As China’s navy continues to grow in size and capability, the Pentagon is taking the threat more seriously than ever. The US Navy’s 2021 budget requests include a nearly twentyfold increase in anti-ship missiles over the next five years, including newer long-range designs. However, they have yet to match Beijing’s ultra-long-range weapons.
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The first missiles to be used operationally were a series of missiles developed by Germany in World War II. Most famous of these are the V-1 flying bomb and V-2 rocket, both of which used a mechanical autopilot to keep the missile flying along a pre-chosen route. Less well known were a series of Anti-Ship and Anti-aircraft missiles, typically based on a simple radio control (command guidance) system directed by the operator. However, these early systems in World War II were only built in small numbers.
WWII German anti-ship missiles: