The United States Navy is outgunned and outranged by China. The manned surface force and carrier air wing cannot get close enough to China to fight without taking significant risks against increasingly potent forts, while the less vulnerable submarine force can do only so much. Manned missile platforms tend to be expensive—and, therefore, few. What is more, these platforms need to first sail, fly, or stage deep inside dangerous territory to fire, then retreat thousands of miles to reload. Conventional deterrence against China steadily erodes and the risk of miscalculation grows, as the entire joint force struggles to maintain credible combat power within this increasingly contested environment. The Navy needs a better way to distribute weapons, to arm far more platforms, and to quickly reload in forward locations.
Hail Hydra! Return of the Sea-Launched Missile
Reviving a concept developed during the MX missile debate would improve the Navy’s long-range strike and antiship capabilities without expensive new platforms.
By Lieutenant Commander Collin R. Fox, U.S. Navy