In our just-released Experts Panel study, Stopping a Taiwan Invasion, we point out the urgent need to improve air defenses around Taiwan and Japan.
Now, with the US Navy proposal to retire seven Ticonderoga-class cruisers, allegedly because they are expensive to maintain, it appears there will be nothing to replace these and other Ticonderoga-class cruisers slated for retirement, 21 ships in all.
Ticonderoga-class cruisers are guided-missile destroyers equipped with the powerful AEGIS missile and air defense system. My modest proposal is to redeploy these ships, not scrap them.
The AEGIS air defense system is probably the best general-purpose missile and air defense system in the US inventory. It is exactly this system, known as AEGIS Ashore, that is now operating in Poland and Romania from land bases.
Japan has AEGIS on four of its Kongo-class (Kongō-gata Goeikan) ships, which were built between 1991 and 1996. AEGIS was installed on them in the mid-2000s.
All of them today are equipped with MK-41 launchers, SPY radars and feature AEGIS BMD (Ballistic Missile Defense) version 3.6. The system uses a powerful phased array radar, AN/SPY-1D, the same as the US Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyers.
The Ticonderoga-class AEGIS cruisers, slated for US Navy retirement, would be a boon in strengthening Japan’s air and missile defenses. The same ships could also be deployed around Taiwan, providing a greatly enhanced ballistic missile and air defense capability.
Read the full article at Asia Times.
Stephen Bryen is a Senior Fellow at Yorktown Institute.