As the U.S. challenges China’s claim over a large portion of the South China Sea, the Chinese navy is bulking up for a possible conflict with the American Navy.
One of the biggest advancements they have made is the development of a submarine-launched missile called the YJ-18.
This missile can travel at 600 miles an hour just a few feet off the water and when it gets 20 nautical miles from its target, accelerate to almost 3 times the speed of sound!
This is giving the U.S. Navy headaches as it tries to create a way to protect its ships from falling prey to a missile that radar will have a tough time catching and on-board cannons will have a hard time getting ready in time for.
From Bloomberg Business:
Increased interactions between the the Chinese and U.S. navy in the contested South China Sea risk becoming more complicated by the increasingly sophisticated missiles being carried by submarines.
A new report to the U.S. Congress assessing a Chinese submarine-launched missile known as the YJ-18 highlights the danger, noting the missile accelerates to supersonic speed just before hitting its target, making it harder for a crew to defend their ship.
Defense chiefs from several countries in Southeast Asia have warned in recent months of the danger of undersea “clutter” as countries build up submarine fleets and the U.S. challenges China over its claim to a large swath of the South China Sea. This week’s U.S. patrol inside the 12-nautical mile zone that China claims around its man-made islands in the waters saw the USS Lassen shadowed by two Chinese naval vessels.