A US Navy carrier strike group locked in a Red Sea battle has fired over 500 munitions fighting the Houthis

“These targets include static Houthi facilities and sites located across Yemen, missiles and drones the rebels were preparing to launch at ships at sea, and weapons that they already fired into shipping lanes. The strike group has leaned on its aircraft and warships to engage targets and defend against varying threats.”
https://www.yahoo.com/news/us-navy-carrier-strike-group-194234119.html

Keeping Up with the Pacing Threat: Unveiling the True Size of Beijing’s Military Spending


Beijing’s publicly released military budget is inaccurate and does not adequately capture the colossal scope and scale of China’s ongoing military buildup and wide-ranging armed forces modernization.
After accounting for economic adjustments and estimating reasonable but uncounted expenditures, the buying power of China’s 2022 military budget balloons to an estimated $711 billion—triple Beijing’s claimed topline and nearly equal with the United States’ military budget that same year.
Equal defense spending between the United States and China plays to Beijing’s benefit. As a global power, the United States must balance competing priorities in the Indo-Pacific and elsewhere, which spreads Washington’s budget thinly across multiple theaters. Meanwhile, each yuan China invests in its military directly builds its regional combat power in Asia.
America’s spy community has confirmed that Beijing’s defense spending is on par with Washington’s, but questions remain. The intelligence community’s estimate of China’s $700 billion in annual military expenditures needs more transparency to better convey Beijing’s military budget breakdown and inform policy debates regarding US defense spending investments, gaps, and imbalances.”

https://www.aei.org/research-products/report/keeping-up-with-the-pacing-threat-unveiling-the-true-size-of-beijings-military-spending/

The US Navy has a missile problem in the Red Sea

“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?
A little industrial ingenuity could end the crisis, however. Defense firm Lockheed Martin is proposing to arm Navy ships with a missile that normally launches from land: the US Army’s Patriot.

The Patriot is a deadly accurate munition, as Ukrainian and Russians forces have learned. The hard way, in the Russians’ case. But its main advantage over the Navy’s best SM-6 missile is that Lockheed makes a lot of them.

On paper, the US fleet is a giant floating missile magazine. Each of 72 destroyers sails with as many as 96 vertical missile cells. A cruiser – the Navy has 13 of them – has 122 cells. Each cell can fire various weapons such as an SM-2 surface-to-air missile or a Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile. But the best weapon that fits in the so-called “vertical launch system” is the SM-6.

The 22-foot, 3,300-pound SM-6 is the Navy’s only omni-role missile. Thanks to its sensitive built-in radar, it works equally well against targets on the sea, on land and in the air out to a range of 150 miles or farther. It’s even able to offer a defense against incoming hypersonic weapons.

But the SM-6 is complex. For a decade now, the Navy has been paying Raytheon to build 125 of the missiles per year at a cost of slightly more than $4 million per missile; the fleet has around 600 in stock. The production rate should increase slightly in the coming years.

Even taking into account the fleet’s large arsenal of less-capable SM-2s, there’s a real danger it could get overwhelmed by enemy missiles, drones and warplanes during, say, a war with China over Taiwan.”

https://www.yahoo.com/news/us-navy-missile-problem-red-134529869.html

The US Navy is in the thick of the Red Sea fight. But there’s one warship class that’s missing

“The US Navy has surged warships into the Middle East in response to the growing threat that Yemen’s Houthi rebels pose to commercial shipping passing through regional waters.
But there’s one ship type the American fleet isn’t surging into the region. The troubled Littoral Combat Ship. Farcically, the LCS is one of the more numerous ship types in the fleet. But it’s totally unsuitable for hard fighting. And the fighting around Yemen has been very hard.

That the US Navy has left behind its 26 LCSs is the latest humiliation for military leaders who advocated for the ship during its long development – and the latest reminder that the American fleet is, in practice, much smaller than it appears to be on paper.

If the LCSs can’t fight the Houthis, who can they fight? That likely answer is: no one.”

“The idea was to equip the US fleet with 50 or more vessels that could sail fast in shallow, near-shore littorals. To keep them small, their weaponry would be light.

The Pentagon’s $37-billion commitment to the LCS was a profound misreading of the future security environment. With no long-range air-defenses, the 3,000-ton LCSs can’t protect themselves from the Houthis’ Iranian-made missiles and drones – to say nothing of protecting commercial ships that might be spread out across thousands of square miles.

And with no long-range land-attack weapons, the LCSs can’t strike back at the Houthis, either. If the LCSs are unsuitable for defense and offense against a regional militant group, how would they fare against a much bigger and more sophisticated foe like China?”

https://www.yahoo.com/news/us-navy-thick-red-sea-164758213.html

India begins to flex its naval power as competition with China grows

“India is widely publicizing the deployments, signaling its desire to assume a wider responsibility in maritime security to the world and its growing maritime ambitions to regional rival China.
“It is a message to China that, look, we can deploy such a large force here. This is our backyard. Though we don’t own it, but we are probably the most capable and responsible resident naval power,” Chawla said.

The Indian navy has helped at least four ships, three of which were attacked by Houthi rebels and another that Washington blamed on Iran, a charge denied by Tehran. It has also conducted several anti-piracy missions.”

“India has not joined the U.S.-led force battling the Houthis.

On Jan. 26, the Indian guided missile destroyer INS Visakhapatnam assisted the crew of a Marshall Islands-flagged tanker in fighting a fire after it was hit by a missile in the Gulf of Aden. About 10 days earlier, the Visakhapatnam responded to a distress call by the U.S.-owned Genco Picardy merchant vessel following a drone attack in the same waters.

“Maritime security has not been a strong pillar of India’s foreign policy engagements in a way we are beginning to see now,” said Darshana M. Baruah, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “China is a factor in this.”

The rivals are already locked in a military standoff along their disputed border high in the mountains.

China has built up its presence over the years in the Indian Ocean, a key route for its energy supplies. It has the world’s largest navy by number of ships, more than three times the size of the Indian navy. China also operates a powerful fleet of large coast guard ships and what is referred to as its maritime militia consisting of fishing vessels that cooperate with the coast guard in asserting territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Beijing has deepened its engagement in the Indian Ocean mainly through infrastructure deals with India’s neighbors, including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and most recently the Maldives.”

https://www.yahoo.com/news/india-begins-flex-naval-power-032626361.html

US warship had close call with Houthi missile in Red Sea

“A cruise missile launched by the Houthis into the Red Sea on Tuesday night came within a mile of a US destroyer before it was shot down, four US officials told CNN, the closest a Houthi attack has come to a US warship.
In the past, these missiles have been intercepted by US destroyers in the area at a range of eight miles or more, the officials said. But the USS Gravely had to use its Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) for the first time since the US began intercepting the Houthi missiles late last year, which ultimately succeeded in downing the missile, officials said.

The CIWS, an automated machine gun designed for close-range intercepts, is one of the final defensive lines the ship has to shoot down an incoming missile when other layers of defense have failed to intercept it.

The episode underscores the threat the Houthis continue to pose to US naval assets and commercial shipping in the Red Sea, despite multiple US and British strikes on Houthi infrastructure inside Yemen. The close call also comes just days after three US service members were killed in a drone attack by Iran-backed militants at a US outpost in Jordan.”

https://www.yahoo.com/news/us-warship-had-close-call-194235834.html

China Has New Full-Scale Target Of America’s Ford Supercarrier

“China has constructed a new aircraft carrier target on a sprawling range in the northwestern end of the country that is a dead-ringer for the U.S. Navy’s newest supercarrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford. The target underscores the People’s Liberation Army’s continued focus on expanding and refining its ability to engage American carriers and other warships over long distances, which includes a growing arsenal of anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles. This is all part of China’s evolving anti-access and area denial strategy across much of the Western Pacific.”

https://www.yahoo.com/news/china-full-scale-target-americas-004037381.html