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U.S. Missiles Deployed Near China Send a Message

TacticalEvilDan

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U.S. Tomahawk Missiles Deployed Near China Send Message - TIME

If China's satellites and spies were working properly, there would have been a flood of unsettling intelligence flowing into the Beijing headquarters of the Chinese navy last week. A new class of U.S. superweapon had suddenly surfaced nearby. It was an Ohio-class submarine, which for decades carried only nuclear missiles targeted against the Soviet Union, and then Russia. But this one was different: for nearly three years, the U.S. Navy has been dispatching modified "boomers" to who knows where (they do travel underwater, after all). Four of the 18 ballistic-missile subs no longer carry nuclear-tipped Trident missiles. Instead, they hold up to 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles each, capable of hitting anything within 1,000 miles with non-nuclear warheads.

Their capability makes watching these particular submarines especially interesting. The 14 Trident-carrying subs are useful in the unlikely event of a nuclear Armageddon, and Russia remains their prime target. But the Tomahawk-outfitted quartet carries a weapon that the U.S. military has used repeatedly against targets in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq and Sudan.

That's why alarm bells would have sounded in Beijing on June 28 when the Tomahawk-laden 560-ft. U.S.S. Ohio popped up in the Philippines' Subic Bay. More alarms were likely sounded when the U.S.S. Michigan arrived in Pusan, South Korea, on the same day. And the Klaxons would have maxed out as the U.S.S. Florida surfaced, also on the same day, at the joint U.S.-British naval base on Diego Garcia, a flyspeck of an island in the Indian Ocean. In all, the Chinese military awoke to find as many as 462 new Tomahawks deployed by the U.S. in its neighborhood. "There's been a decision to bolster our forces in the Pacific," says Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "There is no doubt that China will stand up and take notice."
A friend of mine posted this elsewhere in a bit of a panic, but my take on this is that it's not something to be alarmed about.

Given the placement of the boomers, there's multiple possible targets within range of the missiles on board, and they popped up in the area around the same time as the war games taking place in that neck of the woods.

The Chinese obviously saw this, and opted to respond cautiously to the display.

As I said to my associate, it looks like a muscle flex and nothing more.
 

Deuce

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We owe China too much money for them to attack us. We also buy too much of their cheap crap for us to attack them. This is all just posturing.
 

TacticalEvilDan

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Well, I think you've got it reversed. I tend to think that we can't really go to war with China because any moves in that direction and they'd start calling chits in, and our lives are made happier when we buy their cheap crap.

Other than that, pretty much.
 

rathi

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This is truly trivial, even the low standards of typical posturing. We have permanent bases in nearby Sk and Japan, moving a few submarines around isn't going to have even the tiniest impact.
 

Goobieman

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These SSGNs (not SSBN 'boomers') have been around for some time, converted to their new configuration as a reason to keep around the Ohio-class SSBN hulls that had to be retired from their trategic role to meet varuos arms-control agreements.

They carry as many as 168 T-LAM/-T-ASM, amy of which could have a nuclear warhead. These are fearsome platforms, without doubt.

This is one of those things that GWB most certainly got right.
 
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