Besides torpedoes, the US is developing a bomb attack plan to diversify the options and optimize costs for sinking enemy ships in clashes at sea.
This move by the United States comes as its biggest rival, China, is rapidly developing fleets and constantly expanding its operations in the Indo-Pacific.
According to Forbes, over the years, both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard have struggled to deal with Chinese armed light ships and civilian vessels.
These ships are often difficult to control, intercept or sink, as China often arranges them together in numbers in the hundreds, forming so-called gray zone fleets.
In the most favorable cases, when reinforced, the gray zone fleets are difficult to deal with.
Beijing is very experienced and effective in using small vessels against stronger adversaries. In 1966, the Communist regime used 11 steel-hulled fishing boats to chase two American ships USS Pueblo (AGER-2), and USS Banner (AGER-1), out of the East China Sea.
Forbes commented, “For China, swarming is a long-standing, deeply rooted military tactic.”
Despite its weakness, China’s growth in low-tech fleets has been substantial. China Coast Guard’s fleet is expanding in number and size. Currently, this force has more than 130 ships over 1,000 tons.
China’s Coast Guard fleets also now have better basic weapons. Their Rapid-fire guns and anti-aircraft missiles are expected to make it very difficult for the US military.
Forbes added that US forces in the Pacific only have ships armed with small cannons and a handful of anti-ship missiles, so there’s really no way to stop even civilian ships.
However, that could all change when the US has successfully tested the QUICKSINK bomb that with a single hit would sink the enemy ship.
During tests in the Gulf of Mexico, the “QUICKSINK” bomb hit the target ship, causing the ship to be blown out of the water and the hull broken in half, and after only about 30 seconds, the whole ship sank into the sea.
The scene that occurred showed the ship being sunk not like being hit by an air bomb, but more like being hit by a heavy torpedo.
The US Air Force has been talking about wanting the new bomb “torpedo style” since it first announced the QUICKSINK program last year.
According to Forbes, the US military is ready to use this bomb “to target China’s vast armada of civilian aggressive and lightly-armed military craft.” The magazine also describes that “QUICKSINK is a mortal threat to China’s Gray Zone fleet.”
Col. Tony Meeks, director of The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Munitions Directorate, said “QUICKSINK is an answer to an urgent need to neutralize maritime threats to freedom around the world.”
Major Andrew Swanson, head of the 85th TES Advanced Programs Division, said, “Heavyweight torpedoes are effective’ [at sinking large ships] but are expensive and employ a small portion of naval assets.”
According to Nixolympia, “Quicksink risks relatively cheap aircraft compared to the danger of losing a submarine to enemy reprisals after a torpedo attack.”
Forbes writes “With QUICKSINK available for service, China’s cadre of aggressive expansionists needs to worry. The deep-sea logistical enablers of China’s illegal fishing fleets, smuggling cadres, and sea-grabbing militias, are widely known and easily found. And those big support ships may, one day, just disappear without a trace.”