Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Coming Armageddon at Sea

I’m still amazed that I lived to see the first and so far only major naval war since WW 2, the Falkland Islands War of March-June 1982. I can remember wearing out my copy of Weyers Warships of the World as I followed every news report in print and on television. I think that I may again see another sea war in my lifetime, maybe before this decade is out. If America and Britain continue to gut their surface fleets in favor of a few super-expensive and vulnerable aircraft carriers, they may very likely see a threat from not-so- high-tech, but sizable naval fleets such as China.

I believe we are currently in the age of the cruise missile firing warship, even though the super-carriers still get most of the headlines. America has superiority in this type of vessels, with 80+ cruisers and destroyers, plus around 50 missile firing submarines. It appears the aircraft carrier has become highly vulnerable to a swarm attack of such weapons. If the US Navy were to attempt to sail into the Taiwan Straits with their big ships, as really happened in 1996, we may see a disaster at sea unparallel since Pearl Harbor, if the Chinese choose to fight. There are rumors that the Chinese also possess a super-weapon called Shkval, an underwater torpedo which can reach speeds of 200 knots or more.

The Future War at Sea may not involve the US, but the fleets of the Tiger Economies in the Western Pacific, especially those of Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Maylaysia, and Singapore. They may be joined by poorer, but sizable fleets from The Phillipines, Veitnam and Indonesia. The conflict will likely be over the Spratly Islands, with their vital oil reserves, territories which many in the region claim as their own.