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US Navy's mass retirement of vessels to dent Taiwan deterrence

Next five to eight years form 'period of greatest peril,' analyst warns

The USS Ohio guided-missile submarine rendezvouses with a Marine Corps combat rubber raiding craft for an integration exercise off the coast of Okinawa, Japan, on Feb. 2. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps)

NEW YORK -- The U.S. Navy will soon enter a brief period of vulnerability when its Cold War-era submarines and cruisers go into mass retirement before a more China-focused new batch of weapons can come into service.

Especially notable is how a significant drop in the availability of vertical-launch missile tubes -- more than 600, or around 10% of the Navy's 6,000 or so Mark 41 launchers -- could weaken American deterrence in the Taiwan Strait.

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