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Why US Navy Lags Behind Russian, Chinese Fleets

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Russian and Chinese warships are outfitted with seaborne anti-ship missiles far superior to those equipped on US military watercraft, defense expert Dave Majumdar wrote for the National Interest.

"Russian, Chinese and Indian warships are fielding long-range supersonic anti-ship missiles like the Brahmos and 3M-54T (SS-N-27A Sizzler) that are difficult to intercept and pose an increasing danger to the US fleet," he explained.

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The 3M-54T, also known as Klub (Club) N, have a reported operational range of 440 – 660 km (270 – 410 miles) and a maximum speed of 2.9 Mach.

The Club missile system, designed by the Novator design bureau, is meant "to destroy submarine and surface vessels and also engage static/slow-moving targets, whose coordinates are known in advance, even if these targets are protected by active defenses and electronic countermeasures," Global Security observed.

US warships are outfitted with the Harpoon, an anti-ship missile with a range of approximately 70 miles. It will take approximately a decade for the US to design a new long-range anti-ship missile, Majumdar added. But there is a temporary solution.

© Flickr / U.S. Department of DefenseThe guided missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) launches a Tomahawk cruise missile
The guided missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) launches a Tomahawk cruise missile - Sputnik International
The guided missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) launches a Tomahawk cruise missile

Bryan McGrath, the managing director at the FerryBridge Group LLC, suggested modifying the Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles to add an "anti-surface mode." The process could take five to six years, he told the US House Armed Services Committee.

"However, there are concerns that while the Tomahawk would be effective against many threats, there are enemy vessels out there that are equipped with formidable air defenses where the missile would fall short," Majumdar noted.

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