The U.S. Navy, after nearly six years of warnings from Pentagon
testers, still lacks a plan for defending aircraft carriers against a supersonic
Russian-built missile, according to current and former officials and Defense
The missile, known in the West as the ``Sizzler,''
has been deployed by China and may be purchased by Iran...
Department's weapons-testing office judges the threat so serious that its
director, Charles McQueary, warned the Pentagon's chief weapons-buyer in a memo
that he would move to stall production of multibillion-dollar ship and missile
programs until the issue was addressed.
``This is a carrier-destroying
weapon,'' said Orville Hanson, who evaluated weapons systems for 38 years with
the Navy. ``That's its purpose.''
But the Navy remains unmoved:
``This was an issue when I walked in the door in 2001,'' Thomas
Christie, the Defense Department's top weapons-testing official from mid-2001 to
early 2005, said in an interview.
``The Navy recognized this was a major
issue, and over the years, I had continued promises they were going to fully
fund development and production'' of missiles that could replicate the Sizzler
to help develop a defense against it, Christie said. ``They haven't.''
The effect is that in a conflict, the U.S. ``would send a billion-dollar
platform loaded with equipment and crew into harm's way without some sort of
confidence that we could defeat what is apparently a threat very near on the
horizon,'' Christie said.