(Washington, D.C.) 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.
The Navy has been moving quickly to increase its fleet of Poseidon’s on an accelerated timetable; in the Navy’s 2020 budget, the service was authorized for a near term increase in Poseidon production by three, moving funding for the year up for nine Poseidons, as cited in a report from USNI news. Last year, the Navy awarded Boeing a $2.4 billion deal to produce 19 more P-8A Poseidon surveillance and attack planes. The Poseidon increase appears to align with the service’s overall Pacific theater strategy, which makes a point to sustain peaceful, yet vital surveillance and Freedom of Navigation missions in the region.
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 accelerate and delivery more Virginia-class submarines per year, moving beyond previous plans. The Navy has also been moving to place its new Triton sea drones in Guam.
Interestingly, a Dec. 6 report in the Asia Times cites Pacific Air Forces commander Gen. Charles Brown stating that air patrols “in and around the South China Sea continue.