Drone Directed Strike Against Carriers

Check out this marketing video from last fall’s Zuhai Air Show depicting a strike on a carrier battle group by Chinese ballistic missiles receiving targeting data from a UAV.

  • J Hughes

    Did you see them blowing up a Chinese owned Hummer? And they used cruise missiles, not ballistic missiles to attack that carrier. Also, is a small UAV really going to be able to fly a couple hundred miles out to sea… and not be detected?!

  • fuck china

    that danm av would have been shoot down 100 miles from the carriars and the usa is makeing deract energy weapons that can shot almost 450 miles away and just because china has something that looks good on the out side dosnt mean its got crazy tech inside because best beats are that all chinas stuff is shit on the inside

    • Dan

      OBama cut those energy weapons like the idiot he is.

      • blight

        Congress approves program cuts, you know…

        • Thunder350

          President has veto power. If he REALLY wanted it left in.

          • STemplar

            He can’t include things, if Congress axes it, it’s gone. He certainly isn’t going to veto a defense bill with troops overseas, since he required that the wars no longer be paid for with supplementals.

      • blight

        And more like nobody was getting bacon grease out of a R&D laser project. If it goes to LockMart, Boeing or whatever, someone will be breaking out a Rolodex labeled “Congressional puppets”…

  • MCQknight

    More interesting I thought was the apparent use of a lighter-than-air vehicle performing the communications-relay role that a satellite normally would perform. Perhaps the Chinease are implying that they’re preparing for a war scenario in which space is inaccessible?

    • blight

      I agree…but that means control is likely by ground stations with the UAVs as relays. You need ground transmitters as well, maybe on the coast with UAVs out to sea. And depending on the power of the transmitter, multiple layers of UAVs with distributed communications, or a very powerful transmitter.

      So the game plan is to have communications UAVs and surveillance UAVs, and putting out enough UAVs so that the constellation can replace them as they run out of fuel without interrupt?

  • xxx

    uh, those weren’t ballistic missiles

  • Jeff W.

    What about sheer numbers? Overwhelming fleet defenses?

  • VikTor

    Yo china got nothing on USA lol thy are third world jets and tanks are ******** **** we are so far in teck they need 20 years to cath up and that’s if we put our hands down .**** china people work there for a 1$ a day .I bet these drone well be at my wallmart

    • joe

      Probably (or some cut-down AR.Drone-esque version, anyway). And people will buy them. And guess where the money will go?

  • Joe

    I like how that UAV was just hovering above the fleet, in theory it would be nice for China. More realistically, they would get demolished as soon as they take off.

  • chazfh

    Sorry I just can’t see a UAV getting that close to a CBG at a time of conflict.

    There is a chance it might be able to provide one uplink but as soon as a threat is establish the drone is history.

    Also as pointed out those are SSCM’s not IRBM’s

  • bigRick

    Well, here’s what we can surmise
    -This video is a marketing piece for internal propaganda purposes
    -The video displays a child like understanding of making war
    -China is not our friend by any means. Imagine if General Dynamics produced a video that showed us how we would attack and destroy China’s military installations-how would that play out? The Chinese would make a huge stink and demand an apology. But it’s clearly ok for them to make this video attacking a US carrier battle group (since no one else has them).

    • blight

      Same with Klub K. It’s posturing, but one out of fear. The PLA hasn’t fought a war recently, and their last ones were limited battles against nation-states, achieving minimal impact (even against Vietnam). They probably watched CNN during the Gulf War and saw effects that previously during the Cold War would’ve required total war and armies of millions smashing into the homeland. They saw a veteran force (the Iraqi Army) decimated and routed by a technologically superior force, and imagined it was the Opium Wars all over again. The videos are meant as soft deterrence in the face of a perceived imperialist threat.

  • Targ

    Why does the US have 60 plus Arleigh Burke class destroyers again? If they can not handle this amateur Chinese scenario, then we are wasting our money.

    • Thunder350

      For 1960’s soviet era war machines.

      • blight

        Aren’t the DDG’s from the ’80s?

    • blight

      If the PLA goes with something like mobile GLCMs and throws down enough cruise missiles at naval targets, then it means naval planners will have to trade VLS slots between SM-2’s (anti-air, anti-missile), SM-3 (BMD, defend against ICBMs against the homeland or fired at them) or TLAMs (to decapitate the target and counterbattery against land cruise missile launchers).

      We do not have an infinite number of tubes, and there is no easy way to replenish VLS at sea. If we go into a shooting war, we will have far less striking power than we did against tinpot powers like Iraq, where the full VLS loads could be skewed towards TLAMs. Against the PRC, there will have to be a balanced load, which means less bombardments with the same number ships we would’ve used elsewhere.

      That said, “60 plus” is planned. The current build is 60 with a planned build of 75 (especially after Zumwalt/DDX/DDX-21/whateveritscalledonpowerpoint fiasco). I’d have to check into the distinction between the various Blocks and what effect it would have in relevant scenarios against the PRC…

  • SpyNavy

    That video provides some decent insight into the Chinese concept of targeting and potential Chinese ISR options. They have made significant gains in the last several years in fusing data into a common operational picture to support targeting. While the video shows a simplistic concept of targeting, the mechanics behind the video are quite sound. The weapons employed were ASCM’s (Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles) not ballistic missiles, but the targeting concept is the same. They could easily employ UAVs within the operational area to support targeting of their ASBMs (Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles).

  • 0311 USMC

    Possibly worth mention: At around 2:24 it shows computer screens (presumably of the carrier group) offline.

    Did I miss something, or are they implying the drone will not only provide targeting information, but also actively deny the use of point defense systems? (blinding targets while anti-ship missiles are deployed.)

  • Auyong Ah Meng

    Sorry…should post here…

    I don’t think that drone UAV whether it is stealth-made or not and any current/forthcoming “attack” plan in the use of these UAVs…will matter…as none will get close enough to a carrier battle gruppe battle space to have a “real good” or significant damage before being swatted out of the skies…As long as the ships or airborne aircraft carrying long range proven detection capability is in that carrier battle group…

    Perhaps a bunch or many of them on the other hand may be a handful…but who cares in the end…you just need to hit the control stations/nodes (be it on the ground or air…by backtracking the control signals) controlling these un-manned birdies…you will see these birds falling outta the skies too…and well…bob’s your uncle!

  • ChristHimself


    China is known to have a glut of creativity and this video is Exhibit A. I was impressed with the use of Windows 7-like window-to-window visuals but definitely not the reality of the video, itself.

    If i remember correctly, Iran sent a drone over into Iraqi airspace a couple years back. We stared at it for a while wondering what the hell it was doing and then shot it down out of pure annoyance. If a drone can’t enter another nation’s airspace without us noticing, how a drone could get that close to a blue water carrier group is beyond me.

    I certainly do not blame China for using the US as target practice in this video. What other targets of opportunity most often present themselves as much as a projected US carrier group. A Vietnamese fishing vessel? Yeah right.

  • Tad

    The one consistent trend is that the Chinese continually surprise to the upside.

    • blight

      What surprise? At least until we see these missiles in action it’s hard to say what they are and what they can do.

  • Lance

    Easy way to defeat this bring back F-14s and shoot down the drones with AIM-54s and the whole attack falls apart.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.a.little Robert A. Little

    I heard that the Phoenix was not a particularly good missile. True? If this information was incorrect, why is it not operational now?

    • blight

      Phoenixes were gigantic missiles, and could only be carried by the F-14. They had a high miss rate in American combat use (the Iranians claimed better numbers); and surely a few upgrades to the seeker heads would have rectified this.

      However, they were very heavy, and a full load of Phoenixes was too heavy to land with (some would be dumped in the ocean). They were a last-ditch weapon for a carrier to fight off hordes of bombers, and once the Soviets disappeared the threat of naval bombers with ALCMs swarming in to attack a CBG disappeared. Once that threat disappeared, Tomcat’s utility diminished too and both faded away together.

      More likely they did combat studies and found that average range of air to air engagement was far less than the maximum range provided by the Phoenix, thus lighter missiles made more sense. It’s similar to the arguments that caused full-sized rifle rounds to be superseded by intermediate rounds and assault rifles.

  • Richard

    lol bs. inless they emp our ships and block comunications and disable our defenceive weapons.

    • blight

      If they’re popping EMPs, then they might even be using nukes and who needs a CM for that?

      There are a fair number of “scary” cruise missiles that the Navy has been worrying about for some time. Even the old Sunburns with the terminal Mach 6 attack phase would give CIWS a run for its money.

      The real threat is a LO cruise missile that can fly nape and made it difficult for doppler radar to catch it. As for “block communications”, it would requiring jamming technology that the PLA hasn’t yet displayed.

      If the PLAN is really putting submarines into American battlegroups, then the answer is clear: launch your ordnance by submarine.

  • J Weekes

    Interesting how threatened everybody seems to be by this. China has closer military competitors than the US that also have aircraft carriers. I suspect Indian Vikrant is the supposed target here, not a US CBG. In which case, it’s entirely plausible.