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YJ-83 / C-803

The YJ-83 variant has a range of around 135 NMI (250 km), versus the air launched rocket powered YJ-8K 27 NMI (50 km) range, the improved YJ-81 43 NMI (80 km), and the the turbojet YJ-82 (CSS-N-8 Saccade) 65 NMI (120 km). The newly developed YJ-83 anti-ship missile is a further derivative of the Chinese C-802 ASCM. The YJ-83 has a range of 250 kilometers, can receive target data while in flight, and travel at supersonic speeds, making it difficult for ships to defend against. The YJ-83 represents a new capability to conduct over-the-horizon attacks on U.S. and allied naval forces. Chinese military experts believe the YJ-83 "indicates that longer range land-attack cruise missiles are just around the corner." Department of Defense (DOD) officials believe the YJ-83 is part of China's ongoing effort to develop a long-range strike capability against U.S. naval forces, especially aircraft carriers. With its 250-km range, the YJ-83 gives the PLA a new weapon that it can fire from beyond the reach of U.S. Navy defensive systems.

The versatile YJ-83 can be launched from the air, from ships, and from submarine torpedo tubes. In early November 2002, China fired a YJ-83 anti-ship cruise missile from a JH-7 fighter bomber, showing the range of the missile to be about 155 miles. The missile, previously estimated with a range of 75 miles, enables the Chinese military to run "over-the-horizon" attack capability.

The JH-7 can be armed with YJ-83s, both indigenously developed. The JH-7 and YJ-83 combination provides the PLA with a power-projection capability of over 1,900 kilometers, which is more than adequate to cross the Taiwan Strait and put commercial shipping and Taiwan's military facilities at risk. Usually armed with conventional, high-explosive warheads that detonate after penetrating a ship's hull, ASCMs are some of the most potent naval weapons around, packing a punch that gives China a powerful naval force even though it relies on older ships.

Another concern is the PLA's revelation of 25 H-6 cruise missile carriers at the November 2002 Zhuhai Airshow. The H-6s, each armed with four YJ-83s, can perform maritime reconnaissance, enforce a naval blockade around Taiwan, and conduct cruise missile strikes against U.S. bases in Okinawa. The United States will not find it easy to defend its forward bases against this emerging threat. On 3 March 2003, the PLA's Air Force headquarters confirmed that, in keeping with the PLA's strategy that the best defense is a good offense, China had modified its bombers to carry cruise missiles for an offensive capability in the event Taiwan declared its independence.

As of 2009 China was continuing construction of its new.HOUBEI-class (Type 022) wave-piercingcatamaran hull missile patrol boat. More than 40 of these units had already entered service. Each boat can carry up to eight YJ-83 ASCMs. As of 2010 China deployed 60 new Houbei-class (Type 022) wave-piercing missile patrol boats, armed with YJ-83 anti-ship cruise missiles.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 02:38:33 ZULU