Video Above: How Will Navy Carriers Defend "Carrier-Killer" Missiles?
By Kris Osborn - Warrior Maven
(Washington D.C.) Should more agile, F-35-armed, faster-moving big-deck amphibious assault ships be used as mini-carriers? Should future carriers be built smaller, faster, and less “targetable” by enemy missiles? Perhaps future carriers will operate with massive new numbers of drone attack systems? Or maybe, despite the growing threat environment, big-deck, power-projecting, and intimidating U.S. Navy aircraft carriers...are not going anywhere?
It would not be a stretch to posit that much if not all of these questions have, at least in part, been fueled by the existence of China’s DF-26B and DF-21D “carrier killer missiles.” These weapons, emerging in recent years, have framed or at least influenced ongoing debates about the future roles, missions, and planned attack envelopes of U.S. aircraft carriers.
These often-discussed anti-ship missiles can, according to recent Chinese-government-backed newspaper reports, “adjust trajectory” in-flight while detecting, tracking, and “locking on” enemy targets. Reinforcing these claims, a report in China’s Global Times says the missiles operate as part of an integrated network to include satellites, radar, reconnaissance assets and warships.
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Kris Osborn is defense editor for the National Interest*. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.*