History teaches that land-based aircraft such as these U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles, can control the littorals and help counter China's maritime strategy.
Military analysts believe that China plans to aggressively challenge U.S. maritime superiority in the Strait of Malacca. A January 2005 Department of Defense report called this plan China's "string of pearls" strategy. It features a three-pronged approach. First, China is building a series of naval bases along the sea lanes to the Middle East. second, it is strengthening diplomatic ties with countries in the region. Third, the Chinese are rapidly building a blue-water navy, developing advanced missile technology, deploying new submarines, and stockpiling undersea mines to counter U.S. Navy capabilities and protect their energy security. Eighty percent of China's oil imports pass through the Strait of Malacca.