China: May Use EMP Against US Warships in South China Sea

China is thinking about using an EMP weapon against US warships in the South China Sea in an effort to rid themselves of the US presence there. In February, China pointed a laser weapon at one of our P-8A Poseidon aircraft as it flew over the disputed area. Now they’ve been toying with the idea of using an EMP weapon against our warships.

The Chinese media Global Times wrote,

“To counter US’ repeated trespasses into Chinese territorial waters, the Chinese military has the option of using new approaches, including the deployment of electromagnetic weapons, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and commentator, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Firing at US warships is not a good choice unless the US fires first, and that would result in the start of a China-US military conflict, Song said, noting that bumping into US ships might also not be a good counter, as lessons have been learned from the Black Sea bumping incident between the Soviet Union and US in 1988.

But the use of electromagnetic weapons, including low-energy laser devices, could be viable, as they can temporarily paralyze US ships’ weapon and control systems without visible conflict but can send a strong warning, according to Song.

Electromagnetic weapons can emit electromagnetic waves that can potentially jam electronic devices of target vessels and will not cause casualties, military observers said.

The US accused a Chinese destroyer of using lasers on February 17 on its patrol aircraft near Guam, even though it was the US aircraft that had initially conducted repeated close-in reconnaissance that interrupted the Chinese fleet’s normal navigation and training. This is a good example and could be applied more, Song said.”

An EMP – or Electromagnetic Pulse is normally associated with nuclear weapons, one pulse from which could send America back to “the early 19th century” by destroying all of our electronic devices.  But in recent years,  several hostile countries (Russia, China, Iran, North Korea) have been working on EMP weapons that are shorter in scope. reported,

A number of countries that aren’t always friendly with the U.S. are actively developing EMP weapons, including Russia, Iran, North Korea and China, among them. China in particular is a concern, given its fast-rising defense spending and its clear intention of becoming the dominant superpower.

That comes from recent Defense Department intelligence assessments and, in particular,  a report delivered to a special congressional committee  set up to investigate the threat EMPs and cyberattacks pose.

The South China Sea is disputed territory for several nations, among them the China, Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.  China commandeered the Spratly Islands and built military bases on them, complete with aircraft runways. Back in 2016, Navy Admiral Harris told Congress that China’s creation of military bases on the islands endangered the vital shipping lanes in that region. That is the reason that US warships continue to traverse the area.

American Military News reported,

The concept of using EMP attacks to force the U.S. to withdraw from the South China Sea would appear to fall in line with China’s “anti-access area denial” military strategy. The anti-access area denial strategy appears aimed at quickly overcoming U.S. forces in the disputed region and employing methods that would hinder U.S. forces from returning to the region.

The Chinese government has been increasingly moving anti-aircraft and anti-ship missile systems as well as radar jamming equipment onto islands throughout the South China Sea to achieve this area denial strategy. The Chinese military has also used artificial islands to act as runways for bombers.

Remember that our military has repeatedly told Congress they are moving to a peer-to-peer operational model. This is one reason why.

Featured photo: “The U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), upper left, transits international waters of the South China Sea with the Indian navy destroyer INS Kolkata (D 63) and tanker INS Shakti (A 57); the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter carrier JS Izumo (DDH 183) and destroyer JS Murasame (DD 101); and the Republic of the Philippines navy patrol ship BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS 17). (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force/Released)”


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