Su-35, Su-30, DF-21 hypersonic Missile and PHL-16, this is how China tried to scare Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi, who is on a trip to Asia, is expected to meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei on August 3.

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Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India. He holds an M.B.A in International Business. Books: Author: Foxtrot to Arihant: The Story of Indian Navy's Submarine Arm; Co Author : Warring Navies - India and Pakistan. *views are Personal

John Kirby, the spokesman at the National Security Council under the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden, said that the White House approves the likely visit of Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to the island of Taiwan.

The statement comes after Chinese authorities threatened disastrous consequences for any attempt at an unscheduled visit by Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. In all likelihood, this is since China threatened not only to attack the Pelosi plane if it entered its airspace or Taiwanese airspace but also to strike Taiwan itself and the American aircraft carrier strike group if they tried to intervene in the situation.

Kirby said possible Chinese responses include launching missiles into or around the Taiwan Strait, conducting “highly publicized” military exercises, or conducting “historical norm-breaking operations” such as sending more military planes across the halfway point between Taiwan and mainland China. 

The Chinese reacted as predicted by Kirby. The intimidation included the deployment of Su-35, Su-30, DF-21 hypersonic and PHL-16 MRLS.

Russian-built Su-35 and Su-30 fighters in a mock drill

On August 1, in a large-scale operation of the PRC to demonstrate force to Taiwan and the U.S. forces, more than a hundred combat aircraft were involved, flying in large groups to the island, practising strikes.

A squadron of Chinese Su-30 fighters was seen over the Taiwan Strait, which passed near the border of Taiwan, demonstrating their readiness to attack the island, in the event of the slightest threat to the sovereignty of the PRC, with dozens of missiles.

Fighter combat groups worked out interaction in the air and, according to some reports, have provided support to the strategic bombers of the PLA Air Force H-6, which are capable of carrying nuclear and hypersonic weapons. Given the capabilities of the Su-30 fighters, previously delivered to the PRC by Russia, these combat aircraft could also jam Taiwan’s air defense radars in order to practice the strike by H-6 bombers; however, no details on this have yet been given.

A day before, a pair of Su-35 fighters of the PLA Air Force was involved in practising the suppression of Taiwan’s air defense systems by airborne electronic warfare systems.

The PLA Air Force is armed with 24 Su-35 fighters, which were previously delivered to China by the Russian side. These aircraft have the most powerful and effective electronic warfare system.

DF-21 and DF-21D are in operational readiness

The U.S. Navy Ronald Regan aircraft carrier strike group had moved into the position near the Chinese and Taiwanese waters. China responded by bringing its hypersonic anti-ship missile systems to full combat readiness. As per Chinese sources, 18 missile systems have been activated, which allows China to destroy an entire aircraft carrier group in just a few minutes.

At the moment, it is known that 18 hypersonic anti-ship missile systems, DF-21 and DF-21D, are in operational readiness for combat use. The DF-21D missile is allegedly capable of inflicting high-precision strikes over vast distances, while the flight speed of such a missile exceeds 12 thousand km / h, while the accuracy of hitting a target reaches 10 meters. Given the high flight speed of the DF-21D hypersonic missile, the probability of its successful interception is incredibly small.

There is also information that China could put on full alert and DF-ZF missile systems, capable of striking with gliding warheads flying at speeds up to 12 Mach.

 China also launched a DF-17 hypersonic system from a land-based platform on August 1.

PHL-16 heavy multiple launch rocket systems

The PRC fired shots from its PHL-16 heavy multiple launch rocket systems into the Taiwan Strait. PHL-16 is a close analogue of the American Himars systems; however, they carry heavy 370-mm guided missiles capable of hitting a target at distances up to 220 kilometres and, according to some sources, up to 500 kilometres.

In the night, the Chinese unexpectedly fired about 50 PHL-16 guided missiles into the Taiwan Strait. According to preliminary data, the strikes happened along the eastern part of the strait. At the same time, the blow was so massive that it could be observed from a distance of up to 80 kilometres.

U.S. Unfazed

Kirby noted that Washington was ready to ensure the safety of Pelosi. According to Kirby, she does not need to worry about warnings of the Chinese military response to her arrival in Taiwan.

If the speaker (Pelosi) does decide to visit and China tries to create some kind of crisis or raise tensions in some other way, that’s entirely up to Beijing, said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the media.

Nancy Pelosi, who is on a trip to Asia, is expected to meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei on August 3.


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