According to the report, China’s buildup of increasingly capable anti-access/area-denial “battle networks” will, over time, make the current “American way of war” prohibitively costly. This is shown clearly by
The AirSea Battle concept is not about fighting a war with
They envision a two-stage campaign. First: to survive what would likely be Chinese preemptive strikes on
The blinding campaign would be followed by strikes against fixed and mobile missile launchers using land and sea based manned and unmanned stealthy penetrators. Using stand-off and EW, the
In the second phase of the campaign the
Much of what the report recommends emphasizes stealth, long-range and prompt strike, redundancy and Air Force and Navy interoperability. There is a very extensive list of programmatic and force structure changes in the report, some of which included:
• To mitigate the ballistic missile threat to Guam and other WestPac bases the Air Force should harden its bases on Guam and refurbish bases on Tinian, Saipan and Palua to allow aircraft dispersal and force China to play a shell game with American aircraft; the Air Force-Navy should jointly assess tactical air-based ballistic missile defenses and laser weapons; and BMD exercises should be carried out with Japan.
• The Air Force and Navy should invest in a long range strike capability against time sensitive targets in a cost imposing strategy to force the Chinese armed forces to beef up their own defenses; and the Navy should consider investing in conventionally armed, relatively short range sea-based ballistic missiles, similar to Tomahawk, that could be spread across the fleet’s VLS tubes.
• The Air Force and Navy should develop and field long-range next generation stealthy air platforms, both manned and unmanned, and payloads for these platforms; the Navy version capable of operating off of carriers.
• The Air Force and Navy should jointly develop a long-range precision strike family of systems that include: ISR, EW and strike. The Air Force should develop a stealthy multi-mission, long-range persistent bomber as part of this strike family. The Navy should expedite developing and fielding a carrier-based drone.
• The Air Force and Navy should develop joint command and control mechanisms to enable Air Force aircraft to target enemy ships using Navy surveillance and targeting systems. • The Air Force and Navy should jointly develop a long-range anti-ship missile.
• The Air Force should equip some of its B-2 stealth bombers with an offensive mine laying capability to mine Chinese harbors.
• The Air Force and Navy should significantly increase investment in joint EW platforms both manned and unmanned.
• The Air Force and Navy should increase research and development in laser weapons for land and sea based point defense against missiles.
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