Photo: Naval Technology
Last week a Chinese warship pointed its missile guidance system at a Japanese destroyer in an unmistakable show of aggression, the Japanese Ministry of defence announced today.The brief report out of Tokyo cites a January 30 event where a type 053 Chinese frigate locked its “sixth fire control radar” onto a Japanese helicopter equipped vessel out of Yokosuka. Japan has two helicopter carriers, and they are the largest vessels in the Japanese Maritime Self-defence Force. If it was one of these it was likely the Hyûga (DDH-181) whose home port is naval base Yokosuka.
The fire-control radar used by the Chinese ship is employed specifically to help combat systems achieve a “firing solution,” the complex calculation required to hit a target. It’s a very narrow, focused beam of radar, and there’s no mistaking its intention.
Photo: Chinese Military Review
The New York Times reports this is the second instance of a Chinese vessel using fire-control radar against Japan. On January 19 another Chinese frigate hit a Japanese helicopter with fire-control radar before switching it off without incident.The area in the East China Sea where both countries maintain competing claims over a string of disputed islands has seen dozens of incidents between the two countries in the past months, but this move by China brings the situation to a new level.
It’s been a steady progression.
Beijing released photos of its East Fleet 052 destroyer during live fire exercises in the disputed area late last month. The maneuvers involved both its East and South Fleets, simulating actual combat scenarios.
Those exercises included multiple jet fighters and surface vessels and were the first time
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Chinese naval air forces used air-to-air missiles so far out to sea. China’s East Fleet maintains 35 ships in the region, including its newest warship (i.e. the Type 054), seven submarines, and eight additional landing craft.
Among the subs are four Kilo-class diesel-electric Russian-made submarines capable of the most advanced underwater warfare.
The incident is particularly concerning because the type of radar used on the Japanese ship would have prompted immediate defensive measures. If the Japanese captain had showed less restraint a counter launch might have ensued producing untold consequences.
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