Zhou Tian: Which U.S. weapons make it difficult for Chinese Communist forces to deal with

Sino-U.S. military confrontations are now becoming the norm. The Chinese Communist Party is desperately developing Dongfeng medium-range missiles against the U.S. military in an attempt to prevent the U.S. military from intervening in the conflict in the Western Pacific, but other than that, conventional weapons that are truly threatening are relatively limited; on the contrary, the U.S. military is equipped with many weapons that are difficult for the Chinese Communist Party to deal with, and the Chinese Communist Party fears a devastating blow, so it dares not start the war easily.

Continued from the previous article: Which U.S. weapons are difficult for the Chinese military to deal with (3)

Air-dropped “Swift Strike” smart mines

Mines have been one of the traditional weapons of offshore defense, and at times they can also be offensive weapons. Mines can be placed by surface ships, deployed by submarines, or dropped from the air. The U.S. military has a global deployment capability, and aircraft can quickly drop mines into designated areas to create mine interdiction zones.

The U.S. Army’s “Quickstrike” (Quickstrike) intelligent mines, the mines are equipped with a set of wing kits, can be dropped from aircraft over long distances, high altitude, with power mines through GPS guidance, to find their own target area, and then can be located in the water. The mines are detonated by detecting magnetic force, vibration and pressure changes, and are primarily aimed at large ships and valuable targets.

The “Quickstrike” intelligent mine extended range version (Quickstrike – ER), can be safely and accurately dropped from high altitude by various types of U.S. warplanes, the mine can fly more than 70 kilometers, weight from 500 pounds MK62 type, other types of MK63, MK64, up to 2000 pounds of MK65; the greater the weight, the greater the power; the smaller the weight, the greater the scale of rapid deployment. The U.S. B-1B bomber could carry 84 Mk62 mines, a veritable “swift strike” of intelligent mines.

During the Pacific War, U.S. bombers dropped a large number of mines in Japanese waters; now the U.S. military has a rapidly deployable “Swift Strike” smart mine, which is difficult for the Chinese Communist Party to deal with.

U.S. B-52H bombers are dynamically deployed at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Aug. 25, 2021, with MK-62 Quickstrike naval mines placed next to them. (U.S. Air Force)

Strategic value of air-dropped mines

If the Chinese Communist Party were to prepare for a full-scale attack on Taiwan, it would have to assemble a large number of ships and landing forces along the Fujian coast, none of which could be kept secret. If the U.S. military is unable to obtain preemptive authority, it can quickly deploy a large number of Swift Strike smart mines by airdrop to block the main military ports, especially the shipping lanes of large and medium landing ships, forcing the CCP to abort amphibious landings.

If the CCP is unable to launch an amphibious assault as planned, hundreds of missiles will likely have to be delayed even if they are already in predetermined positions. This would buy Taiwan’s military and civilians more time to conceal, relocate, and take precautions, and the CCP’s numerous missile launchers would be at constant risk of a massive U.S. strike. If the CCP assesses that it will take longer to complete mine clearance, the CCP’s long-range strike weapons will likely need to be evacuated from their predetermined positions, and the CCP’s entire operational plan will be disrupted.

The small water mines have strategic value against the CCP’s forceful violation of Taiwan. The U.S. military can also drop mines on the seaward areas of the CCP’s North Sea Fleet and South Sea Fleet, which can also effectively prevent the CCP fleet from supporting the Taiwan Strait operations; the CCP’s East Sea Fleet can barely complete the task of escorting amphibious ships alone, and amphibious landings will not be effectively accomplished. If the CCP abandons the armored vehicles and helicopters carried by the large and medium-sized landing ships and makes a desperate attempt to land with a large number of small ships in scattered forces, it will be difficult to take on Taiwan’s tanks, armored vehicles, helicopters, and other heavy weapons.

U.S. submarines can also approach Communist Chinese naval ports to release mines, but air-delivered mines can be rapidly deployed on a larger scale and are less risky. The cost of mines is much smaller than expensive missiles. If the U.S. military cannot take a pre-emptive strike, air-dropped deployment of mines should be another option to deter CCP military operations.

The U.S. military could even make public the areas where the mines are deployed to alert civilian vessels, which would amount to a sort of no navigation zone and one means of deterring the CCP from waging war. on August 25, 2021, the U.S. military made a point of displaying MK-62 smart mines placed next to B-52 bombers at a base in Guam, sending a clear signal to the CCP.

A U.S. Army F-35C Lighting II fighter jet tests dropping an AGM-154 Joint Beyond the Area of Defense Weapon (JSOW) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, March 23, 2016. (U.S. Navy)

AGM-154 Joint Beyond the Ozone Weapon

The AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) is a gliding bomb that uses a combination of inertial guidance and GPS navigation to glide through the air and automatically find targets, with a glide range of 28 kilometers at low altitude and up to 110 kilometers at high altitude. The bombs can be dropped outside a certain air defense area, improving the aircraft’s survivability, and the bombs can hit the target with precision, minimizing collateral damage.

In 1998, U.S. F/A-18s dropped the first JSOW glide bombs, hitting targets in the southern suburbs of Baghdad, Iraq, with precision. In subsequent operations Desert Fox, Southern Surveillance, NATO Allied Operations, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, U.S. warfare of all types used JSOW glide bombs more often to conduct precision airstrikes, and more than 400 have been dropped in actual combat.

Ordnance personnel move an AGM-154 Joint Off-Zone Weapon (JSOW) from the weapons elevator to the flight deck during U.S. aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) operations in the Arabian Gulf, March 27, 2003. (U.S. Navy)

JSOW glide bombs are available in a variety of models, such as submunition models with 145 armor-piercing and incendiary bombs, and also against hardened forts. Once the U.S. military has gained control of the air and destroyed the primary Communist Party air defense radar, a large number of JSOW glide bombs will be used to strike a wider range of Communist Party military targets.

The latest contract awarded by the U.S. military is increasing the bomb’s glide range to a maximum of 560 kilometers, and once deployed, it can be dropped entirely outside the range of air defense missiles, leaving the CCP even more helpless.

The U.K. carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) fleet exercises with the U.S. amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA6) in the Philippine Sea as the U.S. military loads JDAM precision-guided bombs into the built-in bomb bay of the F-35B Lightning II fighter jet, Aug. 20, 2021. (U.S. Navy)

Joint Direct Attack Suite

The Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) is a bomb guidance kit that can be fitted to a variety of general-purpose bombs to turn them into precision-guided bombs.

Since 1998, more than 400,000 JDAM kits have been produced in the U.S. JDAM kits can also control the trajectory of the bomb to detonate the warhead on a precise course and at an optimal angle to maximize explosive effectiveness.

In the 1999 Kosovo War, U.S. B-2 bombers dropped more than 600 JDAM bombs; they were used extensively in the subsequent wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and against ISIS, replacing the old carpet bombing with precision bombing and reducing collateral damage.

JDAM kit-equipped precision-guided bombs significantly reduce the cost of precision strikes, can be adapted to all types of warplanes, and are designed to be accurate to 13 meters, with actual tests at about 7 meters.

U.S. Strategic Command conducts an exercise to separate Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) kits at Ellsworth Air Force Base, Oct. 21, 2019. (U.S. Air Force)

U.S. B-2 bombers can carry 80 JDAM precision-guided bombs, capable of conducting deep air strikes and fully capable of destroying Communist China’s Dongfeng-26 intermediate-range missile bases in the interior.

U.S. Marine Corps F-35Bs deliberately demonstrate JDAM precision-guided bombs carried in built-in bomb bays during an interoperability exercise with the British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Philippine Sea on Aug. 20, 2021.

A large number of U.S. F-35s are already in service and can use their stealth capabilities to penetrate the Communist Party’s air defense systems and attack both inland targets and the Communist fleet. Israel has repeatedly demonstrated the stealth capabilities of the F-35s in actual combat, and neither Russian nor CCP radars supplied to Syria have been able to effectively detect the F-35s.

Both AGM-154 out-of-area glide bombs and JDAM precision-guided bombs are suitable for the U.S. military to conduct large-scale airstrikes against Chinese Communist military targets, deterring the Chinese Communist military from easily going to war.