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Thread: How Navy Decoy Drones Could Thwart China's War Strategy in the Pacific

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    How Navy Decoy Drones Could Thwart China's War Strategy in the Pacific

    This is a low cost strategy that could help protect our capital ships from China's ship-killer ballistic missiles. Decoy drones can emit the electromagnetic (and other) signatures of specific ship types. If an admiral had reason to believe his carrier and its task force has been located by the Chinese, put out lots of decoy drones- the missiles will have to guess which is a real target.


    How Navy Decoy Drones Could Thwart China's War Strategy in the Pacific | Military.com

    Two seemingly disparate events regarding Iran and the Russia-Ukraine war may give us some ideas regarding the future of naval warfare, and could point the way for U.S. conduct in a conflict in the South China Sea.


    In Ukraine, it has been revealed that the Russians have wasted many of their valuable precision-guided weapons on dummy mock-ups. In the Persian Gulf, the Iranians have tried to hijack two U.S. Navy robotic drone reconnaissance ships. They failed, but the incident revealed that the Navy is planning to build many more drone vessels.


    Readers are probably wondering what these two seemingly unrelated situations have to do with naval combat in the South China Sea. The answer lies in China's anti-navy strategy.



    In Ukraine, the Russians -- and Ukrainians -- are employing a sensor-to-shooter set of tactics that counts on two primary components. The first is a system of overhead sensors consisting of satellites, manned reconnaissance aircraft and long-endurance unmanned aerial systems, or UAS. The second component is precision-guided munitions, or PGMs, which will eventually include hypersonic cruise missiles if it does not already.


    The Russians are finding out to their dismay that the PGM systems are expensive and take time to produce. Moscow is already running low on them because so many are being wasted on the mock-ups. The Ukrainians are not having the same problem because they are using their operational-level PGMs on hard-to-move command and control and logistics sites. Also, virtually every Ukrainian with a cell phone behind Russian lines can become a sensor cross-verifying intelligence provided by UAS.


    Meanwhile, our Navy's drones are unarmed and used primarily for reconnaissance. Powered by wind and solar, they can stay on station far longer than manned vessels. However, there is no reason why larger versions could not be covered with light mock-up material to make them appear to be the high-value combatants -- aircraft carriers, guided missile cruisers and amphibious transports -- that the Chinese would target with their anti-navy capability.


    The mock-ups could emit signals simulating that of the real combat ships. This is a relatively cheap and easy way to complicate the Chinese targeting problem. Like their smaller cousins, the decoy drones could also act as reconnaissance craft.
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