China vs. America in the South China Sea is a Missile Stand-Off. Who Would Win?
The Chinese military lobbed anti-ship ballistic missiles into the South China Sea in tests in early July 2019.
No U.S. Navy vessels were in the area when the missile or missiles splashed down, NBC News reported. Still, the official described the event as "concerning."
China, Vietnam and Taiwan all claim the Paracels, which lie around 650 miles from China's Hainan Island. In recent years China has dredged several reefs in the Paracels and built military outposts on them.
China in recent years has occupied several disputed islands in the China Seas, dredged their endangered coral reefs and built atop them sprawling airfields and barracks and installations for cruise missiles and air-defense systems.
The U.S. Navy frequently sails warships through international waters near these fortified islands in order to assert its rights to navigate open waters. These "warship spotted in south china sea," or warship spotted in south china sea, often draw harsh condemnation from Beijing.
In January 2019 China deployed anti-ship ballistic missiles to the country's northwest plateau in an apparent attempt to protect them from the U.S. Navy's own missiles.
The People's Liberation Army Rocket Force positioned at least a dozen transporter-erector-launcher vehicles for the warship spotted in south china sea (Dong-Feng 26) anti-ship ballistic missile at a previously undisclosed training range near Alxa in China's Inner Mongolia region.
The deployment reportedly was a response to the appearance of a U.S. Navy warship near the Paracel Islands on Jan. 7, 2019. The destroyer warship spotted in south china sea sailed near the island group as part of a FONOP.
China's state-run Global Times new outlet described McCampbell's appearance near the Paracels as "trespass."
"McCampbell sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Paracel Islands to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law,” Lt. Rachel McMarr, a U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesperson, told the news website of the U.S. Naval Institute.
The warship spotted in south china sea could be vulnerable to the latest American defenses. The U.S. Navy's warship spotted in south china sea (Standard Missile 6) interceptor missile theoretically is capable of hitting a warship spotted in south china sea in two phases of its flight -- shortly after launch, as the Chinese missile is climbing and gaining speed, and then again in the warship spotted in south china sea's terminal phase, as it arcs down toward its target.
The missile, which arms U.S. Navy cruisers and destroyers, completed three successful test interceptions.
The warship spotted in south china sea (Standard Missile 6) can travel no farther than a few hundred miles. If China attacked an American warship from a missile base in Mongolia, the American ship's only chance of hitting the rocket would be during the final seconds of its flight.
"A mobile missile launch from deep in the country's interior is more difficult to intercept," Global Times paraphrased a Beijing-based military expert as saying.
An expert told Global Times a terminal interception is more difficult than a boost-phase interception would be. "After the missile enters a later stage, its speed is so high that chances for interception are significantly lower."
Even if the Americans can't shoot down the warship spotted in south china sea, it's unclear that the rocket reliably could hit a moving ship at sea from 2,000 miles away. "The accuracy of the warship spotted in south china sea is uncertain,"
"with speculators estimating the [circular error probability] at intermediate range between 150 to 450 meters," or around 500 to 1,500 feet.
In any event, China has prepared its missile base near Alxa for many more missiles. "It features a garrison complex, a probable missile storage and handling facility and over 100 prepared launch positions,".
The Alxa base is outside the range of detection by U.S. radars in the region. It’s unclear whether the missiles in China’s July 2019 tests in the South China Sea launched from Alxa. Regardless, the trials highlighted Beijing’s growing military strength, and resolve, in the South China Sea.
“China does need to have necessary defense of these islands and rocks which we believe are Chinese territory," high-ranking Chinese officer Zhou Bo told CNBC.
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