,000 tons and is over a football field in length. Victor submarines
come equipped with eight 21-inch torpedo tubes. The Russian Victor-III
submarine is considered an extremely fast and dangerous craft, able to
sink any surface vessel.
- "China is said to have purchased from Kazakhstan
the Shkval rocket torpedo," wrote Fisher. "This torpedo travels
at a speed of 200 knots, or five to six times the speed of a normal torpedo,
and is especially suited for attacking large ships such as aircraft carriers."
- There are open questions regarding whether U.S. defenses
could handle a Yahont/Shkval armed Type 093 nuclear attack submarine.
- American-built anti-missile defenses, such as the U.S.
Army Patriot and U.S. Navy Standard may not be able to stop the new Chinese
supersonic Yahont missile. An American-built Allied Signal target drone
called "Vandal" with similar performance reportedly defeated
the U.S. Navy AEGIS anti-missile system during a recent test, scoring a
- However, the U.S. Navy will not be able to do any more
AEGIS testing against the super-sonic "sea-skimmer"-type of missile
because of budget cutbacks. And Allied Signal officials have told WorldNetDaily
they will be closing the facility in Mishawaka, Indiana that builds the
Vandal target missile by early 2000.
- Earlier this year, the Clinton administration canceled
the purchase of more Vandal missiles from Allied Signal, leaving the Navy
without a means to test and strengthen its defenses against the new Chinese