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People's Daily Online

Cruise missiles are 'useful' sea defense

People's Daily Online

By Zhao Lei (China Daily) 09:35, November 10, 2015

The People's Liberation Army Navy has a series of cutting-edge anti-ship cruise missiles that can form a powerful defense line at sea, military experts say.

'The deployment of the latest YJ-18, together with the YJ-12 and YJ-100, has enabled the Navy to deter any foreign navies from approaching its defense areas,' a strategy researcher in the PLA, who asked not to be named, said on Monday.

'Compared with anti-ship ballistic missiles, the YJ-18 and YJ-12 will prove to be more useful, because even though ballistic missiles have a longer range and larger destructive power, their launch preparations are more complicated and their use is more likely to escalate a conflict,' he explained.

By contrast, anti-ship cruise missiles like the YJ-18 are easy to use and more defensive in nature, the researcher said, adding that China has become one of the top developers of anti-ship cruise missiles in the world.

'Few countries have developed advanced anti-ship missiles over the past decade as China has done,' he said.

Cui Yiliang, editor-in-chief of Modern Ships magazine, said the YJ-18 represents the development trend of next-generation anti-ship cruise missile. It has high intelligence and good flight control and can perform sophisticated maneuvers to avoid detection and interception.

Their remarks came in response to interest in the YJ-18 generated by a research report released by the Washington-based US-China Economic and Security Review Commission in October.

According to the report, the missile has a cruise speed of 966 km/h throughout most of its 540-km range. When it is about 37 kilometers from its target, the warhead will accelerate to a superfast speed of up to Mach 3, or three times the speed of sound.

'The YJ-18's supersonic speed and long range, as well as its wide deployment on PLA Navy platforms, could have serious implications for the ability of US Navy surface ships to operate freely in the Western Pacific in a contingency,' the report said.

Yin Zhuo, director of the PLA Navy's Expert Consultation Committee, told China Central Television that no one has succeeded in intercepting a sea-skimming missile even if it is flying at a subsonic speed, so taking down a missile flying at Mach 3 will be very difficult.



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