However, if China attempted to invade Taiwan, the U.S. military’s main goal would be to destroy as many Chinese invasion ships far from shore, and that would require a lot of long-range weapons, such as Harpoons and Naval Strike Missiles, said Stacie Pettyjohn, director of the defense program at the Center for a New American Studies think tank in Washington, D.C.
“Because the Chinese Navy has a growing fleet of cruisers and destroyers with advanced air defenses that would defend the amphibious forces, the number of weapons likely required is quite large,” Pettyjohn told Task & Purpose. “Air defenses, clutter (commercial shipping or ships that are not the main target), plus just usual failures and misses mean that the U.S. needs a lot of anti-ship weapons to penetrate the air defenses and hit the main target.”
The Air Force is currently planning to buy 190 Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles by 2027 and the Navy also plans to purchase 450 of the missiles, which it would likely have to share with the Navy, Pettyjohn said. But CNAS has found that those numbers of weapons would be “grossly inadequate” in a war against China, she said.
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