In addition, the threat includes sea-skimming guided missiles deployable from submarines, fast boats, trucks, and caves—as well as from aircraft. Land-based forces share the problem of defending against low-altitude attack, but the consequences of being hit are considerably less in that they can’t sink. Not to worry—we have invested heavily in high-technology area air- defense ships to protect naval forces.
Commentary: Time Is Running Out for Ship Low-Altitude Air Defense
By Chuck Myers and H. Wyman Howard, Jr.
During the past 50 years, surveillance and communications technology greatly has reduced the prospect for naval surface forces to traverse the sea undetected. Aircraft fly farther and faster and are armed with weapons that exceed the range of World War II stand-off missiles. Pilots, as always, are eager to attack ships because they are slow, vulnerable to all ordnance, explode volcanically, and are important targets.