Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Aircraft Carrier Vs. Cruise Missile #24

Again we hear from Martin Sieff:

The U.S. arsenal has no weapons to compare with the
Russian-built Moskit 3M80 -- NATO designation SS-N-22 Sunburn -- ramjet-powered
cruise missile or the new, even more advanced SS-N-27 Sizzler. These weapons fly
two and a half times faster than U.S. ones. American cruise missiles are
subsonic, but Russian-made ones can fly at well over Mach 2, or more than twice
the speed of sound -- with speeds estimated at 1,500 mph to 1,700 mph at close
to ground level.Russia has sold the technology to build the Moskit to China,
which manufactures it as the Hai Ying or Sea Eagle HY2. It can carry an almost
500-pound warhead, and it can deliver a tactical nuclear weapon. The threat of
the Hai Ying is so great that it has effectively barred operational access to
the Taiwan Strait to U.S. aircraft carriers in time of high tension. China has
also supplied the Hai Ying to Iran.

It is striking that four-star Adm. William Fox Fallon, who has
just resigned as head of U.S. Central Command, has expressed his caution and
reluctance about going to war with Iran. Fallon is the U.S. Navy's leading
expert, and therefore probably the top authority in the world, about using
aircraft carrier-based air power to strike land-based targets. His previous
position was running Pacific Command with great distinction, and that theater
includes China and Taiwan.Fallon's caution is clearly based in part on the fact
that U.S. carrier battle groups would have to be operated with great discretion
and skill to protect them from the threat of Iran's Sunburns.