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China's "Tsushima" Anticarrier Strategy
The Jamestown Foundation ^ | 14 January, 2003 | Thomas Woodrow

Posted on 01/14/2003 11:59:50 AM PST by batter

China's navy is developing a Taiwan-scenario strategy to defeat U.S. naval forces by luring them into predetermined target areas and ambushing them with an array of anticarrier attack forces. Recent Chinese military exercises and military commentaries have illustrated in detail how Beijing plans to achieve this goal.

Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) naval and coastal exercises in 2001 and 2002 near Taiwan and along China's southern coast were three-phased operations depicting information warfare attacks, coordinated air and missile strikes on Taiwan's airfields and seaports, and attacks on U.S. naval forces coming to Taiwan's assistance. The purpose of the 2001 exercise, according to Chinese military officers involved, was to plan for the invasion of the Pescadore Islands--which lie between Taiwan and the mainland--and to practice attacking U.S. aircraft carriers that would shortly thereafter arrive in the area. The recent 2002 exercise, which involved more than fifty ships and a dozen submarines, had similar themes. It also included Chinese naval and submarine forces in an unprecedented transit along the eastern coast of Taiwan to an area in the Pacific where U.S. carriers might be in the event of a Taiwan crisis with China.

Defeat of U.S. carrier battle groups would be key to a Chinese victory over Taiwan. Beijing was embarrassed in 1996 when its missile launches into waters near Taiwan caused Washington to dispatch aircraft carriers to the Taiwan area in a show of force. Since that time, China has assiduously added to its military arsenal--including Russian-design high-performance ships, submarines and aircraft weaponry--to be prepared to defeat U.S. carriers in the event of an actual showdown. The Chinese believe that within a few years they will have this capability.

--General Zhang Wannian, vice chairman of China's Central Military Command, reportedly told attendees at a conference two years ago that "during the period of [China's] 10th five-year plan [from 2001-2006], it is certain that war will break out in the Taiwan Strait."

--In May 2002, Major General Huang Bin, professor at the PLA's National Defense University, stated his belief that "once a military conflict occurs in the Taiwan Strait, the United States certainly will intervene, but the scale will be limited. The United States may send several aircraft-carrier battle groups, but they will never dare to sail to the Taiwan Strait [itself, as this would put them] into a dangerous position. Missiles, aircraft and submarines are all means that can be used to attack an aircraft carrier. [In 1996] U.S. aircraft carriers arrived but suddenly fell back by 200 nautical miles, because Chinese nuclear submarines were operating close to the U.S. aircraft carriers.... Once [the carriers are] threatened, [the United States] will run away."

--PLA published commentary has described the vulnerabilities of carriers and the existence of a battle plan to attack U.S. early warning aircraft with antiradiation missiles and then strike the carriers with simultaneous saturation attacks from air- surface- and submarine-based antiship missiles launched from different directions.

--A top Beijing official was recently quoted as saying, "as long as [China] can strike and sink U.S. aircraft carriers that come to Taiwan's aid, there is no problem settling the [Taiwan] issue."

China's anticarrier strategy appears to be a version of the one used by Japan at the Battle of the Tsushima Straits, a strategy that totally destroyed the combined Russian Baltic and Pacific Fleets and effectively won the Russo-Japanese War, propelling Japan onto the world stage as a major power. Beijing is aware it is not capable of confronting the United States in a blue-water duel and plans to take advantage of engaging close to the Chinese coast where multiple military assets can be thrown against the carriers. The Chinese military will have the advantage of surprise and can prepare a trap for the U.S. carriers near Taiwan.

Chinese military purchases since 1996 have been devoted to achieving this goal. Two Sovremennyy-class destroyers--the Fuzhou and Hangzhou, referred to by the Chinese as "aircraft carrier killers"--have been delivered from Russia. Two additional Sovremennyys are on order. Armed with the SS-N-22 Sunburn antiship missile, these warships pose a considerable risk to U.S. carriers and would effectively block off the Taiwan Strait as an operating area in the event of conflict. Moscow recently agreed to sell China the supersonic SS-N-26 Yakhont missile, which is even more awe-inspiring than the Sunburn and, once launched, cannot be intercepted. According to the U.S. Department of Defense report on Chinese military capabilities, released in 2002, Beijing's purchases of the Sovremennyys, "provide China with immediate improvement to its warfighting capabilities."

China has also purchased the Kilo submarine from Russia, described in the DOD report as "one of the quietest diesel-electric submarines in the world." Beijing has four Kilos already, and has placed orders for eight additional advanced-generation version subs armed with the Klub antiship missile. These numbers of Kilos will allow China to completely close the Taiwan Strait and wait undetected for the arriving carrier forces along ingress routes to Taiwan. According to the Pentagon, "[China is] improving [its] capability to deploy submarines on extended patrols. The Kilo provides Beijing with access to previously unavailable quieting and weapons technology. China's procurement of new space systems, airborne early warning aircraft and long-range and over-the-horizon radar will enhance its ability to detect, monitor and target naval activity in the Western Pacific."

The United States has attempted to address the widening gap in Chinese and Taiwan military naval capabilities by promising to sell Kidd-class destroyers and diesel submarines to Taipei. The diesel submarine project is dead in the water because Germany refuses to sell its submarines to Taiwan under Chinese pressure and U.S. submarine yards are loath to open a new diesel line that could compete with lucrative nuclear submarine projects. It is unlikely that Taiwan will ever see a single submarine from this effort. In a recent Taiwan naval exercise depicting a 2005 scenario pitting Kidd-class destroyers against the Chinese Sovremennyys, all four Kidd-class destroyers "sank under enemy fire after they were forced to engage in battle." The Taiwan Navy seemed nonplussed about the results, explaining, "we tend to think the new missile system [the SS-N-26] is aimed at attacking the U.S. navy."

What does the U.S. navy think? In my discussions with the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) based in Honolulu--the command that would actually have to fight and suffer casualties in a conflict with China--it is clear PACOM leadership is aware of the dangers posed by China's quickly growing military capabilities. At the Pentagon, however, senior naval officials appear smugly confident that the Chinese would turn tail once the U.S. carriers show up like the cavalry. The Russian General Staff in St. Petersburg had a similar attitude towards Japan when they arrogantly sent the Baltic Fleet around the world to dispatch the pesky Japanese. Arrogance may convince politicians, but, as history makes quite clear, it does not win battles.

Mr. Woodrow was a senior China analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: carriers; china; usnavy
More articles are on the Jamestown link above. I've also posted Korea in the Vortex for those interested.
1 posted on 01/14/2003 11:59:50 AM PST by batter
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To: soccer8
I think our strategy would involve long range air assault on their naval assets (b2's, etc.) and killing their subs. Our carriers do not need to even go there to stop an invasion. A sealift over to taiwan would be chewed up by taiwanese fire. This is silly.

Not to mention Beijing getting nuked if they ever sunk one of our carriers. Wonder if the Alaska based defense system will be operational before then. Otherwise, don't by west coast property.
2 posted on 01/14/2003 12:05:55 PM PST by epluribus_2
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3 posted on 01/14/2003 12:06:28 PM PST by justshe (Become a MONTHLY DONOR--eliminate the need for Freeperthons!)
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To: soccer8
The Japanese also had a strategy for luring our carriers. The results of that strategy are on the ocean floor near Midway.
4 posted on 01/14/2003 12:07:57 PM PST by Enterprise
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To: epluribus_2
>>Not to mention Beijing getting nuked if they ever sunk one of our carriers<<

This has been posted repeatedly as a threat.

I don't believe it for a second.

In war, these carriers are high-value military targets. Anyone (like China) who wants to take us on has to figure out an attack plan on the carriers that has a chance of working.

Assuming that they succeed, do you think that a US President would kill three million Chinese civilians over the loss of a military target at sea?

To my way of thinking, it's inconceiveable.

5 posted on 01/14/2003 12:12:26 PM PST by Jim Noble
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To: soccer8
I'll call your Sovremennyys with a dozen Harpoons each.

A few P3 Orions will find your oh so quiet Kilos because they are still made of metal that MADD can find and a torpedo can destroy.

Any fighters that are still operational in their aging airforce will serve as target pratice for our DDGs.

And I haven't even used the CGs, our LA Class or Seawolf SSNs, our FFGs, our Cruise Missle subs, or our Carriers and SSBNs.

We will know where all of their subs and destroyers are from the time they leave port till the time we sink them.

As for the Kidd Class DDs. They are the four best destroyers ever built, bar none. I am only sorry that we decided to sell them.

6 posted on 01/14/2003 12:31:41 PM PST by Jack of Diamonds
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To: Jim Noble
If the US were engaged in Combat with China and it escalated to the point we lost a carrier fleet, I have no doubt that the chinese mainland missle silos would disappear under clouds of nuclear dust. Strategic projection chips are now just sweep off the table in a poker game and we'd be playing for keeps with a "no deal" after this hand end run.
7 posted on 01/14/2003 12:32:21 PM PST by Jumper
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To: soccer8
Moscow recently agreed to sell China the supersonic SS-N-26 Yakhont missile, which is even more awe-inspiring than the Sunburn and, once launched, cannot be intercepted.

This shows that the author of this screed doesn't know WTF he's talking about.

8 posted on 01/14/2003 12:33:30 PM PST by Poohbah (When you're not looking, this tag line says something else.)
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To: Jim Noble
I concur. There's no way we'd nuke a city in retaliation for a sunken carrier. We'd sure as hell rain cruise missiles on any available ship or shore target, but that would be a standard move in any hot conflict.

If China is any good with those subs then they can sink a carrier. Nukes might be used to kill a threatening sub, but not against civilians.
9 posted on 01/14/2003 12:39:42 PM PST by Britton J Wingfield
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To: epluribus_2
"long range air assault on their naval assets (b2's, etc.) and killing their subs."

Unfortunately, bombers (b2's etc) have never been effective against ships at sea, and certainly not against subs.
We should be careful not to underestimate the Chineese. They are developing very dangerous capabilities (helped in a lot of ways by the Clinton traitors).

10 posted on 01/14/2003 12:45:24 PM PST by sd-joe
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To: soccer8
We've heard this song before. It's a strategy that requires us to be dumb enough to essentially move our carriers right into their sight. Not gonna happen.
11 posted on 01/14/2003 12:47:21 PM PST by denydenydeny
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To: Jim Noble

The Chinese are thinking "Midway", just like we think they are.

Yes, the Chicoms want to set up Silkworm traps. What they don't understand is that we'll be sinking the Chicom fleet in detail from afar. A B-1 or B-52 with a bellyfull of ALCM's, each programmed to acquire and home in on independent targets, could do a lot of damage to Chinese transports. Imagine whole squadrons of them. Meanwhile, the American Fleet would loiter southeast of Japan...

Eventually, the Chinese would have to find a way to get at the Americans, whose fleet would be stationed outside of China's coastal air force bases. Better yet, the Navy would lie in wait for a task force of Chinese missile boats.

And the Chicoms would have to come. With transports being sunk right and left, the political pressure on the Navy would be immense. They would have to get at least one carrier.

This is a bit like the effect of the Doolittle Raid. It was effective in that it forced Combined Fleet to come out and play before it was ready.

The effect on Chinese military considerations of continued losses of transports in the Taiwan Strait will be the same.

Be Seeing You,

Chris

12 posted on 01/14/2003 12:48:32 PM PST by section9
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To: soccer8
I'm sure our faithful allies, the Frogs, er, French, would sell them some Exocet missiles.
13 posted on 01/14/2003 12:49:53 PM PST by bruin66
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To: sd-joe
Keep in mind, these are the folks whose MIG-21 pilots lose dogfights to out Orion P3 pilots.
14 posted on 01/14/2003 12:51:43 PM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: denydenydeny
People tend to forget, we do not operate Carriers alone. We developed Carrier Battle groups in WW2. It is very hard to get close enough to even see a Carrier.

Supersonic anti-ship missles sound good. But if we can shoot down Jets going Mach 3 then a Mach 2 missle should not be a problem.

15 posted on 01/14/2003 12:51:55 PM PST by Jack of Diamonds
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To: soccer8
  Sovremenny class Guided Missile Destroyer
   Click to enlarge
 

  Moskit-SS-N-22 Sunburn Missile
The missile was designed specifically to strike ships with the Aegis command and weapon control system and the SM-2 surface-to-air missile.

The Moskit (3M80) is a ramjet-powered missile reaches Mach 3 at a high altitude and its maximum low-altitude speed is M2.2, triple the speed of the American Harpoon. The missile takes only 2 minutes to cover its full range and manufacturers state that 1-2 missiles could incapacitate a destroyer while 1-5 missiles could sink a 20000 ton merchantman. An extended range missile, 9M80E is now available.


16 posted on 01/14/2003 12:53:40 PM PST by Rain-maker
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To: denydenydeny
The need for naval vessels which can stand in harm's way and survive is why we should maintain the readiness of at least a couple of the Iowa Class battleships.
17 posted on 01/14/2003 12:56:40 PM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: bruin66
The CIWS Phalanx was designed to defeat better anti-ship missles than the Exocet. Heck, the Wisconsin took out a exocet class target with a Twin 5"38 gun using 1930 technology.

Send them exocets and we will fill the Straights with depleated uraniun.

18 posted on 01/14/2003 12:59:02 PM PST by Jack of Diamonds
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To: bruin66
The CIWS Phalanx was designed to defeat better anti-ship missles than the Exocet. Heck, the Wisconsin took out a exocet class target with a Twin 5"38 gun using 1930 technology.

Send them exocets and we will fill the Straights with depleated uraniun.

19 posted on 01/14/2003 12:59:12 PM PST by Jack of Diamonds
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To: soccer8
Since that time, China has assiduously added to its military arsenal--including Russian-design high-performance ships, submarines and aircraft weaponry--to be prepared to defeat U.S. carriers in the event of an actual showdown. The Chinese believe that within a few years they will have this capability.

As the Chinese have Sun Tzu in their bag of tricks and utilize it well, I'd say that they probably possess this capability now. They may just be gearing up to attack Taiwan once we are bogged down in Iraq, and North Korea may launch a simultaneous invasion against South Korea.

In fact, the Chinese just had another military exercise the beginning of this year.

China launches massive war games

20 posted on 01/14/2003 1:01:59 PM PST by Alpha One
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To: section9
Your thinking is good assuming that we had all those assets in place. What worries me is a surprise attack from China on Taiwan. It could take us 2-3 weeks to get our assets into the area.
21 posted on 01/14/2003 1:08:13 PM PST by sd-joe
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To: Mr. Lucky
Oh really.

I don't consider an accident (or deliberate) physical contact that results in our plane being captured by the enemy "losing a dogfight".
22 posted on 01/14/2003 1:12:44 PM PST by sd-joe
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To: Poohbah
Moscow recently agreed to sell China the supersonic SS-N-26 Yakhont missile, which is even more awe-inspiring than the Sunburn and, once launched, cannot be intercepted.

This shows that the author of this screed doesn't know WTF he's talking about.

I wouldn't be so sure about that.

According to the following link, YAKHONT (SS-N-26) ASCM

It is not the high speed or jamming protection that makes Yakhont an advanced weapon system. It's major advantage, not too much advertised by NPO Mashinostroyeniya representatives, is the guidance system which has accumulated all the NPO experience in developing electronic systems of AI (Artificial Intelligence) enabling to fight against single warships (one missile - one ship) or even against a group of warships (a flock against a group). It is salvo launching that shows all unsurpassed tactical capabilities of the Russian weapon.

The missiles allocate and range targets by their importance and choose the attack implementation plan. The independent control system keeps in memory not only of the ECM (Electronic Countermeasures) and ECCM (Electronic Counter-Countermeasures) data, but also the methods of evading the fire of the enemy's air defense systems such as the US' Phalanx CIWS (Close-In Weapon System). Having destroyed the main target in a carrier group, the missiles left attack other ships of the carrier group, eliminating the possibility of using two missiles on one target.

More info can be found below.

YAKHONT - NEW-GENERATION ANTISHIP MISSILE

23 posted on 01/14/2003 1:15:29 PM PST by Alpha One
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To: soccer8
They forgot to put in the part about sending a diversionary force to the Aleutians to confound those dumb yankees....
24 posted on 01/14/2003 1:19:57 PM PST by KellyAdmirer
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To: soccer8

four subs,los angeles class,can bring hell to the chicoms, the japanese lost most of the ships in WWII to a few american subs.
25 posted on 01/14/2003 1:21:01 PM PST by green team 1999
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To: Jim Noble
This has been posted repeatedly as a threat. I don't believe it for a second.

Not a threat but good targeting. The chinese military and civilian leadership is based in Beijing. A first strike should cut off the head of the enemy.

26 posted on 01/14/2003 1:31:16 PM PST by Slewfoot
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To: soccer8
Already obsolete information. The US Navy is converting the older Ohio-class SSBNs to SSGNs, each capable of firing, while submerged, approximately 300 cruise missiles while simultameously launching multiple SEAL teams in their own mini-subs. These converted subs would be invulnerable to Chinese attack. All that would be left of the Chinese Navy would be smoking holes in the water.

More detals at www.jedonline.com.

27 posted on 01/14/2003 1:38:41 PM PST by pabianice
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To: sd-joe
Our pilots lived; the Chinese pilot died. The American plane is in American possession; the Chinese plane is in the ocean.
28 posted on 01/14/2003 1:50:25 PM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: soccer8; spetznaz
I was interested but I only got this far before my A.ttention to I.ncompetence Deficit D.isorder kicked in...

"China has assiduously added to its military arsenal--including Russian-design high-performance ships, submarines and aircraft weaponry"

No such thing.

29 posted on 01/14/2003 1:54:36 PM PST by VaBthang4 (Spetznazio Alert)
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To: Jim Noble
do you think that a US President would kill three million Chinese civilians over the loss of a military target at sea?

We had better start thinking that way, Do you you think China is not thinking that way?

30 posted on 01/14/2003 1:57:03 PM PST by Minutemen
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To: Jim Noble
"I don't believe it for a second."

Beijing wouldnt get nuked but tactical nukes would doubtlessly wipe out China's Military Centers of Gravity.

Any attempted invasion of Taiwan would quickly become Chinese suicide.

Sinking an American Carrier without Nuking the Continential United States would be suicide. Nuking the Continental United States would be suicide.

China is simply gonna have to sit back and take it. Taiwan is gone. They will never get it back through military force. Unless there is another Democratic President.

31 posted on 01/14/2003 2:00:43 PM PST by VaBthang4
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To: soccer8
> Chinese military purchases since 1996 have been devoted to achieving this goal. Two Sovremennyy-class destroyers--the Fuzhou and Hangzhou, referred to by the Chinese as "aircraft carrier killers"...

Which is crazier --
that we might see a flattop
sent to the bottom,

or that we might see
an air attack on New York
destroy two buildings?

32 posted on 01/14/2003 2:10:10 PM PST by theFIRMbss
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To: section9
Chris, I value your posts and your opinions greatly.

Our fleet has become very carrier-centric, for good reason-do you believe they are invulnerable?

33 posted on 01/14/2003 2:12:37 PM PST by Jim Noble
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To: Enemy Of The State
self ping!
34 posted on 01/14/2003 2:43:26 PM PST by Enemy Of The State
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To: VaBthang4
If there is a Democrat president, they won't have to fight to take it. All they will need is a few untracable political contributions and ... ba da bing!
35 posted on 01/14/2003 3:01:19 PM PST by Right Wing Puppy
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To: soccer8
If it comes to war with China, we'll beat 'em in a hearbeat. All the President has to do is announce that the United States is bombing every Walmart in five minutes...
36 posted on 01/14/2003 4:05:07 PM PST by nicollo
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To: Alpha One
The manufacturer's generous use a bunch of marketing buzzwords does not mean that the SS-N-26 can't be intercepted.
37 posted on 01/14/2003 4:07:39 PM PST by Poohbah (USMC, 1983-1991)
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Comment #38 Removed by Moderator

To: Poohbah
The manufacturer's generous use a bunch of marketing buzzwords does not mean that the SS-N-26 can't be intercepted.

Hopefully we'll never have to find out for sure.

39 posted on 01/14/2003 4:39:49 PM PST by Alpha One
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To: soccer8

Never Again Speech
Boycott Made in China
The Laogai Research Foundation

40 posted on 01/14/2003 9:13:23 PM PST by HighRoadToChina
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To: NormsRevenge; ninenot; flamefront; Sawdring; Enemy Of The State; Jeff Head; brat; dalereed; ...
bump
41 posted on 01/15/2003 2:21:49 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe (God Armeth The Patriot)
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Thank You for the ping. But China is our friend... /gag
42 posted on 01/15/2003 6:38:16 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Have You Hugged Your Life Savings Today? Donate or Become a Monthly Member Now)
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To: Jack of Diamonds
Are you talking about the Gatling guns on the destroyers? Apparently the GG was designed to literally create a 'curtain of lead' to make an incoming missile or rocket self-destruct. I think I recall 6K rounds/minute of depleted-uranium rounds...
43 posted on 01/15/2003 8:24:47 PM PST by ninenot
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Bush said "we will do whatever it takes to defend Taiwan".

I think if China sinks a carrier it would make him mad.

Jiang better be in his bunker.

That's when buzzwords and warranties go right out that little round window.

44 posted on 01/15/2003 8:34:31 PM PST by PhilDragoo
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To: section9
Here is another thing...

Consider the following: during the Yugoslav and Afghan campaigns... we had planes taking off from Missouri or Nebraska somewhere and bombing then turning around and coming home again.

We have range. I guess we're getting more miles to the gallon in our jets...

Seems to me, in my meager military knowlege that we could park our expensive runways 500 miles from the east coast of the Phillippines or Japan and still reach out and touch their forces.

Not to mention we have some fire and forget about it stuff of our own.

Its not like we are fighting in the days of pirates where you had to pull up along side someone so your cannon can shoot a hole in their boat.

The Moskit (3M80) is a ramjet-powered missile reaches Mach 3 at a high altitude and its maximum low-altitude speed is M2.2, triple the speed of the American Harpoon. The missile takes only 2 minutes to cover its full range

If you do the math, mach I is about 350 meters per sec. 350 meters X 2 min (120 sec)= 42,000 meters, or in other words, 42 km.

45 posted on 01/15/2003 9:25:17 PM PST by maui_hawaii
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To: KellyAdmirer
Which would have worked had we not broken JN-27.

How many American commanders fell for japanse traps?
Take a look at the Dutch Indies campaign in 1942. Look at the battle of the Philipean Sea where we Halsey fell right into a Japanse trap.

46 posted on 01/17/2003 5:21:28 PM PST by rmlew
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