Retired US Admiral suggest railguns with Mach 5 shotgun pellets for anti aircraft and anti-missile steel cloud

China is about 30 years from catching up to US miltary spending and about 40-50 years from catching up with a comparable military capability. Even after catching up on budgets, China would lag in training and other factors that would take time to mature. China currently has developed some anti-ship missiles which pose a possible threat to US carriers and other navy ships.

Retired Adm. James A. Lyons was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations. Admiral Lyons is playing up China’s military as justification for further modernization and buildup of US military capability. This is in spite of the fact that it seems virtually certain that China, USA, Europe and Russia are not getting into any kind of shooting war.

In a Feb. 11 Wall Street Journal article by Bret Stephens, Gen. Victor Esin, former chief of staff of Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces, highlighted the “stealthy” rise of China to a position of nuclear parity with the United States and Russia. He stated that China may have 850 warheads ready to launch, and he estimated China’s inventory of nuclear weapons at between 1,600 and 1,800 warheads, as compared with the current U.S. estimate of China having 200 to 400. Many reports note the administration wants to reduce U.S. warheads to 1,000 or fewer.Gen. Esin went on to state that he has solid evidence that China conducted a multiple-warhead test in July 2012, and a month later, launched a new, long-range multiple-warhead-capable missile from a submarine.

Lyons suggests

1. putting anti-ship ballistic missiles on U.S. ships, submarines and aircraft. Such a capability could be accomplished in the near term as a relatively inexpensive option, while posing a risk to China’s ever-expanding surface navy.

2. create an Asian regional long-range sensor network that would provide our allies real-time warning of broad Chinese military activity. Beyond the recent decision to install a second Forward Based X-Band Transportable (FBX-T) radar in southern Japan, he suggset placing a similar radar in the Philippines. We currently have an FBX-T radar in Shariki, Japan, with a 600-to-1,200-mile range. Installing an updated 3,700-mile-range SBX radar in the Philippines would permit continuous missile and aircraft coverage of all nations in the western Pacific littoral, including China.

3. Continue to pursue the development of energy weapons. A railgun with “shotgun” pellets flying at Mach 5 has the potential to produce a “steel cloud,” which would shred most missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft flying through it. In tests, the railgun has fired artillery-size projectiles up to speeds of Mach 5 with a potential range of 62 miles. Such a system would be quite adaptable to a destroyer-sized ship.

I am sure that these three suggestions will probably only add a few cumulative trillions to US budgets over the next few decades.

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