China Shows Off New Hypersonic Weapon
April 22, 2022 (EIRNS)—South China Morning Post reported late on April 21 that the PLA Navy has shown a video of a new ship-launched hypersonic missile called the YJ-21 Eagle Strike. Video footage circulating on social media showed a missile that looks like YJ-21 being launched from a Type 055 destroyer, the PLA Navy’s largest and most advanced surface warship, SCMP reported. Military analysts said the rare demonstration by the PLA could be seen as a strategic deterrence aimed at the United States and Taiwan, the Hong Kong daily remarked.
The YJ-21 is estimated to have a range of 1,000 to 1,500 km. The Type 055 destroyer has 112 vertical launch cells allowing the ship to carry a large number of a variety of weapons (the U.S. Arleigh Burke destroyers have 96 cells).
SCMP quotes Beijing-based naval analyst Li Jie saying that arming Type 055s with YJ-21 missiles was intended to deter foreign ships from getting involved in the event of an attack on Taiwan. “The matching of the Type-55 and YJ-21 missile was designed for anti-access and area-denial to counter America’s maritime hegemony in the region,” Li said.
So far, neither Chinese nor U.S. officials have commented on the YJ-21.