Pentagon debate pits ground-ased hypersonic missiles and aircraft carriers in future U.S. defense budgets

Oct. 15, 2019
In a conflict with China, the goal is keeping the clash localized, and deescalating, rather than engaging in, an apocalyptic missile fight in the Pacific.

WASHINGTON – A debate on the future of aircraft carriers is roiling the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), and it is increasingly spilling out into the open, Defense News reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

15 Oct. 2019 -- While the debate over the efficacy of carriers in high-end conflict is nothing new, a general understanding that the DOD will not have unlimited money in the defense budget to deter an increasingly potent China and Russia has made the questions particularly urgent.

At issue is a choice about continuing to invest in aircraft carriers and the associated air wing — the mainstay of U.S. global power projection since World War II — or to gradually reduce investment in those systems and increase investment in new capabilities such as long-range conventional hypersonic missiles.

It’s a question that Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin put bluntly. “Let’s just propose a thought experiment,” Griffin said. “Which do you think the Chinese leadership would fear more: 2,000 conventional strike missiles possessed by the United States and its allies in the western Pacific capable of ranging Chinese targets, or one new carrier? Because those two things cost about the same amount of money. Those are the kinds of questions we need to be asking ourselves.”

Related: Major threats: why U.S. 2020 defense budget massively pushes hypersonic weapons

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Related: Russian navy set to test Zircon hypersonic anti-ship missile next year to attack targets at Mach-8 speeds

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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