Thursday, December 22, 2016

Not a Wonder Weapon

I find it odd that the successful development of anti-missile defenses on our ships is being heralded as some magical savior of our fleet.

Sure, this is good:

The U.S. Navy and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency successfully launched a salvo of two Raytheon Standard SM-6 Dual I missiles against a medium-range ballistic missile target earlier this week. ...

Indeed, the U.S. Navy seems to have hit the jackpot with the SM-6—which by all indications is an excellent weapon. If it proves to be effective against the Chinese DF-21D and DF-26, it may well help preserve America’s access to Western Pacific.

Remember that the SM-6 has an anti-ship and anti-aircraft capability. Every missile fired at an incoming ballistic missile is one less to fire at planes and hostile ships.

And we have to return to port to reload the vertical launch cells.

So the Chinese will be able to send a lot of planes, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles against a battle group sailing within range of China's shore-based forces. Who wants to say China runs out of planes, missiles, and bombs before we run of out missiles on our ships?

The SM-6 is helpful in the issue of breaking the kill chain of the Chinese anti-ship ballistic missiles. No doubt.

But the SM-6 is no "jackpot" that nullifies anti-ship ballistic missiles any more than the effectiveness of the anti-aircraft missile was the savior of ships against the threat of airplanes.