USS Gabrielle Giffords, an elegant, fast, low-profile coastal battleship, left San Diego earlier this month, carrying a new US Navy rocket and a drone to help steer it.
A Naval Shock Missile is a naval crisis missile that is difficult to spot on radar and can maneuver to avoid enemy protection, according to Raytheon, the main US counterparty for weapons. It is paired with Gabriel Geoffords with an MQ-8B helicopter drone that is used for reconnaissance purposes.
Weapons will increase US Navy lethality, according to Cmdr. John Fudge, spokesman for the US Navy's 3rd Fleet, confirmed their deployment.
"The Pentagon is building a military force that can operate on a more sustainable footing and has a better chance of fighting and surviving within the deadly anti-war war of access, an area denial envelope," said a senior defense official. Rand Corp. analyst Timothy Heath looking at the mix of ships, planes and missiles accumulated by the Pacific People's Liberation Army
Both the United States and China are blamed for the rapid militarization of the South China Sea , one of the most contested areas in the world rusts claim parts of the commerce-heavy region, but Beijing's claim is by far not the most expansive and covers most of the sea.
"In the face of heavily armed ships and warplanes, how can defenses not be built? "Wei Fenghe, the Chinese defense minister, said during the Shang-la dialogue in June.
For the Navy Missile Missile
of ships in the LCS's growing fleet, which eventually numbers more than 30, plan to be armed with them, Navy officials told the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee earlier this year.
Coastal warships are offered in two variants, the three-class independence class from which Gi ffords is part of the single-hull Freedom Class, both variants with drafts of 15 feet or less designed for operations in coastal or shallower waters around coastlines and islands.
The Naval Impact Missile has had a relatively short time. Developed by Norwegian Defense and Aerospace in Norway for the Norwegian military, it was successfully tested on the USS Coronado offshore battleship in 2014. Defense giant Raytheon became a US missile contractor in 2018
The key to a Navy rocket launcher is its range of more than 100 miles, more than 30% further than the Harpoon missiles used by the United States Navy in this anti-ship capacity.
The ability to operate the helicopter drone allows the ship to aim beyond its own surface the radars can see.
The Fire Launch drone gives the warship "eyes above the horizon," said analyst Carl Schuster, a former U.S. Navy captain. "Targeting ability is as important as the missile system. You can only hit what you can find. "
And deploying it on smaller coastal warships takes the brunt of the larger destroyers and cruisers, which are designed more for open water. needs, Heath said.
Until the US Navy officially stated where Gabriel Gifords was. Goes on, there is speculation that it will be Singapore where Gifords' sister, USS Montgomery, is stationed this summer, albeit without naval rocket launchers.
"The mission of the USS Gabrielle Giffords will be to make maritime security rational donations, cooperate on theater security, provide crisis response capability and maintain naval presence where and when requested. However, we do not discuss specifics as a matter of operational security, "Fudge said.
US Navy commanders have repeatedly said this year that they plan to have two of the coastal warships operating outside Singapore this calendar year. And more may come as the fleet is built.
Send a message
"This is the first step to overcoming this imbalance with more to follow in the coming years, "Schuster said.
Weapons can send messages not only to China, but also to US partners in the Asia-Pacific region, including those in the Association of Nations of the Southeast Asia like Singapore or Vietnam, which is seeing increasing friction with Beijing over island claims and mineral rights in areas of the South China Sea.
"The net effect should enhance the confidence of US deterrent forces in the region," Heath said. "In addition, it makes the partnership with the US less risky as these investments demonstrate the US commitment to the region."
a more reliable partner than China in the region, especially in the South China Sea, where it conducts frequent operations as part of what it calls its commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
China, which claims that almost all of the South China Sea is its territory, says that the US military presence in it threatens peace and stability.
The addition of any new US military force will almost certainly overwhelm Beijing as much for the message it sends, as much as it shows.
"The ASEAN countries should benefit in particular from a stronger US military presence in Southeast Asia, as China is likely to probe in part by acting more cautiously in the South China Sea," Heath said.