A computer simulation suggests the US would lose a naval showdown with China, stock illustation (Image: GETTY)
KYLE MIZOKAMI, a journalist who cofounded the defence blog Japan Security Watch, has run a simulation on a naval war breaking out between the US and Beijing in the South China Sea.
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The battle has been simulated on computer programme Command: Modern Naval/Air Operations, which including staff from the US Naval War college in its testing. Mr Mizokami’s simulation takes place in Scarborough Shoal, which is claimed by Beijing, Taiwan and The Philippines. The disputed shoal was the basis for Manila’s legal case against China in The Hague.
The court dismissed China’s claims in the waters but Beijing has rejected and ignored the decision.
The administration of Rodrigo Duterte has avoided enforcing the ruling, believed to be due to diplomatic and economic relations with China.
Mr Mikozami made clear he did not wish to make a statement about the ambitions of either player.
He writes in National Interest: “In our simulation, it’s 2016 and both nations have continued to press their claims. Two ships of the Philippine navy, the patrol craft BRP Emilio Jacinto and BRP Artemio Ricarde, have arrived.
A Chinese aircraft carrier in the South China Sea (Image: GETTY)
“The potential for a shooting war is very high.
“The US Navy is backing up its Philippine allies – two LCSs, USS Freedom and USS Fort Worth, are both about 30 miles south of the Emilio Jacinto and Artemio Ricarde. The USS Halsey, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, is behind them at an equal distance.”
He explains the Chinese prescience: “I’m playing the forces of both the U.S. and The Philippines, and fortunately I have an MQ-4C Triton in the area — the naval version of the Air Force’s Global Hawk drone. I send the Triton over the shoal to get an idea of what’s down there.
“The Triton identifies plenty of Chinese fishing boats, but also a wolf in the fold – a Chinese Jianghu-class destroyer named the Changde. Twenty miles to the west is the Qinzhou, a new Type 056 corvette.”
US President Donald Trump has launched a trade war with China (Image: GETTY)
Changde wipes out Emilio Jacinto.
Beijing forces use YJ-83 missiles, which travel 30ft above the ocean.
Haley attempts to intervene with SM-6 missiles but in the ensuing fire-fight Artemio Ricarde is hit: “The damage is catastrophic.”
Changde takes serious damage in the barrage and thus Mr Mikozami closes the gap on the Chinese ships with Fort Worth and Freedom.
Vietnamese Nationals protesting China’s actions in the South China Sea (Image: GETTY)
Late Hong Kong film mogul Sir Run Run Shaw at his villa overlooking the South China Sea (Image: GETTY)
Fort Worth’s missile launcher is destroyed early in the altercation.
It eventually loses all of its guns and defences.
It retreats but Qunzhou continues to pound it.
The conflicting claims in the South China Sea (Image: EXPRESS)
Two missiles are detected by Halsey, travelling at 520 knots, and the Fort Worth capsizes.
Freedom is able to take out Changde from a range of three miles but the superior range of Guizhou forces Freedom to catch fire and begin flooding.
Mr Mikozami admits: “The game crashes. Instead of frustration, I feel relief. The a**-kicking has ended.”
A Philippine protest against Chinese actions in the South China Sea (Image: GETTY)
He concludes: “There’s an inherent danger in reading too much out of commercial wargame simulations. As much as the game designers try to model modern air and naval warfare as accurately as possible, and that is exactly what Command’s designers did, the unknown unknowns, as Donald Rumsfeld would probably put it, could tip the scenario either way.
“Warfare is tragic and unpredictable. Any difference in training, maintenance or secret capabilities of both navies — things we wouldn’t know until the shooting starts — could have decisively impacted the scenario.
“Still, as the U.S. defence budget grows smaller and hard choices are being made, the dismal performance of the LCS’s anti-surface warfare module in our simulation is food for thought.”