Combined Missile-Drone Hit Sinks Simulated US Ship

(MENAFN- Asia Times) In a recent computer simulation, China sank a US cruiser using ballistic missiles tipped with cluster drones and conventional warheads, highlighting the vulnerabilities of US naval defenses and the need for cost-effective missile defenses and kill-chain-disruption technologies.

This month, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that China's Fire Dragon 480 tactical ballistic missile could potentially sink a US Ticonderoga cruiser, according to a recent study by the People's Liberation army published in Command Control & Simulation academic journal.

As for the Fire Dragon 480's specifications, Janes reported in February 2023 that it has a range of 360 kilometers and a 480-kilogram warhead. Two missiles can be mounted and fired from the PHL-16 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS).

Janes also mentions that the system has been deployed with the PLA 73rd Group Army of the Eastern Theater Command, which deals with conflicts around the Taiwan Strait.

SCMP says the simulation involved 12 missiles attacking two Ticonderoga-class cruisers, sinking one. Its article mentions that an average of six missiles would be required to destroy a large US warship.

SCMP notes that in an alternate scenario, eight of the missiles had cluster drone warheads of six drones each. As the missiles approached the Ticonderoga cruisers, they released their drone payloads, diverting the ships' firepower and providing more precise target coordinates for follow-up missile attacks. The article adds that any surviving drones were redirected to attack other enemy ships.

According to SCMP, the simulation suggests that China's PHL-16 MLRS would require technological upgrades to be fully effective for the Fire Dragon 480 and drone swarm tactics. Meanwhile, it notes, the US is gradually retiring its Ticonderoga-class cruisers with the last one scheduled for decommissioning in 2027.


Asia Times

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