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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/27/21

Next Indo-Pacific U.S. Military CommanderWarns of China's Threat to Taiwan: Killer Reaper Drones Coming to the Pacific

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ADM Aquilino 2018.
ADM Aquilino 2018.
(Image by Wikipedia (commons.wikimedia.org), Author: U.S. Navy)
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During his confirmation hearing to head the command that covers 51 percent of the globe, U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Admiral John Aquilino told the Senate Armed Services Committee that "the most dangerous concern is that of a military force against Taiwan." Aquilino told the committee that the "annexation of Taiwan is the number one priority of China" and asked the Senate committee to fund the $27.3 billion Pacific Deterrence Initiative.

The Hawaii-based Reapers, which will be operated by hundreds of Marine Corps personnel with new job specialty designations, could be armed with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, officials said. The Air Force has used laser guided bombs.

This is a dramatic upswing in the Marines major reorganization designed in large part to counter China in the Western Pacific with fast-moving missile forces aided by unmanned ships, vehicles and the 18 Reaper aircraft.

In another aspect of the new Marine stategy, on March 15, the entire Marine Corps fleet of CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopters in Hawaii began leaving the islands to be replaced by a squadron of KC-130 cargo and refueling aircraft.

Eliminating from the Marine Corps inventory of all tanks is another move to use of longer-range missiles over conventional, tubed artillery shelling.

To layout its Pacific strategy, on March 16, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps released a 40-page "Unmanned Campaign Framework, that details the range of unmanned vehicles they have developed including the No Manning Required Ship (NOMARS) and Unmanned Logistics Systems with a variety of unmanned air, surface, undersea, and ground systems developed to demonstrate long range, big payload, ship-to-ship, ship-to-shore, and land-based cargo transport options.

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Ann Wright is a 29-year US Army/Army Reserves veteran, a retired United States Army colonel and retired U.S. State Department official, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War. She received the State Department Award for Heroism in 1997, after helping to evacuate several thousand (more...)
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