2024-02-07 21:39:11 UTC
The US Navy has a missile problem. A shortage of its best SM-6
missiles – multipurpose weapons that can sink ships, hit targets
on land and intercept aircraft and other missiles – could doom
its fleet. Missiles are being expended at a high rate in the
current Red Sea fighting against the Iranian-backed Houthis of
Yemen. What good are the Navy’s 85 destroyers and cruisers if
they can’t shoot ?
. . .
Apparently the entire inventory was about 600 of the missiles
and Raytheon only builds about 125 per YEAR.
They also cost 4 million dollars each.
On the plus, they're good for almost every above-water
kind of threat - other ships, planes, drones, cruise
missiles, allegedly even hypersonics.
But we don't HAVE many and it looks like the production
line is small and slow.
We're using them up in the Red Sea a lot faster than new
ones can be made.
So, if the "wider war" DOES happen, if China decides to
exploit things and go for Taiwan or NK moves on SK ...
what do we have to shoot at them ?
OK, there are other weapons. They're just not so
usefully all-purpose ... and you never know what
an enemy might shoot at you.
Let's assume the worst - that SM-6 inventories will
become quite low AND a "wider war" breaks out. What's
the Plan-B ???
Bill Clinton came kind of close to using up the entire
US inventory of cruise missiles when he intervened in
the Serbia/Kosovo/Bosnia civil war. Fortunately nothing
arose immediately afterwards that would have required
large numbers of the things ... but something COULD have.
By 9-11 we had rebuilt our stocks, but Bill left us
wearing short pants for a few years.
The USA used to be called "the arsenal of democracy".
Our wealth and manufacturing capacity meant we could
quickly meet our own needs AND those of a number of
allies. We maintained large stocks - just in case.
Looks like it's time to reclaim that old title before
it's too late.