I am referring, of course, to the GAM-87 Skybolt air-launched ballistic missile, which was developed by the United States in the early 1960s as a was to penetrate increasingly capable Soviet air defense systems.
It was canceled when the Polaris SLBM was determined to better fit the needs.
We now have evidence that the People’s Republic of China is developing a very similar system, though it will likely not be used as a strategic system.
It appears to be a derived from the mobile land base DF-21 of the It will be used to target aircraft carriers, and the air launched capabilities will force carrier groups even further from China, particularly since the platform China’s upgraded Badger the H-6N, is designed with air to air refueling capabilities:
A centrefold graphic recently flourished intimate details of a Chinese bomber carrying a stark new weapon. State-controlled media has since gone into cover-up mode. But military analysts think Beijing may have been caught with its pants down.
The government produced Modern Ships magazine has splashed high-resolution computer-generated images of China’s most recent addition to its strategic bomber line-up – the H-6N – over the front and feature pages.
But that’s not what drew the eye of the world’s defence thinkers.
The graphics showed the new bomber carrying a huge ballistic missile slung under its fuselage. And that missile looks a lot like one of a family of ballistic weapons deployed by China’s People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF) as aircraft carrier killers.
I do not think that this is an unintentional release of information.
After all, how can you deter a CVBG if they do not know about the threat.
The carrier aircraft is extensively modified as well:
Defence enthusiasts noted several strange things about the latest N variant of China’s Xian H-6 series of strategic bombers when it was unveiled to the public at the 70th National Day parade in October.
The state-controlled Xinhua news service simply said it was a “homemade strategic bomber capable of air refuelling and long-range strike”.
But when a flight of three of the bombers flew over Beijing, military experts saw it doesn’t have bomb-bay doors. Instead, it has what appears to be new heavyweight attachment points in a recess along the centre-line of its fuselage.
Also noted was its modified, extended nose-cone and an air-to-air refuelling nozzle.
Assuming that the system can be made to work reliably, and this would include a multitude of sensors and cuing systems, it would be a formidable areal denial system.