03 February 2013

Missile Defense’s Real Enemy: Math

Harry Kazianis, Missile Defense’s Real Enemy: Math,” The Diplomat, 2 February 2012.

… There is… one thing you can’t argue against, simple math.

Case in point, take a look at a recent book chapter by Dr. Toshi Yoshihara in Chinese Aerospace Power (a really good book, China defense geeks I am talking to you — it’s a classic — get your credit card out) from our friends over at the Chinese Maritime Studies Institute.

Dr. Yoshihara notes:

“ASBMs (anti-ship ballistic missiles) may not need to produce mission kills against the surface fleet to complicate U.S. plans. They only need to reach the fleet’s defensive envelope for the Aegis to engage the incoming threats, thus forcing the defender to expend valuable ammunition that cannot be easily resupplied at sea under combat conditions. Even inaccurate ASBMs, then, could compel the Aegis to exhaust its weapons inventory, leaving it defenseless against further PLA actions. Used in conjunction with conventional ballistic missile strikes against U.S. bases and other land targets across Asia — strikes that would elicit more intercept attempts — ASBM raids could deprive the United States and its allies of their staying power in a sea fight.”

Such a point raises a larger question. Will American commanders in the future face large missile forces aimed at their ships that can just simply overwhelm their defenses through sheer numbers? …