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SINGAPORE (AP) — A super-stealthy warship that could underpin the U.S. navy's China strategy will be able to sneak up on coastlines virtually undetected and pound targets with electromagnetic "railguns" right out of a sci-fi movie.
But at more than $3 billion a pop, critics say the new DDG-1000 destroyer sucks away funds that could be better used to bolster a thinly stretched conventional fleet. One outspoken admiral in China has scoffed that all it would take to sink the high-tech American ship is an armada of explosive-laden fishing boats.
With the first of the new ships set to be delivered in 2014, the stealth destroyer is being heavily promoted by the Pentagon as the most advanced destroyer in history — a silver bullet of stealth. It has been called a perfect fit for what Washington now considers the most strategically important region in the world — Asia and the Pacific.
On a visit to a major regional security conference in Singapore that ended Sunday, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the Navy will be deploying 60 percent of its fleet worldwide to the Pacific by 2020, and though he didn't cite the stealth destroyers he said new high-tech ships will be a big part of its shift.
China’s Rear Adm. Zhang Zhaozhong, affiliated with China’s National Defense University, said on TV, it can be taken down by a swarm of fishing boats laden with explosives. He said if enough boats were there, “It would be a goner.”
Recently, China has been frantically building up its aircraft carrier capability and developing submarines and missiles capable of denying American ships access to crucial sea lanes in the Pacific and South China seas. According to the U.S. Defense Department, China is rapidly modernizing its navy and increasing its firepower for stopping U.S. intervention in the South China Sea and over Taiwan, which China is now claiming as a renegade province which should be part of China.