Admiral Philip Davidson told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the US military urgently needs hypersonic and other advanced weaponry to defeat China’s People’s Liberation Army in a future conflict.
China also is weaponizing space with missiles, jammers, and lasers capable of killing satellites, key American military power projection tools.
The four-star admiral said if confirmed to lead the Pacific Command, he will carry out a buildup of Navy, Army, and Air Force forces in the region to confront the growing threat posed by China, in addition to continuing dangers from North Korea.
China has conducted seven tests of a hypersonic glide vehicle fired atop a ballistic missile that travels and maneuvers at speeds of 7,000 miles per hour or greater. The high speeds and maneuverability make the missiles very difficult to target and counter with missile defenses.
Russia also is developing hypersonic missiles.
Nextbigfuture notes that any US arms race in hypersonic weapons, railguns and lasers is not assured of creating a technological advantage over China. China currently has the financial and technological resources to match US advances in this area.
China has the dredging and construction capability to expand from about seven fortified islands to about 200 fortified islands.
Geographically the South China Sea can be targeted by Chinese missiles and railguns on the mainland and across the fortified islands.
It is relatively low-cost for China to build up the islands and to put relatively inexpensive missiles around them.
The US would have to come up with some other means to change the equation. Fighting right beside China provides too many geographic and other advantages that are beneficial to China.