The Chinese military have for years boasted of a magic weapon capable of destroying aircraft carriers from a long range. This magic weapon comes under the category of weapons dubbed the Shashoujian, or “Assassin’s Mace” by the PLA. The “Assassin’s Mace” term is used to designate a wide array of technologies that might afford an inferior military an advantage in a conflict with a superior military power.
In Aug 2020, the Chinese Govt mouthpiece, Global Times, reported that two “aircraft-carrier killer” missiles or “Assassin’s Mace” launched by China had travelled thousands of kilometres and hit their designated target, a moving ship, in the South China Sea. The missiles were reportedly DF-26B and DF-21D missiles and are claimed to have struck a moving ship close to Paracel Islands. A former Senior Colonel Wang Xiangsui says “This is a warning to the US, asking it not to take any military risk.”
Interestingly the missile launch by China was timed to coincide with the presence of two US Navy aircraft carriers which were exercising in the South China Sea at that time. The Global Times made a typically propaganda bluster declaring that “any aircraft carrier movement in the region is at the pleasure of PLA”.
China has a wide selection of anti-aircraft carrier weapons like DF-21D and DF-26 "aircraft carrier killer" #missiles. South China Sea is fully within grasp of the #PLA; any US #aircraftcarrier movement in the region is at the pleasure of PLA: analysts. https://t.co/X5L0foka6Q pic.twitter.com/rEPjp9gqAZ— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) July 4, 2020
This Chinese bluff was almost immediately called out by the US Navy when it responded, that the two US aircraft carriers in the region “are not intimidated”.
The answer as to why the US Navy confidently called off the Chinese bluff was not clear to many people at that time. One possible explanation is that the US Navy is aware that while ballistic missiles have the capability to strike a static target with high degree of precision it is not easy to target a moving ship. A missile requires active terminal guidance using a radar or other means to target a moving ship but it is highly unlikely that a Ballistic missile has got such a system. In fact, no country in the world has developed such ballistic missiles which can target moving ships. The Chinese claim thus appears to be nothing but an empty boast to impress its domestic audience.
Whatever little hopes the Chinese had of scaremongering using this “assassin’s mace” have now been destroyed by a test missile firing undertaken on the 17th of November 2020. In this test, a US Navy Destroyer shot down a hostile ballistic missile using a SM3 missile.
For the first time, last night an @USNavy Aegis Destroyer in the Pacific Ocean shot down a target ICBM. A clear message to all who mistakenly think they can threaten the American people with long-range missiles #NavyLethality #PeaceThroughStrengthhttps://t.co/Rs1MKvytbw— Ambassador Marshall S. Billingslea (@USArmsControl) November 17, 2020
Target Acquired 🎯 💥— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) November 17, 2020
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency and #USNavy successfully conducted an intercept test using an SM-3 Block IIA missile against an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile target, Nov. 16, 2020. #NavyLethality
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