Sunday, 2 November, 2008

US intelligence caught napping over Chinese Nuclear submarine readiness.

US intelligence was caught off guard this week by the announcement that China is in the process of outfitting the latest in its line of nuclear ssiles launched from North Korea and its effectiveness would be impaired by a sea based launch platform carrying long ranged missiles.
It is also believed that China is developing or has developed sea launched a multiple warhead system that would be able to penetrate Americas proposed missile defense screen as well as existing anti missile systems.
The JL-2
Also of concern to the US is the development of the JL-2, Chinas newest generation of sea launched nuclear capable missiles. Defense sources have speculated that the JL-2 could have a range of 7,500 miles, sufficient to allow a nuclear strike against the American mainland when launched from an 094 class submarine in the waters surrounding China.

[The JL-2 has sufficient range] "to strike targets throughout the United States,"
The House Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People's Republic of China
It has been claimed that Chinas newest generation of nuclear warheads, to be carried by the JL-2, may be based on designs stolen from the US, though this is thought to be based on supposition rather than intelligence sources.
It is thought that the 094 is capable of carrying 16 JL-2 missiles.
Missile Penetration, Second strike Capabilities
If China were to posses a truly effective second strike weapon capable of penetrating or partially penetrating a missile defense screen around the US or US bases in Japan, it could force the US to alter any strategies for launching offensives or counter offensives again the Chinese mainland. Forcing it to modify its strategy or face heavy casualties in the face of an enemy that can strike back against it.
"In the very near future, China will have a secure, second-strike nuclear attack capability"
Richard Fisher, Vice President, International Assessment and Strategy Center, Washington
A second strike weapon is one deployed after an enemies initial attack has been made against you, and a Chinese second strike weapon deployed from a seaborne platform would be of serious concern to the US.
A sea based nuclear platform could potentially enable sufficient Chinese missiles to survive a pre emptive attack against the mainland, and to launch in retaliation minutes, days or even weeks after the destruction of land based missile sites, and from locations within the US defense perimeter or with poor missile defenses.
"a new ballistic missile submarine will improve the force's ability to survive a first strike,"
US Defense Intelligence Agency
The 094 is thought to be far quieter and to have a much longer range than any other Chinese submarines, and to have the potential to penetrate US fleet defenses and deliver a conventional or nuclear strike against American forces stationed in or departing from Japanese Okinawa and the Japanese mainland in the event of a conflict over Chinese Taiwan.
A nuclear armed 094 carrying the newest generation of Chinese missile could survive a determined US nuclear strike against China and deploy nuclear weapons against key infrastructure target or population centers in Japan in retaliation, it could also strike against infrastructure target or population centers on the US mainland without leaving the effective radius of Chinese mainland defenses, a prospect that is of great concern to a US administration that based its election strategy on homeland defense.
"Instead of venturing into the open ocean to attack the United States, the Type 094-class submarines could remain near [Chinese] waters.
The House Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People's Republic of China
If China were to launch such a second strike, the US could suffer high home front casualties, and the possibility of Chinese retaliation against US base in Japan would promote and˜concern among Americas pacific allies, both of which would present a deterrent to the US.
In the event of a US nuclear strike against China, it is certain that China would respond in kind.
Chinese Naval Forces
The 094 adds to the Yuan-class, a diesel-electric powered attack submarine, the Xia missile submarine and the older 091 Han class nuclear submarine.
Unlike the Han, which has been described as "noisy" and as having a history of reactor problems, and is though to be unlikely to survive combat with US forces, the 094 has been described by US intelligence officials as being "China's first truly intercontinental strategic nuclear delivery system."
When fully operational, it [the 094] will represent a more modern, more capable missile platform,"US Official
It is believed that the submarine that penetrated Japanese waters, close to the Sakishima islands, earlier this year was a 091 Han Class, it is not yet known how easily the more modern 094 could be located in Japanese or open waters.

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