Anti-ship ballistic missiles DF-21D are potentially capable of sinking US aircraft carrier class Nimitz with one blow.
China acquired the Russian Triumph S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems primarily to protect the DF-21D anti-ship missile batteries from air strikes, according to military historian Dmitry Boltenkov. That is why China creates powerful air defense systems on the coastal directions. For the same purpose, a batch of heavy multipurpose Su-35 fighters was purchased. As for another component of the air defense system – airborne early warning and control aircraft, in this area of military technology, China has sufficiently succeeded on its own. Here Russia also has something to learn from the Chinese designers and aircraft manufacturers.
So why does China attach such great importance to this rocket that it builds reliable protection against air raids especially for it? One answer: the United States, when it became aware of the adoption of the DF-21D, literally panicked. How did this happen to them, for example, when the Iskander OTRK was on combat duty?
The Dongfeng 21 (East Wind) anti-ship missile is the only ballistic anti-ship missile in the world. Based on its capabilities, many American experts believe that the DF-21D was the first real threat to the undivided rule of the US Navy since the end of the Cold War.
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Mass production of the rocket was established in this decade. However, the roots of modification D go back to the mid-eighties of the last century, when tests of the Chinese two-stage medium-range solid-fuel rocket DF-21, aimed at attacking ground targets, were successfully completed. Then successively appeared DF-21A, DF-21 B and DF-21C. Each of them has a range of 2700 km. The first modifications due to the low precision of the guidance made sense only under the condition of using a nuclear warhead with a capacity of 300 kt.
But in the DF-21C, due to the use of a more sophisticated control system, the maximum deviation from the target was reduced to 30 m. Therefore, this rocket can also be used with a conventional warhead.
DF-21D has a range of about 1500 km (China does not distribute data on this rocket, and therefore a number of parameters are probabilistic in nature). The range is reduced in relation to the previous modifications due to the fact that a significant part of the fuel volume was reduced to equip the missile with a new, more effective control system. DF-21D is capable of accurately hitting moving aircraft carriers and their support ships. It should also be borne in mind that the existing RCC does not reach the range up to a thousand kilometers.
What else scares so much the Americans, who will now find it extremely difficult to make “visits” to the Taiwan Strait? The enormous hypersonic speed that a rocket develops is of the order of 10 M. It is achieved due to the high ballistic trajectory and the rapid acceleration of the rocket on the descending segment. Nothing is known about the means of masking a rocket. But it can be assumed, since the Chinese began to make fighters on stealth technology, then the necessary design solutions were applied to the “East Wind”.
The length of the rocket – 10−12 meters, diameter – 1.5 meters. Starting weight – 14−16 tons. The minimum distance rocket defeats surface ships – 100 kilometers.
The control system of the Chinese RCC includes three channels. First of all, this inertial aiming at the target, is used in the early stages of flight. There is also a channel for receiving signals from satellites. And finally, at the final stage, when the warhead is separated from the rocket, the homing head begins to work. About her type is not known. But it can be assumed that it is an active radar.
To create the infrastructure that would serve not only the DF-21D, but also promising anti-ship missiles, China went extremely thoroughly. From the middle of the zero years there was a constant increase in the network of Yaogan satellites, which controls the world ocean. The network includes radar and optoelectronic devices, as well as electronic intelligence satellites. This network detects threats, monitors the movement of enemy ships and directs anti-ship missiles at them.
Actually, in addition to satellites, tracking the surface of the sea at a distance of several thousand kilometers from its coast from China is enough. This includes early warning radar stations, including beyond-the-horizon. And naval aviation, making patrol flights. And, of course, surface ships and submarines. The very serious danger to the enemy ships is that the Chinese RCC in the final segment has a very steep, almost vertical, trajectory. Together with the enormous speed, this contributes to the fact that the ship aimed at the DF-21D is very likely to be destroyed. By the way, due to the high power of the rocket engines and its high trajectory reaching low orbits, the DF-21D can be used and as an interceptor for satellites. The extent to which the Chinese ballistic PKR depresses the Pentagon is shown by statements by American generals who think in terms of a future war. A number of extremely frankly frank statements were sounded that aircraft carrier groups would not be able to deliver missile and bomb strikes in the depths of China’s territory. Because aircraft carriers will not be able to get closer than 1500 km to the coast.
True, the coastal raids are more than problematic, since the C-400 regiment, which includes 16 launchers, can easily handle the aircraft of the American aircraft carrier. that the Russian Navy could be armed with a ballistic anti-ship missile. And its absence was not at all connected with the massive cessation of military developments in the late 1980s. We could even have two such missiles – the P-27K and the P-33. In 1962, the Makeyev Design Bureau began developing the D-5 missile system for strategic nuclear submarines. To him it was necessary to create two missiles with a liquid-propelled jet engine — the “conventional” R-27 with a nuclear warhead and the anti-ship R-27K with a homing head. The R-27 was put into service as early as 1968, with RCC worked until 1975, unfortunately, wasted. The range of the RCC was planned at 2000 km. However, due to the fact that the flight control and aiming equipment was difficult and cumbersome, there was not enough space left for fuel, heptyl.
Range shrank to 900 km. At the same time, the R-27 and R-27K missiles turned out so different from each other, even externally, that completely different departments of the design bureau were developing them. In order to simplify the rocket’s scheme so as not to bring the range to some indecent indicators, the targeting scheme simplified by refusing to correct the flight using the aerodynamic control surfaces on the final part of the trajectory. Which naturally led to a decrease in accuracy. Therefore, the rocket made sense only when using nuclear warheads. however, prototypes were created. And they passed the tests, which for the most part were successful. However, in 1975 the project was closed. There were several reasons for this. Firstly, the sailors were not satisfied with a short range (even though the RCC and now 900 km is a very good indicator), as well as the low accuracy of target guidance. But the main reason was that when deployed on strategic submarines RCC-27K the number of ballistic nuclear missiles is reduced, since no one was going to build special submarines for anti-ship missiles, and the existing boats are not rubber, that is, several D-5 launchers cannot be “lodged” with them. There was one more thing. According to the nuclear arms reduction treaty, anti-ship missiles with nuclear warheads were counted as full-fledged ICBMs related to nuclear deterrence tools. So for the same reason, in the same year, the project of the ballistic missile P-33 was closed in 1975 in the design bureau of Makeev. This rocket, which existed only in the drawings, was supposed to be more perfect. In particular, its range should have almost doubled. However, the imperfection of the homing system again required the use of a nuclear warhead.