The DF-26 anti-ship ballistic missile was unveiled in September and has the capability to arm a nuclear warhead against an aircraft carrier, according to findings by researcher Andrew Erickson in the Chinese-language China Youth Daily newspaper.
Unlike its predecessor, the shorter-range DF-21D, the new missile allows for nuclear warheads to be mounted on it, which lets China use its limited nuclear potential against both strategic and tactical targets. The missile aims to change the power balance in the South China Sea, according to the newspaper. “That ‘change the warhead, not the missile’ feature provides a rapid switch between nuclear and conventional,” the Chinese article said.
Allowing for a mobile launch would also make China’s nuclear potential more mobile, according to the article. “But the DF-26 does not rely on a site for mobile launching. It can move fast, and it has no strict demands for where it is launched. So that is helpful to movement of missile forces all over and in concealment, and it is helpful to the rapid deployment, rapid launch, and rapid displacement of combat elements. ” According to the newspaper, the new missile aims to be preventative in the conflict China is involved in, regarding disputed islands in the South China Sea.
Chinese Submarine Rehearsed Attack on US Aircraft Carrier Reagan
With tensions high between Washington and Beijing, American defense officials claim that a Chinese submarine recently conducted a simulated cruise missile attack on the USS Reagan. Earlier this year, details began to emerge about an incident in the Sea of Japan. After leaving port in Yokosuka on the weekend of October 24, the aircraft carrier USS Reagan reportedly came into close contact with a Chinese submarine.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, this was “the closest encounter” between a US aircraft carrier and a Chinese submersible in nearly a decade. But according to US defense officials speaking to the Free Beacon, the encounter also involved that submarine locking onto the aircraft carrier as part of a simulated targeting exercise. “If true, this would be yet another case of China trying to show us that they can hold our forces in the region at risk,” Virginia Representative Randy Forbes, chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on sea power, told the Free Beacon. “Coming on the heels of anti-satellite tests and other demonstrations, this latest incident should be a reminder of the destabilizing course that China is on and the challenges we face in maintaining a stable military balance in the Asia-Pacific region.”
Full article: China’s New ‘Carrier-Killer’ Missile Goes Nuclear (Spacewar)