How Japan Could Sink China’s Navy in a War
A new anti-ship missile promises to give a tremendous boost to the Japan Self Defense Force’s ability to deter naval aggression. The missile, known as XASM-3, can travel at speeds of Mach 3, evading missile defenses to sink enemy surface ships. The missiles will be a significant worry for China, whose navy will have to sail within range of the missiles in order to reach the North Pacific Ocean.
Traditional anti-ship missiles such as the U.S.-made Harpoon and French Exocet use rocket motors and turbojet engines to fly at subsonic speeds. The missiles are collectively known as “sea skimmers” due to their ability to fly as little as fifteen feet above the waves. The advantage to this low altitude flight is that incoming missiles are hidden from targets by the curvature of the earth. The lower a missile flies, the shorter the detection range. A radar sixty feet off the ground can detect a sea skimming missile flying at thirty feet at a range of nineteen miles. Assuming a Harpoon missile flies at a height of ten meters, enemy air defenses will pick it up on their radars only in the last two minutes of flight, giving them little time to react.