(NATIONAL INTEREST) – The increasing global reach of Chinese nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines, armed with JL-2 weapons reportedly able to hit parts of the US, continues to inspire an ongoing Navy effort to accelerate production of attack submarines, prepare long-dwell drones for deployment to the Pacific and continue acquisition of torpedo-armed sub-hunting planes such as the P-8/A Poseidon.
Seeking to overcome the Pacific's "tyranny of distance" dispersed geography, and track China's expanding fleet of submarines, the Navy is working with Congress to produce as many as three Virginia-class submarines per year, moving beyond the current plan to build two. In the air, the Navy has been moving to place its new Triton sea drones in Guam and, earlier this year, awarded Boeing a $2.4 billion deal to produce 19 more P-8A Poseidon surveillance and attack planes.
Given the Poseidon's role as a high-tech surveillance aircraft, known for capturing video of Chinese phony island building in the South China Sea (land reclamation) several years ago, it takes little imagination to envision ways its advanced sensors, sonobuoys and weapons could function as part of a containment strategy against Chinese expansion - - and even operate as a deterrent against China's growing fleet of nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines (SSBN).
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