Thursday, November 30, 2023

China's new YJ-21 and CJ-21 hypersonic anti-ship missiles are game changers in the Pacific

The Chinese authorities announced, with supporting photos, that the YJ-21 and CJ-21 anti-ship ballistic missiles were now operational and were now equipping PLA naval and air units, in particular the Type 055 heavy destroyers. The arrival of these missiles will further increase the Chinese challenge for the US Navy, while tensions between Beijing and Washington continue to grow around the Taiwanese case.

Has China stolen Russia's favor by deploying a hypersonic anti-ship missile aboard its new Type 055 heavy destroyers ?

In any case, this is the question that arises following the publication of photos showing the firing of a missile identified as YJ-21 from one of these ships, suggesting that the missile could actually be in service, or at least in the advanced testing phase.

As if this news alone was not enough, new photos have been released showing an H-6N long-range naval bomber also carrying an anti-ship ballistic missile, which experts believe to be the CJ-21 .

YJ-21 and CJ-21 derived from the DF-21D anti-ship missile

This is the airborne version of the YJ-21, itself derived from the famous long-range DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile used from land-based launchers since the early 2010s. With a range of 1 700 km, the DF-21 had caused a profound upheaval in the freedom of action of American and Western naval and naval forces near the Chinese coast.

The YJ-21 and CJ-21 are derived from the CF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile
The YJ-21 and CJ-21 are derived from the CF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile

However, the US Navy had, for several years, implemented a response to the threat posed by the DF-21D and its big brother the DF-26 with a range of 4,500 km. Indeed, like the monitoring of Chinese ballistic deterrent missile launches, the deployment and launches of these anti-ship missile batteries are precisely monitored by American observation and intelligence satellites.

In the event of an aggressive strike against a US ship, this early detection would allow escort ships to deploy their anti-ballistic weapon, the SM-3 missile , to intercept the threat before it strikes its target.

At the same time, the threat represented by the YJ-12 and CJ-12 supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles with a flight profile comparable to that of the Russian Kalibr, and implemented respectively by ships (destroyers and submarines) and Chinese naval aircraft, was within range of the SM2 anti-aircraft missiles of American destroyers and cruisers.

In fact, even if it should not be neglected, the threat represented by the new Chinese anti-ship missiles that appeared in recent years was contained by the American Navy and its allies.

H6N CJ21 e1650460631733 Anti-ship missiles | Hypersonic weapons and missiles | Flash Defense
H-6N long-range bomber carrying a ballistic missile, probably a CJ-21

New capabilities for Type 055 destroyers and H-6N bombers

LOGO meta defense 70 Anti-ship missiles | Hypersonic weapons and missiles | Flash Defense

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Fabrice Wolf
Fabrice Wolf
A former French naval aeronautics pilot, Fabrice is the editor and main author of the site. His areas of expertise are military aeronautics, defense economics, air and submarine warfare, and Akita inu.

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