The recent loss of two US Navy (USN) guided-missile destroyers in the Western Pacific equipped with advanced Aegis combat systems meant to provide greater ballistic missile defence (BMD) has raised concerns about US BMD protection in the region, according to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
Under the US military’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget submission, the number of BMD-capable Aegis ships is scheduled to be 36 at the end of FY 2018 and 51 at the end of FY 2022.
“Two Japan-homeported navy BMD-capable Aegis destroyers included in the figures – the [USS] Fitzgerald [DDG-62] and the [USS] John S McCain [DDG-56] – were seriously damaged in collisions with merchant ships in waters off the coasts of Japan and Singapore in June 2017 and August 2017, respectively, and will likely be nonoperational for a period of at least several months, and perhaps a year or more, until repairs on the ships are completed,” the CRS noted in the 8 December report on the Aegis programme.
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