Raytheon Has an Anti-Chinese-Missile Missile

One of the biggest threats facing the U.S. Navy today is a new anti-ship ballistic missile recently fielded by China. Officially designated the "DF-21D," American military men have another name for it: the Carrier-Killer.

Weighing in at a massive 15 tons, the two-stage, solid fuel missile is 35 feet tall and nearly five feet across. With a range rumored to extend as far as 1200 miles, the DF-21D is designed to keep American aircraft carriers at a safe distance (from Taiwan) in the event hostilities ever break out, and to deny access to seas within striking distance of the Chinese mainland.

But in the ever changing arms race of tit meets tat, on Tuesday, Raytheon (NYSE: RTN  ) turned the tables on China and announced test results that could (we hope) make the DF-21D irrelevant. Raytheon's solution is the RIM-162 ESSM "Evolved SeaSparrow," an improvement on the basic SeaSparrow air defense missile developed by Raytheon and General Dynamics  (NYSE: GD  ) . Its mission is to shoot down high-diving, supersonic missiles like the DF-21D.

"That's a hit!"
On Tuesday, Raytheon confirmed that in a weapons test at sea, the Evolved SeaSparrow successfully made "skin-to-skin" contact with a DF-21D surrogate, proving its ability to shoot down kill the Carrier Killer.


Photo courtesy of Raytheon.

The company's next move will be to step up marketing of the air-defense missile to the U.S. Navy, and to our allies abroad -- and Raytheon's wasting no time in doing so. In the same announcement in which it explained the intercept results yesterday, Raytheon's vice president for missile systems' naval and area mission defense, Rick Nelson, called the Evolved SeaSparrow "truly an international missile."

Hint, hint
Whether Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and other U.S. allies in the region will take the hint remains to be seen. But when you consider that the missiles cost less than $1 million apiece -- yet are capable of protecting vital naval warships worth upwards of $1 billion (and anywhere as high as $13 billion for a Ford-class nuclear aircraft carrier), you have to assume a lot of countries are going to consider this product a very economical form of "insurance" against DF-21D "risk."

Already, Raytheon has sold more than 2,000 Evolved SeaSparrows. I think that after this week's test results, Raytheon's going to sell a heckuvalot more, with very beneficial results for its revenue stream, its bottom line, and its investors.

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Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (2)

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  • Report this Comment On August 10, 2013, at 11:51 AM, rudolfvs wrote:

    Will the next be a Chinese anti- anti DF-21D?

  • Report this Comment On August 10, 2013, at 12:50 PM, indytoe wrote:

    A ballistic missile against a carrier? I can't imagine anything more stupid. (Unless, in fact, there came a 2-stage[!] ballistic missile. "Stupider.")

    Are the Chinese taking the Russian (USSR) tact of "If you can't hit it, get near enough and blast the crap out of the *region*?"

    And in the meantime, a dimestore, *reactive*, little twinky known as a SPARROW will shoot you down.

    No -- this makes no sense.

    I thought the Chinese were ginning up a cruise -- where's that one?

  • Report this Comment On August 10, 2013, at 9:15 PM, pwm02176 wrote:

    Hitting a bullet with a bullet....that's the technology involved and required. No easy task.

  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2014, at 3:56 PM, opio2635 wrote:

    we don't need any ships need more drones the enemy can use nukes and all ships n that area will be destroy stop fooling yourself

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2014, at 6:05 AM, DerekVance wrote:

    Opio... Once you pop a nuke against an American Battle Fleet... You may as well pull down the shades and cancel Christmas in China... They'll never even hear the ICMB's from the Ohio Class subs coming.... You don't pop nukes... Unless your ready to end it all. China wants nothing to do with nuclear war any more them we do.

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