PLA Study Claims Fire Dragon 480 Capable of Sinking US Warships

PLA Study Claims Fire Dragon 480 Capable of Sinking US Warships

A recent study by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) claims that their tactical ballistic missile, the Fire Dragon 480, has the capability to sink a US Ticonderoga-class cruiser operating in the Red Sea.

Context of Tensions in the Red Sea

Tensions in the Red Sea have escalated due to actions by the Houthis, an Iranian-backed group in Yemen, targeting shipping to disrupt supplies following Israeli offensive actions in Gaza.

PLA’s Simulation Study

The PLA conducted a computer simulation to evaluate the effectiveness of the Fire Dragon 480 against US warships in the Red Sea region.

Simulation Findings

The simulation indicated that coordinated attacks using drones and long-range guided rockets could overwhelm US naval defenses. It suggested that an average of six Fire Dragon 480 missiles could potentially destroy a large US warship.

Target and Defensive Capabilities

The Ticonderoga-class cruisers, like the USS Philippine Sea, are equipped with advanced defense systems, including Mk41 vertical launch systems capable of firing over 200 air defense missiles.

Simulation Results

Despite defensive measures, such as using the Phalanx close-in weapon system and launching air defense missiles, the simulation resulted in the sinking of one cruiser out of two attacked with 12 Fire Dragon 480 rockets.

Alternative Tactics

An alternative scenario using swarm drones along with rockets proved even more effective in overwhelming defenses, with a near-zero survival rate estimated for the cruisers targeted.

Fire Dragon 480 Missile Details

The Fire Dragon 480 is a long-range guided rocket known for its precision-guided sensors, capable of hitting moving targets accurately. It features a 400kg warhead and operates at speeds exceeding 500 meters per second.

Operational Details

Launched from a high-speed mobile wheeled platform, the Fire Dragon 480 utilizes an inertial navigation system (INS) and global navigation satellite services (GNSS) for precise guidance, with a circular error probable (CEP) of 30 meters.

Conclusion and Criticism

While PLA’s claims have sparked concerns, some experts criticize the Fire Dragon 480’s capabilities compared to other advanced missile systems like the CM-302 and BrahMos.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs):

  1. What is the primary claim made by the PLA regarding the Fire Dragon 480 missile?
    • A) It can intercept drones effectively.
    • B) It can sink a US Ticonderoga-class cruiser.
    • C) It has a range of over 500km.
    • D) It has a CEP of 10 meters.
    • Answer: B) It can sink a US Ticonderoga-class cruiser.
  2. According to the PLA’s simulation, how many Fire Dragon 480 missiles were estimated to be necessary to destroy a large US warship?
    • A) 3
    • B) 6
    • C) 12
    • D) 18
    • Answer: B) 6
  3. What defensive systems did the USS Ticonderoga-class cruisers deploy during the simulation against the Fire Dragon 480 rockets?
    • A) Tomahawk missiles
    • B) Mk41 vertical launch systems
    • C) Aegis Combat System
    • D) Phalanx close-in weapon system
    • Answer: D) Phalanx close-in weapon system
  4. What feature of the Fire Dragon 480 contributes to its precision in targeting?
    • A) High-speed launch platform
    • B) Large warhead
    • C) INS and GNSS guidance
    • D) Swarm drone integration
    • Answer: C) INS and GNSS guidance
  5. Which alternative scenario proved more effective in the PLA’s simulation study?
    • A) Using swarm drones along with rockets
    • B) Launching 12 Fire Dragon 480 rockets simultaneously
    • C) Focusing on high-speed maneuverability
    • D) Employing stealth technology
    • Answer: A) Using swarm drones along with rockets