Chinese ballistic missiles that splashed down in the sea back in August, actually hit a moving vessel.
Image Credit: sinodefence.com
In a news report, it has been revealed that the two anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBM) launched back in August 26, during a Chinese military exercise has actually hit a moving target, specifically, a sailing vessel in the South China Sea.
Back in August 26, China launched two ballistic missiles, dubbed as ‘carrier killers’ as they have the capability to hit aircraft carriers very far off from the Chinese coast. The missiles, DF-21D and DF-26B anti-ship missiles were initially believed to have traveled thousands of kilometres before they splashed down in the South China Sea between Hainan Island and Paracel Islands. This was reported by the South China Morning Post (SCMP), and later confirmed by the Pentagon.
The DF-21D has a range of about 1,500 kilometres and is commonly referred to as the ‘carrier killer’, while the DF-26B has a range of 4000 kilometres and is known as the ‘Guam express’, as it has the range to hit US military bases in Guam.
United States had two aircraft carriers in the South China Sea back in July in a show of strength against China’s repeated attempt to harass other’s countries’ vessels from entering the South China Sea. The information about the target hit was revealed by Wang Xiangsui, who used to work as a senior Colonel, but now works as a professor at the University of Beihang in Beijing. The ballistic missiles were apparently launched after a US spy plane entered a Chinese No-Fly Zone during Chinese naval military drills in the Bohai Sea.
So several days later (after the aircraft carrier maneuvers), we launched the DF-21 and DF-26, and the missiles hit a vessel sailing south of the Paracel Islands. Shortly after that, an American military attache in Geneva complained (to us) and said it would lead to severe consequences if the missiles hit an American aircraft carrier. They see this as a show of force. But we are doing this because of their provocation.Former Colonel Wang Xiangsui
It is believed that the launches were a direct warning for the United States military over its deployments of its two aircraft carriers in the region, USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagen. Tensions have reached decades high during the summer.
Official Chinese sources have still not confirmed that the ASBMs hit the moving vessel. It is undoubtedly unusual if the Chinese ship ballistic missiles hit a moving target thousands of kilometres away, and not report the success. It is believed that China possess more than 150 medium-range ballistic missiles similar to the DF-21, and around 200 intermediate-range ballistic missiles like DF-26.