The U.S. Navy faces a tough challenge in containing Chinese military forces in the Western Pacific, in part because it has under-funded anti-ship weapons since the Cold War ended. But it is about to get a potent new weapon called the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) based on an Air Force munition made by Lockheed Martin. LRASM is a stealthy cruise missile that is very difficult for enemy defenders to intercept. Thanks to a precision routing and tracking sensor built by BAE Systems, the weapon can home in on the most vulnerable part of a hostile warship — even when GPS signals and communications links are being jammed. And while the Navy is being cagey about the range of the new anti-ship system, it appears it can be launched from far beyond the range of most Chinese weapons, increasing the survivability of U.S. forces. LRASM will become operational next year on carrier-based fighters, and then a few years later on the Navy’s surface warships. It is already operational on the Air Force’s B-1 bomber, and may even be adopted by the Marines. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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