The U.S. Navy is Taking China's "Carrier-Killer Missile" Seriously

December 31, 2020 Topic: Security Region: Asia Blog Brand: The Reboot Tags: ChinaU.S. NavyPeople's Liberation ArmyMissilesCarrier Killer

The U.S. Navy is Taking China's "Carrier-Killer Missile" Seriously

The USN is very concerned about the DF-21D, which is one reason it’s working so hard on ship-borne anti-ballistic missile (ABM) technology.

As such, it’s not entirely clear how transformative the weapon really is. It certainly marks an important contribution to China’s arsenal, and a harbinger of China’s growing power. It’s impact, however, is more incremental than revolutionary, especially in context of the steady growth of China’s other anti-access options.

One implication of the development of this system is the need for establishing a reliable crisis hotline between the US and Chinese governments, along with norms about how leadership will handle such communication in a crisis setting. This may prove a tall order for a pair of governments that remain committed to the public position that war is extremely unlikely.

Editor’s Note: This article expands on the thoughts and ideas the author has published previously here.

Robert Farley is an assistant professor at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce. His work includes military doctrine, national security, and maritime affairs. He blogs at Lawyers, Guns and Money and Information Dissemination and The Diplomat. Follow him on Twitter: @drfarls. This article first appeared in 2014.

Image: Reuters.