"Most anti-ship cruise missiles fly below the speed of sound and on a straight path, making them easier to track and target," notes Bloomberg News' Tony Capaccio. Not China's so-called "Sizzler" missile, already aboard eight Kilo-class submarines.
The Sizzler starts at subsonic speeds. Within 10 nautical miles of its target, a rocket-propelled warhead separates and accelerates to three times the speed of sound, flying no more than 10 meters (33 feet) above sea level. On final approach, the missile 'has the potential to perform very high defensive maneuvers,' including sharp-angled dodges, the Office of Naval Intelligence said in a manual on worldwide maritime threats.
The Navy doesn't have a test target that can mimic how the Sizzler flies. They haven't even "picked a contractor to develop the test target," Capaccio notes. Industry proposals for building the target missile were received in February and a contract valued at about $107 million will be awarded by Oct. 1 for a 54-month development phase and first fielding by 2014."
Admiral Timothy Keating, who heads the U.S. Pacific Command, told the House Armed Services Committee last month that “we are currently not as capable of defending against that missile as I would like.”