Surface Forces: Son of Silkworm Enters Service

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November 6, 2006: China has put a new anti-ship missile, the YJ62 (also known as the C602) into service. The 22 foot long, 1.35 ton missile has a max range of 280 kilometers and a 660 pound warhead. It normally travels about 100 feet above the water, and then down to 20-30 feet for its final approach. It uses inertial guidance and GPS to get to the general vicinity of the target, and then a jam resistant radar to find and hit the target. If launched from the air, the 465 pound booster rocket is removed, which reduces missile length to 19 feet. Top speed is about 900 kilometers an hour. The YJ62 is designed to take out large ships, like American aircraft carriers (although several hits would be required.) The YJ62 replaces the HY-2 ("Silkworm"), which weighs 3 tons and has a range of 100 kilometers. This missile is based on a Russian 1950s design; the SSN2 Styx. The air launched version, the YJ61, weighed 2.5 tons (as it did not have the booster rocket) and had a range of 200 kilometers. The YJ62 is a new design, and not based on the original Russian SSN2. The YJ62 is supposed to be more reliable and accurate, but it will take some actual combat experience to verify that. The HY2 was used during the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, and proved capable against ships not using countermeasures. In 1967, a Russian SSN2 sank an Israeli destroyed. But in subsequent encounters, during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, Israeli countermeasures defeated the SSN2. The future success of the YJ62 against warships will depend on the ability of the missile to handle countermeasures. The multi-frequency radar of the YJ62 is designed to do this, but can be countered. In the opening stages of any war, both sides get a chance to show how well they can defeat countermeasures, and whoever does it best, scores hits, or avoids them.

 


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