Nonetheless, the claim that Free Electron Lasers are immune to atmospheric conditions are interesting. Will need to see how that turns out.
The most powerful arm of a CBG is the air wing. If flight ops are sufficiently disrupted for a few hours, what do you think will happen to the CBG? All the land-based, air-launched and ship-launched missiles will be coming in from stand-off ranges.
When US intel under-estimates PLA's capability once, you'd think that the estimates would be adjusted accordingly, and it won't be too far off the next time. Unfortunately, even senior US officials (including the former CNO) acknowledge, US intel consistently under-estimates PLA's technological advances. Doesn't it make you wonder how much US intel doesn't know is happening in PRC?
The point about the carrier is that when PLAN has 1 (or more operational), South China Sea effectively becomes a Chinese lake. Why do you think Southeast Asian countries are nervous about China's naval expansion (some more than others)?
Have a PLAN CBG put up its air defence bubble and basically they control all the air space in the South China Sea (including land-based aircraft from Hainan/Paracels). Heck, they can probably stage fighters from that air strip they built in the Spratlys too if they really want.
The same applies for East China Sea and Yellow Sea. In other words, when PLAN has an operational CBG, the 1st Island Chain effectively becomes an area where they are dominant in the ar, on the surface and below the surface. The only navy capable of challenging that is the USN. Which is why PRC is devoting resources into access-denial weapons.
And given their recent track record of surprises (ASAT, J-20), they may just have a few more surprises up their sleaves.
A ballistic missile comes designed with a level of heat shielding to protect the missile from the heat of atmospheric re-entry. Hence, it already has an inherent level of protection against lasers. It may not be much, but it certainly beats cruise missiles.
Secondly, using a ballistic trajectory, the ASBM will be coming in almost directly on top of its target. I'd love to see someone point me in the direction of a warship that has radars pointing directly upwards to track an incoming ASBM. Without such an upward facing radar, the target ship will not be able to track the incoming track and designate missiles/CIWS/laser to take it out.
Thirdly, even if taken out in mid-air, gravity will be pulling the resulting debris down onto the target vessel anyway. If that ASBM is a DF-21, it will be what remains of a 14+ ton weapon. That's quite a lot of debris.