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China’s DF-21D and DF-26B Aircraft-Carrier Killer Missiles: A Real Threat?

Last month, China dropped two advanced ballistic missiles–or as the media likes to call them, ‘aircraft-carrier killer missiles’–into the South China Sea. Supposedly equipped with “terminal maneuvering capabilities that enable them to target ships underway” (supposedly, because when it comes to China, who really knows?), the DF-21D and DF-26B missiles were portrayed as “carrier killers” both at home and abroad. Whether or not they could actually hit an aircraft carrier traveling at 30 knots (that’s 15 meters per second), taking evasive action, engaging in active jamming, and shooting back, no one knows. Hopefully, we’ll never find out.

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Sydney-based globalization expert Salvatore Babones is available to speak on the Chinese economy (demographics, growth, technology), the Belt & Road Initiative, global trade networks, and Australia-China relations. Contact: