The USS Gabrielle Giffords transits the Pacific Ocean. File Photo: CNN
Hong Kong: A stealthy United States (US) Navy warship is carrying new weapons somewhere in the Pacific, which analysts observe could help to tilt the balance of power in the contested areas such as the South China Sea.
A CNN report said the speedy, sleek, low-profile littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords left San Diego earlier in September carrying the US Navy’s new Naval Strike Missile as well as a drone helicopter that helps aim it.
This Naval Strike Missile is a sea-skimming cruise missile which is difficult to spot on radar. It can also maneuver to avoid any enemy defenses, Raytheon — the main US contractor for the weapon, said.
According to the report, it is paired on the Gabrielle Giffords with an MQ-8B Fire Scout helicopter drone.
The weapons increase the lethality of the US Navy, according to Commander John Fage, spokesman for the US Navy’s 3rd Fleet.
Timothy Heath, a senior defense analyst at the Rand Corp., said the Pentagon is also building a military force which could operate on a sustainable basis, has a better chance of fighting, and surviving within China’s People’s Liberation Army’s deadly anti-access, according to CNN report.
He was referring to the ships, missiles and aircraft amassed by PLA to control parts of the Pacific.
The United States and China blame one another for the rapid militarization of the South China Sea, which is one of the most-contested areas in the world.
China has attempted to corroborate its position through the militarization of reclaimed sandbars and shoals across the South China Sea since 2015. (Agencies)