Executive Intelligence Review


U.S. Army Wants a ‘Supergun’ To Target Chinese Ships

Jan. 29, 2019 (EIRNS)—The U.S. Army is in the market for a super long-range cannon, one that reaches well beyond the ranges of most potential enemy weapons. “On a tactical level, we need to be able to outrange our adversaries’ guns with comparable caliber and organization,” Army Secretary Mark Esper told reporters at a media roundtable on Jan. 24, reported Military.com website. This would not only have utility against Russian land forces, but also against Chinese naval vessels in the South China Sea. “You can imagine a scenario where the Navy feels it cannot get into the South China Sea because of Chinese naval vessels, [but] we can from a fixed location,” Esper said.

The range that the Army is looking for is on the order 1,000 nautical miles, but can you really launch a ballistic shell that far based on an explosive charge inside the cannon, alone? The Chinese don’t think so. They think by calling it a cannon, it’s a cover for a weapon that actually violates the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Chinese experts believe the whole “supergun” tag could be a cover for the U.S. to develop an intermediate-range ballistic missile, like the Chinese DF-26, capable of targetting moving vessels while avoiding the INF Treaty, Global Times reports.

A few days after Esper’s remarks, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) released footage of a launch of two DF-26’s and images of the missile’s configuration over the weekend, apparently the first time that it has been shown publicly. According to a separate report in Global Times, the missile demonstrated the ability to maneuver mid-flight, giving it the capability to hit a moving target, such as a U.S. aircraft carrier.

“An information network connected to the warhead, which possibly includes satellites, ground and naval radar in addition to radar on the missile itself, will constantly update the location of a moving target, informing flight control where to guide the missile,”

an unnamed Beijing-based military expert told Global Times.