In one of the speeches on the formation of the US strategic doctrine in January 2012, President Obama stated that American interests in the field of economics and national security are closely linked to processes of a different nature that occur in the space between the western Pacific Ocean, South Asia and the Indian Ocean . He noted that the United States will pay close attention to this part of the world and, as a result, will change the intended tactics of using American troops and their allies in the event of an armed conflict in the region.
The need for such changes in East Asia has been described in scientific literature, in which the ability of the United States to protect and defend its interests in this part of the world has been called into question. For several years, some experts have argued that China, by deploying weapons that block access to certain areas (anti-access / area-denial, A2 / AD), which are of vital interest to Americans and their allies, has changed the strategic balance in the western region. Pacific in their favor. According to other analysts, due to progress in the field of armaments, regional powers can significantly threaten the dominance of Americans (including at the global level).
As a result, the US Army is currently introducing various new concepts that will ensure a stable military-strategic balance in the field of conventional armed forces. One of them is Air Sea Battle, which unites the efforts of the US Navy and the US Air Force to protect American bases in the region from the threat of rocket attacks, change the balance in offensive weapons, improve the stability of submarine operations, and eliminate vulnerabilities of various satellite systems. control, monitoring, reconnaissance and surveillance, improving the interaction of various types and types of troops, improving the capabilities of electronic intelligence and cybernetic operations. The main method of its implementation will be the integration of ground forces, naval forces, air forces, space technology, cyber warfare divisions to deter and, if necessary, destroy troops of an alleged enemy using advanced weapons to block access and block a certain zone (A2 / AD).
Despite the fact that such ground-based weapons play a significant role in the A2 / AD strategy, their role in the implementation of the Air C Battle concept has not yet been fully explored. At the same time, they could significantly and at relatively low cost increase the capabilities of the American armed forces in this region. One approach is to develop similar low-cost weapons for a significant increase in China’s military spending, and if the containment system fails and the conflict enters an open stage, to reduce the damage that China can inflict on Asian states.
The effectiveness of the CRP in the APR
In connection with the above-mentioned changes in the strategies of the United States and China, the use of land-based anti-ship missiles (RCC) is a pressing issue. If American troops stationed in the region have the potential to use them, they can be used to perform a wide range of combat missions: from protecting the interests of the US allies and partners in the region to creating a naval blockade of a potential aggressor in the event of the outbreak of hostilities.
Currently in the region are located about 45 types of missiles, which are in service with the armies of China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei. Tactical and technical characteristics of the most common of them and planned for adoption are shown in the table.
RAND analysts (RAND) evaluated the effectiveness of RCC use based on their technical capabilities and the impact of the American PLA Navy access blocking strategy if they prefer active combat operations against the allies and partners of the United States in the Asia-Pacific Region (APR) . The main approach of analysts was the provision that the maximum deterrence of the PLA Navy in the territorial waters of the PRC (that is, ground-based PKRs should be placed on the first row of islands blocking China’s further access to the Pacific Ocean) will have a decisive influence on their combat operations in the region. They recognized that the approach to the containment of the PLA Navy using only ground-based PKR is ineffective, and therefore analyzed the role that this type of weapon can play in a comprehensive deterrence strategy.
According to the RAND Corporation, the use of ground-based anti-ship missiles will significantly complicate the operations of the PLA Army and Navy when the open conflict with the allies and partners of the United States begins. This weapon is highly mobile (except when it is stationary) and is relatively easy to use. As a result, the PLA Navy will have to use a much larger amount of military resources to detect and intercept ground-based anti-ship missiles. In addition, anti-ship missiles will provide substantial assistance if the United States and its allies decide to establish a long-range naval blockade of the PRC.
RAND specialists conducted a comprehensive analysis of the role of the above-mentioned type of weapons in the strategy of military deterrence in China. It is believed that in the course of equipping the US contingent, which can be deployed in allied and partner countries in East Asia, relatively small material resources will be spent on land-based missiles. For their normal functioning, in addition to the US military, the participation of the armies of the countries in whose territory these missiles will be located will be required. It will also become necessary to have access to the systems of these states that will provide target identification, rocket control based on the information received, and the operation of the anti-ship missiles.
It is assumed that the above-mentioned complexes based on American and local elements will protect all the straits that China may have access to. In addition to land-based anti-ship missiles, in the event of the establishment of a sea blockade, China will have to use means of intercepting and screening merchant ships, such as a helicopter aviation or coastal protection vessels of regional states. In the event that, during the discussion of the strategy, the choice falls on the use of local rather than American ground-based PRKs, they will have to be integrated within a single management system.
During the analysis of the likelihood of introducing the blockade of the People's Republic of China, specialists thoroughly studied the possibility of covering ground-based RCCs of each of the straits through which the PLA Navy could break into the Pacific Ocean if hostilities began.
Malacca, Sunda and Lomboksky Straits
The relatively narrow Strait of Malacca is of strategic importance. The nearby Indonesia and Malaysia have significant ground-based PKR arsenals that can effectively intercept targets over the entire length of the strait in 730 kilometers. Although RCC batteries can be destroyed, guaranteed destruction of these weapons without the participation of the PLA ground forces will be very difficult due to the small size of the RCC launchers. Land-based anti-ship missiles that have a greater range of fire, such as Indonesia’s C-802 ASM (an adapted version of the Chinese YF-2 anti-ship missiles), are able to provide more effective resistance. C-802 ASM can hit a target at a distance of 120 kilometers, making it the most long-range ground-based anti-ship missiles deployed in the region. PCR PJ-10 "BrahMos", which is a joint Russian-Indian development, can increase the distance of the destruction of potential enemy ships to 1500 kilometers.
However, the closure of the Strait of Malacca does not guarantee the maintenance of a stable maritime blockade of the PRC in this region. To ensure it, it is necessary to take similar measures in the Sunda and Lombok strait. Since their width is relatively small, experts do not see any problems in their protection of land-based PKR.
Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines
If Taiwan and the Philippines are involved in the alleged conflict, land-based PKRs deployed on their territory will also serve as a means of restricting the freedom of action of the PLA Navy. For example, a missile located on Taiwan and having a range of 100 kilometers, along with rockets that can hit targets at a distance of 200 kilometers, will provide control over the movement of ships south of Okinawa. Another option to protect this area is to base the RCC with an 200-kilometer radius of action on the island of Ruykyu. The space between Okinawa and Japan can be covered by anti-ship missiles with an 100-kilometer range located in Japanese territory. The Luson Strait, the area of the island of Borneo and the Philippines may protect RCC, established on the island of Taiwan and the territory of Malaysia and / or the Philippines.
However, according to experts, in this case the water area located between Australia and Indonesia remains undisguised. This problem can be solved by using the BrahMos PJ-10 RPC in a land version located in Indonesia and / or Australia.
Korea and Japan
PLA Navy can also use the Korean Strait for the transit of ships between South Korea and Japan. It is easy to block it using ground-based CRP with a radius of 100 – 200 kilometers, located on the territory of these two states. According to experts, to achieve the optimal level of security of this strait, it is necessary to use land-based anti-ship missiles simultaneously, which are in service with these two states.
The best placement option RCC
Experts believe that it will be relatively easy to arrange ground-based RCCs on all the above territories on a temporary basis. On the contrary, the placement of this type of weapons on an ongoing basis will cause a negative reaction from China and will presumably have a negative impact on various types of US-Chinese negotiations. For the normal functioning of ground-based PKR as a means of deterrence, close cooperation with those states on whose territory they are located is necessary, which is also a factor for which the United States, according to experts, should not aggravate relations with the PRC. Thus, the best option for the use of anti-ship missiles is to prepare the places from which they are planned to be launched, and to place depots of this type of armament on the territory of Asian states or to prepare for an emergency redeployment of ground-based PKR from the United States.
A series of CRPs can be installed not only in terrestrial, but also in a number of other versions, which will allow increasing the degree of flexibility of their application. At the same time, the question arises of mobilizing and creating an effective structure for managing RCC batteries located in different conditions. According to experts, the optimal scheme is the mobilization and transfer of subdivisions of the Patriot air defense missile system, developed by the US Army. The minimum composition of one unit of this complex consists of two launchers with four launchers on each, eight supply vehicles, a radar station, a control center, additional equipment necessary for the normal functioning of the complex, the corresponding calculation. All of these components can be deployed on five C-5 aircraft or on seven C-17. When moving the complex also really use high-speed vessels.
Given the high level of development of the various-based PKR market (including ground-based), experts believe that the structure of the subunit of the anti-ship missile unit described above can be created for any type of these missiles without much effort.
Assessing the impact of the international situation on the strategy of using ground-based PKR in deterring the PLA Navy, analysts note that not all the APR states are fully allies and / or partners of the United States. The most striking example is Indonesia, which, despite the provision of US military assistance, strengthens relations with the PRC. Perhaps the need to convince such countries to deploy on their territory ground-based PKRs will become a major problem of American foreign policy in the region.
Cooperation in the framework of the creation of a common defensive ground-based PKR system can significantly improve the interaction of the United States and the APR states in the field of national security. At the same time, the question is relevant whether these countries will be able to effectively use land-based PKR to ensure the blockade of the PLA Navy. Experts believe that since the American army does not have enough experience and material and technical base to maximize their effective use, cooperation with Asian countries in this direction may be significantly hampered.
Today, the Air Force and the US Navy have the means that can carry out the containment of the aspirations of the PLA Navy without the use of ground forces. However, they are for the most part expensive and their placement may be hampered by the efforts of China. The ground-based anti-ship missiles, which are launched from relatively small-sized installations located in inaccessible terrain, can significantly improve the American containment system without the use of expensive equipment. The use of these missiles can facilitate the task of patrolling the US Air Force and Navy. Mass deployment of launchers on the territory of the US allies and / or partners will complicate the work of Chinese command and control systems and intelligence agencies. The use of ground-based CRPs within the framework of the Air C Battle strategy would significantly increase American capabilities in countering the Chinese strategy of blocking access to certain areas (A2 / AD). It will also facilitate cooperation with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region in the framework of the deployment and potential use of these weapons, according to RAND Corporation.
The idea of the potential use of ground-based PKR by the United States and its allies and partners in the APR as a significant deterrent is particularly relevant in light of the increasing potential capabilities of the PLA Navy.
For the first time in all history countries reach the level of initial combat readiness. A report with this information was published in the US Congress by a subcommittee dealing with China.
According to a draft report prepared by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, the JL-2 Chinese solid-propellant ballistic missile for launching from submarines (SLBMs) can reach the level of initial combat readiness at the end of 2013. The flight range of this SLBM is estimated to be 4000 nautical miles (7408 kilometers). In a complex with a nuclear submarine with ballistic missiles (SSBN) of the 094 project (Jin code - Jin) the JL-2 rocket will pose a threat directly to the US territory. Currently, the PLA Navy has three SSBNs of this type, it is planned to deploy two more boats to the 2020 year.
The report contains information according to which China is developing two new nuclear submarine projects (APL) - a nuclear submarine with missile-torpedo armament (PLAT) of the 095 project and SSBN of the 096 project. The 096 project SSBNs are expected to significantly increase the range, mobility, secrecy, and effectiveness of Chinese nuclear deterrence.
Constructions belonging to the American armed forces on the island of Guam, in the near future will be under threat from the Chinese land-based missiles, experts say.
Despite the fact that at present, China cannot use ground-based cruise missiles, the PLA Navy, experts say, are developing the possibility of attacking ground targets with the help of sea cruise missiles. A special role in this context will be played by the PLN project 095 and the destroyer with guided missile weapons (URO) of the 052D project (Luyan 3 cipher code - Luyang III). This will make it easier for the Chinese side to attack targets located in the western Pacific Ocean, including on the island of Guam.
As indicated in the above-mentioned report, PLA Air Force acquired 15 new H-6K bombers (an improved version of the H-6 machine). Aircraft H-6K can carry cruise missiles onboard to destroy ground targets and have an increased range compared to the previous version. Air-launched cruise missiles will allow the PLA Air Force to strike virtually all targets in the western Pacific Ocean.
The report contains information according to which China is currently developing an improved version of the DF-21 ballistic anti-ship missile system - DF-21D. Its estimated flight range will be 810 nautical miles (1500 kilometers). As a result, it will not be able to hit targets on the island of Guam, remote from China on 1600 nautical miles (3000 kilometers).
Among other innovations of the PLA Navy, analysts pay special attention to the construction of the first Chinese aircraft carrier "Liaoning", from whose deck the Flying Shark J-15 fighter took off and landed. In June 2013, during the exercise, the first group of deck aviation pilots and takeoff and landing control officers for aircraft carriers were certified, and in September, 2013 carried out checks on the take-off and landing of deck planes on the ship. It is assumed that crew training will continue until the first air regiment equipped with J-2015 fighters will go into service with the PLA Navy in 2016 – 15.
The report also contains information on other new PLA Navy ships. In 2012, China introduced two new classes of surface ships: the destroyer URO Luyan-3 and the frigate Jiangdao (project 056). Resumed construction of destroyers URO "Luyan-2." Serial production of frigates of the UZO "Jiangkai-2" continues (project 054A). Analysts believe that most of these ships will go into operation by 2015. According to them, by this time, China will become the second largest power in the world in the number of large ships launched, and by 2020, despite an increase in American production fleet, - the largest builder of military ships in the world and will annually produce the largest number of submarines and surface ships.
The position of the specialists, expressed in the report under review, is the following: over the next 5 – 10 years, China’s military preparations will significantly change the strategic balance in Asia. Along with strengthening US-China relations, the PRC is increasing its ability to strike the bases and ships of the United States and its allies in the Asia-Pacific region.