Date Posted: 27-Jul-2012
Jane's Defence Weekly
China 'developing' navalised version of DH-10 cruise missile
J Michael Cole JDW Correspondent
The People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) appears to be developing a ship-borne variant of the land-based Dong Hai-10 (DH-10) land-attack cruise missile (LACM).
Images of the launcher mounted on PLAN test vessel hull 891 could be the first strong evidence that the Chinese navy is evaluating or certifying a naval variant of the DH-10 LACM. It would provide the service with its first strategic land-attack capability.
The positioning of the launcher suggests a similar configuration to the YJ-62 and YJ-83 anti-ship missile (ASM) launchers in service on PLAN surface combatants. This could minimise the need for structural modifications and allow for interchangeable launchers of a mix of LACMs and ASMs, although this would sacrifice the number of ASMs that could be carried on a vessel.
A likely interim platform for the DH-10 is the Type 052C frigate, which can carry eight rounds. Expeditionary configurations could come with four YJ-62s and four DH-10s, providing limited land-attack and sea-defence capability.
The Type 052D, which is reported to be under development, is expected to carry 16 rounds. It is not yet known whether the PLAN is exploring the possibility of a vertical launch system for the DH-10, which would increase ship safety while giving the missile a 360-degree range regardless of the vessel's orientation.
In 2008 the Second Artillery Corps began deploying the ground-launched DH-10, which has an estimated range of 1,500-2,200 km, with the CJ-10 air-launched variant entering service on PLA Air Force H-6 bombers in 2010.
The introduction of a sea-based LACM capability would extend China's ability to conduct precision strikes against land targets well beyond its shores, including bases and hard targets in Taiwan, Okinawa, and the East China and South China seas.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Deployment of Land Attack Cruise Missiles (LACM) on Chinese warships will bring new dimensions to diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific.
Images have surfaced of a naval variant of the DH-10 LACM on a China Navy test vessel. The missile canisters spotted appear to be virtually identical to the land-based variant. This sort of arrangement is reminiscent to the deployment of the BGM-109 Tomahawk on United States Navy surface combatants by way of the MK-143 Armored Box Launcher. The MK-143 enabled vessels such as the Iowa Class Battleships and Spruance Class Destroyers to launch the BGM-109.
The images suggest that the DH-10 would be installed in the same way as the YJ-62 or YJ-83 anti-ship missiles. This is advantageous for the current generation of China Navy surface combatants, giving designs such as the 052C land attack capability with minimal structural modification. However, the downside is that the arrangement would sacrifice anti-ship capabilities by substituting the YJ-62 or YJ-83 systems with DH-10 launchers. It also means that only a maximum of eight missiles can be carried and that is assuming the launch canisters can be stacked on top of one another.
In spite of its disadvantages and simplicity compared to the deployment of vertically launched LACMs by other navies, the adoption of a naval variant of the DH-10 is a considerable capability leap for Beijing. This development would enable China to complete its “cruise missile triad”, complementing the already in-service land-based system and the air-launched variant, the CJ-10. Missiles launched from land-based platforms are restricted to striking targets around China’s periphery, not so dissimilar to the range limitations faced by the Second Artillery Force’s inventory of conventional ballistic missiles. Missiles launched from the air force’s H-6 bombers provide more operational flexibility and reach for China’s cruise missiles, similar to the way in which the United States Air Force deploys cruise missiles from its bomber fleet. However, without aerial refueling capability and heavy fighter protection, the H-6 is an aircraft restricted to limited regional operations. The bomber’s obsolete design, slow speed and its vulnerability to interception are weighing heavily against its potential strategic roles.
The China Navy, on the other hand, is the only branch of the Chinese military capable of projecting limited power far beyond China’s shores. While it is debatable whether the China Navy would seek the same sort of global reach as the United States Navy, the possession of ship-launched LACMs would essentially enable Chinese warships to conduct long range precision attacks against land targets around the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The implications are strategic locations that were traditionally distance away from China mainland could now be potentially brought within the firing range of DH-10 armed vessels.
The fact that DH-10 is mounted on a test vessel that has yet sail suggests that it is still very early its development cycle. If the rumored Type 052D destroyer, the successor of the 052C that is reportedly under construction is mounted with DH-10, then a universal vertical launch system for Chinese armed forces is a reality.
It would also be interesting to monitor the future development of an undersea DH-10 systems as arming Beijing’s fleet of conventional and nuclear attack submarines with submarine-launched DH-10 missiles will have far reaching implications.