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Subject: China's DF-21A - could it cause a nuke exchange?
reefdiver    8/6/2010 6:09:22 PM
The DF-21A "carrier killer" ballistic missile has been brought up before. Fox has an article today: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/08/06/chinese-carrier-killer-missile-game-changer-expert-says/ h**p://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/08/06/chinese-carrier-killer-missile-game-changer-expert-says/ Hypothetical question: if china could indeed get this to work (likely a big 'if'), would its successful use (i.e. sinking of a US carrier) prompt the US to resort to a nuclear response or would the US simply cede the oceans and send its surface fleet home, leaving only long range bombers and submarines to retaliate with conventional weapons. Alternatively, would the US likey absorb the blow, proceed and trust its fleet BM defense systems, assuming the first simply represented unpreparedness?
 
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WarNerd       8/12/2010 4:48:47 AM
Thuan    How many missiles with nuclear warheads do you think China aims at the U.S?
So you think that if china's DF-21D armed with nuclear warheads used to sink the U.S. Aircraft carrier is the death warrant signed by China. Why don't you ask yourself how many missiles with nuclear warheads China aims at the U.S? If the Americans used nuclear weapons against China, the Americans signed a death warrant too.

and

The stupid Americans keep thinking that the U.S. has thousands of nuclear warheads and China has less than 50 ICBMs that could hit the U.S. So the stupid Americans assumed that the U.S. could destroy China and China could only do a little damage to the U.S. The stupid Americans should think it over and ask yourself how many ICBMs China aims at the U.S. China can hit the U.S with ICBMs like DF-5, DF-5A, DF-31, DF-31A and DF-41. The stupid Americans sign their death warrant if they use nuclear weapons against China.
 
Thankfully the Chinese leadership is wiser, and much more intelligent, than Thuan. 
 
China probably has no more than 30 missiles assigned to targets in the USA, all of which will be major population centers.  These missiles are more than enough to discourage the USA from launching an unprovoked attack on China, so there is no point in wasting money building more.
 
Nuke a US carrier (or any warship) and it becomes a provoked attack, and that is completely different.  The USA, or any other nuclear power, can never allow a nuclear attack to go unresponded to, or nuclear weapons cease to be a deterrent.
1.   Assuming cooler heads prevail, and UN unanimously sides with the USA, China will be given a chance for a limited surrender (no occupation) after turning over ALL personnel in the command chain leading to the attack, starting with the entire political leadership, for a war crimes trial before an international tribunal.  If China to surrender refuse then one of the follow scenarios results.
 
If China will not surrender, and the UN support remains, then the next step is a rigidly enforced total blockade and embargo of China to provoke an economic collapse and unconditional surrender.  If the UN will not support, then go to 2.
 
 
2.   If cooler heads do not prevail, or unanimous UN support can not be had, then the USA will launch a nuclear counterstrike.  Most likely this will be using Trident missiles launched in a suppressed trajectory to take out China's ICBM capacity.  If successful this would be followed by additional strikes at military facilities (most of which are in or adjacent to large population centers resulting in significant non-military casualties) to weaken the Chinese military to the point that the US Navy can enforce a blockade without UN assistance or permission and starve the central government into submission.
 
 
3.   If, at any point, China launches its ICBMs then the USA will salvo its Chinese targeted ICBMs in response.  Depending on various factors the Chinese will kill a dozen cities and 10%-25% of the US population, probably much less if the USA has gotten ABM systems (Navy SM-3) deployed and in position .  The USA will destroy all Chinese cities and 40%-70% of the population, mostly ethnic Chinese.  With the central government gone, or at the very least crippled, the relatively untouched ethnic border areas (western China and Mongolia) will rise up and revolt.  Russia, after assessing the results of the US strike, will launch it's own nuclear strikes to finish the job.  This will be followed by invasions from Russia, Taiwan, Japan, and possibly Vietnam, in a race to grab the best pieces of the corpse.  The surviving ethnic Chinese will be a minority in whatever arrangement results.
 
The Chinese leaders are neither stupid nor insane, they know this scenario and how it plays out.  It is the a de
 
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Othon       8/22/2010 12:29:08 PM
Of course all above WarNerd's analysis will become useless if in the near future PRC deploys new MIRV-ed SLBMs and ICBMs. After that there will be no US strategic strikes on China because in return PRC will launch not thirty but hundreds of thermonuclear warheads on CONUS which destroy not 10-20% of US population but close to 80% of it.

So both countries would be effectively erased once and for all in such nuclear exchange (Mexican invasion on US would follow to grab back lands lost during 1846-48 war - Mexican Cession in Mexican View).
In short old Soviet-American like nuclear parity will emerge between US and PRC. Many recent facts suggest that is China's rulers clear goal judging after DF-31A, DF-41, JL-2, Type 094 and Type 096 SSBNs strategic buildup programs.
 
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warpig       8/22/2010 8:56:01 PM

Of course all above WarNerd's analysis will become useless if in the near future PRC deploys new MIRV-ed SLBMs and ICBMs. After that there will be no US strategic strikes on China because in return PRC will launch not thirty but hundreds of thermonuclear warheads on CONUS which destroy not 10-20% of US population but close to 80% of it.




So both countries would be effectively erased once and for all in such nuclear exchange (Mexican invasion on US would follow to grab back lands lost during 1846-48 war - Mexican Cession in Mexican View).

In short old Soviet-American like nuclear parity will emerge between US and PRC. Many recent facts suggest that is China's rulers clear goal judging after DF-31A, DF-41, JL-2, Type 094 and Type 096 SSBNs strategic buildup programs.


 
 
"All of his analysis becomes useless" if the Chinese develop MRVs?  Hardly.  It changes nothing important.
 
If the Chinese DF-21D are conventional, then our response will be conventional.  It is inconceivable that we would use nukes first just because the Chinese develop a weapon system that may even end up able to sink some carriers.  Therefore, the original question is answered.
 
If the Chinese use nukes against U.S. forces during some west Pacific scenario, such as a Taiwan invasion, the our response will be nuclear in kind, such as against the Chinese invasion fleet for example.  It is inconceivable that we would not use nukes second in response to a Chinese first use of nukes.  It is immateriel to this scenario whether or not China has 30 ICBMs or 3000, and whether or not China can destroy 20% of our population or 90%.  Therefore, the Chinese fanboi's morphed response/question is answered.
 
 
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Othon       8/23/2010 7:18:17 AM
I am afraid you are wrong defending WarNerd's analysis. He claimed that in the extreme US would escalate and strike on Chinese mainland with strategic nuclear weapons (Tridents-IIs etc.) and he also clearly pointed out that result of such nuclear exchange would be clearly in US advantage because American losses from PRC counterattack would be much lower than Chinese ones - even minimal if AEGIS ships with SM-3 anti-missiles are properly deployed. That should deter PRC rulers from any first use of nuclear weapon.

This is true as for today but I stated that in the near future when PRC effectively MIRVs its nuclear arsenal and deploys much more survivable strategic launchers (better SSBNs, mobile ICBMs) such scenario will become impossible. US will never dare to strike strategic targets in PRC according to WarNerd's scenario because PRC counterattack will be equally devastating. So US won't escalate to strategic level but most likely US will limit use of nuclear weapons only against Chinese naval and theater targets. That way PRC will gain opportunity for the first time to use of its nuclear weapons first on tactical or theater scale without any worries about US strategic response.

One can see there will be completely new strategic situation between these two powers!
 
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Zhang Fei       9/5/2010 10:15:39 AM
This is true as for today but I stated that in the near future when PRC effectively MIRVs its nuclear arsenal and deploys much more survivable strategic launchers (better SSBNs, mobile ICBMs) such scenario will become impossible. US will never dare to strike strategic targets in PRC according to WarNerd's scenario because PRC counterattack will be equally devastating. So US won't escalate to strategic level but most likely US will limit use of nuclear weapons only against Chinese naval and theater targets. That way PRC will gain opportunity for the first time to use of its nuclear weapons first on tactical or theater scale without any worries about US strategic response.
 
This assumes that China's neighbors do not establish their own nuclear deterrents in response to a Chinese build-up. If they do, then they are very likely to see a Chinese nuclear attack on the US, the only major power capable of preventing China from annexing their territory, as an attack on them. I suspect they'd see it as an opportunity for a regional nuclear blanket party vis-a-vis China. Nobody really sees an exterminationist policy against China as a wise one, but when we're talking about nukes, there's a winner-takes-all component that just cannot be dismissed out of hand.
 
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warpig       9/5/2010 8:59:11 PM

I am afraid you are wrong defending WarNerd's analysis. He claimed that in the extreme US would escalate and strike on Chinese mainland with strategic nuclear weapons (Tridents-IIs etc.) and he also clearly pointed out that result of such nuclear exchange would be clearly in US advantage because American losses from PRC counterattack would be much lower than Chinese ones - even minimal if AEGIS ships with SM-3 anti-missiles are properly deployed. That should deter PRC rulers from any first use of nuclear weapon.


This is true as for today but I stated that in the near future when PRC effectively MIRVs its nuclear arsenal and deploys much more survivable strategic launchers (better SSBNs, mobile ICBMs) such scenario will become impossible. US will never dare to strike strategic targets in PRC according to WarNerd's scenario because PRC counterattack will be equally devastating. So US won't escalate to strategic level but most likely US will limit use of nuclear weapons only against Chinese naval and theater targets. That way PRC will gain opportunity for the first time to use of its nuclear weapons first on tactical or theater scale without any worries about US strategic response.


One can see there will be completely new strategic situation between these two powers!


 
And as I explained my position in the two paragraphs after my initial sentence, whether China gets an MIRV'd payloads for their ICBMs does not change anything important in the scenario originally presented, because even if the Chinese did nuke US ships, I contend our response would be to nuke Chinese ships and not to nuke mainland targets--certainly not Chinese cities.  I'm not trying to address the rest of anyone else's argument or whether we could win or lose an all-out nuclear exchange against each other's countries, because as far as I'm concerned that's not the issue here, and I'm interested in sticking to the original thread subject.  Whether or not China has MIRV'd ICBMs certainly will not change how we react to a conventional DF-21D strike against our carriers (which is the true subject), nor in my opinion would it change how we react to a nuclear strike against our carriers (which is what the Chinese fanboi "Thuon" morphed it into).  Hence, "it changes nothing important" to the subject of this thread.
 
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Slim Pickinz    nonsense   9/7/2010 1:42:17 AM

I am afraid you are wrong defending WarNerd's analysis. He claimed that in the extreme US would escalate and strike on Chinese mainland with strategic nuclear weapons (Tridents-IIs etc.) and he also clearly pointed out that result of such nuclear exchange would be clearly in US advantage because American losses from PRC counterattack would be much lower than Chinese ones - even minimal if AEGIS ships with SM-3 anti-missiles are properly deployed. That should deter PRC rulers from any first use of nuclear weapon.


This is true as for today but I stated that in the near future when PRC effectively MIRVs its nuclear arsenal and deploys much more survivable strategic launchers (better SSBNs, mobile ICBMs) such scenario will become impossible. US will never dare to strike strategic targets in PRC according to WarNerd's scenario because PRC counterattack will be equally devastating. So US won't escalate to strategic level but most likely US will limit use of nuclear weapons only against Chinese naval and theater targets. That way PRC will gain opportunity for the first time to use of its nuclear weapons first on tactical or theater scale without any worries about US strategic response.


One can see there will be completely new strategic situation between these two powers!

You are assuming a perfect scenario in which China has 100% launch capability and are still around to launch their missiles.  You aren't taking into account the vulnerability of silo-based ICBMs to a first strike. You aren't considering that even mobile ICBMs can be contained. You haven't realized that the Chinese are 25 years behind in submarine technology compared to the US and that their half dozen type 094s, when they ever go on patrol, will have either a 688, Virginia, or Seawolf on their tail to sink them the second they hear a launch hatch pop. The US has fifty years of experience hunting Soviet boomers, they can certainly keep track of a couple of Chinese boats.
 
Considering the scenario already proposed, a US response to a nuclear-tipped DF-21A would be the destruction of China's ICBM capability, and the sinking of whatever the Chinese have in the water, before either have a chance to launch. Possibly a few unmolested silos or launchers may get a bird in the air, but those could be realistically countered by SM-3 and THAAD, if they are in position. The Chinese would be stripped of its nuclear deterrent and the US would make the terms for the PRC surrender.
 
 
 
 
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Shawnc    The point is Deterrence   9/7/2010 6:38:04 AM
IMHO the whole point about China's nuclear capabilities was that it was developed as a Deterrence and not as an offensive weapon, nor is it every been used as a 'threat' tool in China's foreign policy toolbox.
 
In fact, China is the only NPT country to issue a UN security assurance that it would NOT use nuclear weapons as a threat or as 'first use'
 
Perhaps that is why the DF-21D has been publicly showcased as a non-nuclear ASBM.
 
At current weapons levels, China is not seen as a threatening nuclear state, but if it were to increase the number of nuclear delivery assets above a certain point - say start massing producing SSBNs and ICBMs at a time when the major nuclear powers are reducing their stockpiles, it would be something that they clearly cannot disguise or hide, and would trigger a nuclear arms race in the region. Apart from India and Pakistan, which are nuclear states - Japan, Taiwan and South Korea are considered near-nuclear powers with the technological ability and resources to rapidly develop nuclear weapons. For example, South Korea could conceivably develop a nuclear warhead for their Hyunmu-3C cruise missiles relatively quickly.
 
The development of the DF-21D could be construed as a 'cheap' way for China to deter or fend off an American CVBG in any Taiwan Straits confrontation. No matter how good your fleet's ABM defenses are or how bad you think China's C4ISTAR is for the DF-21D, the thought of a saturation bombardment of 30+ of these missiles onto your flat-top would give any fleet commander pause.
 
In the 1982 Falklands War, the Royal Navy's two aircraft carriers were stationed considerably East of the Falklands in part due to the threat from 5 Exocet armed Argentinean Super Etendards. It's possible that the DF-21D serves the same purpose - to encourage USN CVBGs to remain at a distance that would further complicate air operations in the Taiwan Straits.
 
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Shawnc       9/7/2010 7:03:27 AM



The stupid Americans keep thinking that the U.S. has thousands of nuclear warheads and China has less than 50 ICBMs that could hit the U.S. So the stupid Americans assumed that the U.S. could destroy China and China could only do a little damage to the U.S. The stupid Americans should think it over and ask yourself how many ICBMs China aims at the U.S. China can hit the U.S with ICBMs like DF-5, DF-5A, DF-31, DF-31A and DF-41. The stupid Americans sign their death warrant if they use nuclear weapons against China.



Stupid Americans?  as opposed to silly chinese kids who don't understand that France is militarily stronger than china at a force delivery level - and that France actually has a working nuclear triad - china doesn't - she's barely got a functioning nuclear powered sub - let alone a sub that can actually go out and do its mission effectively. 


I love the fact that the Type 094 SSBN and Type 093 SSN docked at Yulin naval base near Sanya are clearly visible to all the gaijin staying at those luxury beach resorts in Yalong Bay... :D
 
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Slim Pickinz       9/8/2010 2:11:57 AM

IMHO the whole point about China's nuclear capabilities was that it was developed as a Deterrence and not as an offensive weapon, nor is it every been used as a 'threat' tool in China's foreign policy toolbox.

 - Actually several Chinese generals have threatened a nuclear response over the past decade to American instrusion or invasion in response to action with Taiwan or a similar crisis. If you needs sources, I should be able to find some.

In fact, China is the only NPT country to issue a UN security assurance that it would NOT use nuclear weapons as a threat or as 'first use'


 

Perhaps that is why the DF-21D has been publicly showcased as a non-nuclear ASBM.


 

At current weapons levels, China is not seen as a threatening nuclear state, but if it were to increase the number of nuclear delivery assets above a certain point - say start massing producing SSBNs and ICBMs at a time when the major nuclear powers are reducing their stockpiles, it would be something that they clearly cannot disguise or hide, and would trigger a nuclear arms race in the region. Apart from India and Pakistan, which are nuclear states - Japan, Taiwan and South Korea are considered near-nuclear powers with the technological ability and resources to rapidly develop nuclear weapons. For example, South Korea could conceivably develop a nuclear warhead for their Hyunmu-3C cruise missiles relatively quickly.


 

The development of the DF-21D could be construed as a 'cheap' way for China to deter or fend off an American CVBG in any Taiwan Straits confrontation. No matter how good your fleet's ABM defenses are or how bad you think China's C4ISTAR is for the DF-21D, the thought of a saturation bombardment of 30+ of these missiles onto your flat-top would give any fleet commander pause.

- There were reports recently about the Chinese developing and launching several camera, video and SAR eqipped satellites that would be used undoubtedly in tracking and acquisition of an American CBG approaching Chinese waters. Whether the birds will operate in unison or as seperate assets is still a debate, but if the former occurs the PRC will have a tracking capability comparable to Soviet RORSATs for limited periods over the Pacific.
 
In the 1982 Falklands War, the Royal Navy's two aircraft carriers were stationed considerably East of the Falklands in part due to the threat from 5 Exocet armed Argentinean Super Etendards. It's possible that the DF-21D serves the same purpose - to encourage USN CVBGs to remain at a distance that would further complicate air operations in the Taiwan Straits.


 
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