According to the South China Morning Post, the U.S. Navy launched live–fire missiles in the Philippine Sea last week, in what is seen as a direct message to China. The guided-missile destroyer USS Barry and the guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh launched medium-range Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) air defense weapons. The exercise took place in waters east of the Philippines. The U.S Navy Seventh Fleet wants to warn Beijing that it can intercept missiles from China to China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) completed midlife modernization with the latest Aegis Baseline 9 combat system two years ago, improving its ability to defend bases such as Guam and US warships from the two kinds of Chinese missiles. Barry is capable of defensive and offensive operations against aircraft, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, surface ships, submarines and shore targets. USS Shiloh (CG-67) is a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser of the United States Navy, with her guided missiles and rapid-fire cannons, she is capable of facing and defeating threats in the air, on or under the sea, and ashore.
The US Navy is worried about China’s People’s Liberation Army missiles, which China could use as a trump card in a military conflict between the two parties in the region. The Seventh Fleet wants to warn Beijing that it can intercept missiles from China. The PLA has developed two kinds of missiles that could pose big threats to the US military the “carrier killer” DF-21D and the anti-ship DF-26, which has a 4,000km (2,500-mile) range and puts the US naval base in Guam within reach.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the US continues to run Naval exercises in the South China Sea. The US Seventh Fleet conducted Expeditionary Strike Force (ESF) operations in the South China Sea from March 15th-18th. The ESF was carried out by the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group, a large fleet of aircraft carriers, destroyers, and amphibious ships. Since 2015, the US has been running what they call Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPs) near contested archipelagos in the South China Sea. China called the latest FONOP a “hegemonic act that violates international law, and … threatens the peace and stability of the South China Sea.”