Experts have warned that China fears hiding missiles in shipping containers as part of a Trojan Horse-style plan to strike anywhere in the world.
China is secretly developing Trojan Horse-style missiles hidden in shipping containers that could be landed at enemy ports, experts have warned.
Military analysts believe the use of covert container missiles could convert the country’s huge cargo and fishing vessels into warships.
Sun Reportedly, disguised as a regular shipping container, they can be sneaked onto a ship to mix seamlessly with hundreds of others on board.
The sheer number of container ships in the world makes them harder to pinpoint than warships in combat situations.
Like the fictional Trojan Horse, the missiles would be smuggled into or near an enemy port on a civilian ship in a surprise attack by stealth.
Rick Fischer, senior fellow for Asian military affairs at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, told The Sun Online, while the Chinese have not officially confirmed that they have missiles – it is likely that they have missiles.
And a study by the Stockton Center for International Law warned that the weapons could violate naval laws.
Meanwhile, retired Navy Captain Jim Fannell, former Pacific Fleet intelligence chief, has previously said that a containerized anti-ship missile would add a significant threat to the US Navy.
It comes amid a new wave of tensions between the US and China as communist giants challenge Washington’s status as the world’s top superpower.
China is known to aggressively develop its military and is reaching out to the US – expanding its reach around the world, such as in Africa.
A mockup of the missiles first appeared at an arms fair in 2016 and has since sparked speculation that they may now be in service with China’s armed forces.
Mr Fischer believes the weapon fits with Beijing’s military strategy and will likely be used as an offensive capability against their enemies – potentially being smuggled into foreign ports anywhere in the world. .
Mr Fischer told The Sun Online that “to the surprise Chinese strategic priorities would argue vigorously for the acquisition” of the missiles.
These “would be fitted to non-describing small Chinese ships to mount missile raids against shore defenses to assist in following up amphibious or air assault forces”.
Fischer stated that shipping container missile launchers could be smuggled through ports or through highway ports of entry.
They could then be stored for years in a climate-controlled building within range of US military bases, and taken out when needed for military operations.
Mr Fischer said the containerized missiles would “provide China’s leadership with a wide range of options”.
This includes “using large container ships, thousands of fishing vessels or containers stored in ports, to carry out military or terrorist mission attacks in a manner that can be denied if desired”.
“The CCP (Communist Party of China) is fully capable of using containerized missiles to spread chaos if desired,” he insisted.
For example, Chinese missile launching containers can be placed near the Port of Seattle.
Fischer said the Chinese would look forward to the day they could launch an electromagnetic pulse warhead-armed missile at a nearby nuclear ballistic missile submarine base.
“EMP explosion can take out electronics [submarines] And without launching nuclear missiles from China all over the base,” he said.
“Washington will be in chaos, does not know who to retaliate against, and perhaps China uses American distraction to launch its true objective, the military conquest of Taiwan.”
According to US officials, the weapon deployed in containers is an advanced anti-ship missile called the YJ-18C, a variant of the Russian Club-K weapon.
The missiles fit a standard shipping container of 20 feet or 40 feet long by 8 feet wide and 8.5 feet high.
An online animation shows how the Club-K can be fitted into a container, showing how the top comes up to reveal the missile as it moves forward for the guidance system.
According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the missile has speeds up to Mach 3 – three times the speed of sound, or 2,300mph.
While not in the league of China’s hypersonic missiles, which can reach speeds of Mach 10, analysts agree they can still pack a punch.
The only record so far of a missile being fired from a container ship is an image of a test conducted by Israel.
A large number of Chinese container ships enter US ports on the West and East Coast, making them well within range of the vast majority of the US fleet.
“If this capability is confirmed, it would require an entirely new screening regiment for all PRC-flagged commercial vessels bound for US ports,” Fannell said.
The Stockton Center study concluded that covertly loading weapons on civilian ships may violate international law.
It read: “Failure to comply with the law of armed conflict by covertly engaging merchant ships in China’s warship/war-sustaining effort puts civilian seafarers at risk and endangers all civilian ships that are exposed to hostilities.” Can work in the field.”
This story was originally published by Sun and is reproduced with permission.