Foreign Policy Blogs

Elements Determining Modern Defense Strategy

Possible Land Based Missile Threats

In a documentary developed in 2018 called Rise of the Superbombs, the details of future defense threats are analyzed. One that might affect current policy and strategic defense initiatives is the possible use of hypersonic weapons in repelling or eliminating one of the most dominant weapons systems available to superpower countries, the Aircraft Carrier.

Aircraft Carriers make up much of the power base for countries that want to expand their military strength abroad. They are often based around one large Carrier, surrounded by defensive ships and other offensive destroyers. The weapons systems on the escorting vessels mostly consist of various types of missiles, cannons and anti-aircraft systems to protect the Carrier and other ships in the fleet. The surrounding group focuses on missile threats as well as undersea threats and may also consist of submarines to further challenge any below sea adversaries.

Beyond extremely fast torpedoes that some believe have been developed by Russia and may be present in the Persian Gulf, the main threat to the US Navy may be from shore based missile systems. While there are land based anti-ship missile systems likely in operation in many regions where a Carrier fleet could be targeted, the smaller systems may be able to be defeated by defense measures of the fleet.

According to the above mentioned documentary, the largest missile threat may come from the Chinese model DF-21D, a hypersonic land based ballistic missile that can apparently defeat most defense systems and could sink a fleet’s Carrier with a well placed strike. It is most likely the case that the ā€œDā€ variant of the DF-21 missile system was specifically designed to sink a US type Carrier and act as a strong naval deterrent for the Chinese Navy.

Defensive systems that have permeated the battlefields in many current conflict zones are now often designed to not only defeat aircraft, but also target cruise missiles and drones. Systems like the modernized BUK-M1 variants such as the BUK-M2 and BUK-M3, modern TOR-M1 variants like the TOR-M2, and S-300 and possible S-400 systems are all designed to shoot down Tomahawk and other types of cruise missiles. It may be the case that current naval actions are reflective of the need to target and eliminate any threats before more modern hypersonic systems come into play and pose a real threat to a Carrier group. The development or distribution of such weapons may be accelerating any strategies to move forward in a more assertive manner in conflict situations.

 

Author

Richard Basas
Richard Basas

Richard Basas, a Canadian Masters Level Law student educated in Spain, England, and Canada (U of London MA 2003 LL.M., 2007), has worked researching for CSIS and as a Reporter for the Latin America Advisor. He went on to study his MA in Latin American Political Economy in London with the University of London and LSE. Subsequently, Rich followed his career into Law focusing mostly on International Commerce and EU-Americas issues. He has worked for many commercial and legal organisations as well as within the Refugee Protection Community in Toronto, Canada, representing detained non-status indivduals residing in Canada. Rich will go on to study his PhD in International Law.

Areas of Focus:
Law; Economics and Commerce; Americas; Europe; Refugees; Immigration

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