Air Weapons: November 22, 2002


China recently tested their YJ-83 air launched anti-ship missile and it was revealed that the missile had been upgraded to increase it's range from 120 kilometers to 250. This has serious implications for Taiwanese and U.S. warships. The Taiwanese depend on U.S. Standard surface to air missiles to take down missile carrying enemy aircraft. The longer range of the YJ-83 enables an the missile to be launched before the launching aircraft comes within range of the Taiwanese warship it is attacking. U.S. warships are usually accompanied by an aircraft carrier and more powerful radars, so a Chinese warplane carrying YJ-83s would still be at risk of getting shot down before they could launch. But U.S. Navy air defenses are not perfect, and if enough missile carrying Chinese aircraft come at an American carrier from different directions, some of those YJ-83s are liable to get through. The Chinese learned this tactics from the Russians, who planed to use massive attacks of land, surface, submarine and air launched anti-ship missiles against any U.S. Navy task forces that got close to their major naval bases.


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