Friday, July 27, 2012

Deployment of Land Attack Cruise Missiles DH-10 (LACM) on Chinese warships

  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.

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 .

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 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.

A new PAR radar is also spotted.

The older Type 348 Radar AESA radar, found on China Navy's Type052C DDG.


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