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Title: The modern naval fortress : an additional sea denial option for coastal states
Authors: Wu, Shang-su
Keywords: Fortress
Sea Denial
Social sciences::Military and naval science
Issue Date: 2017
Source: Wu, S. (2018). The modern naval fortress : an additional sea denial option for coastal states. Defence Studies, 18(1), 76-94. doi:10.1080/14702436.2017.1416954
Series/Report no.: Defence Studies
Abstract: As fixed facilities, naval fortresses seem unlikely to be important in a sea denial strategy which is usually about mobility, but new defence technologies and the changing geostrategic environment may revive the concept of the fortress. Extended ranges of anti-ship means allow onshore firepower to engage enemies over distance, even beyond the economic exclusive zones where most maritime territorial disputes occur. In the face of size limits on missile warheads that constrain their destruction of hardened targets, various active and passive defence technologies against missiles can enhance the survivability of onshore fortresses. Furthermore, onshore locations give fortresses the advantage of being unsinkable and able to accommodate greater energy and firepower capacity in contrast to vessels, as well as other mobile platforms. The onshore nature of fortresses also gives a different political meaning to being attacked, for the clear violation of sovereignty, as opposed to vessels and aircraft in a disputed space. However, the fact those fortresses are not invincible means cooperation with other existing capabilities still necessary. The case of Vietnam demonstrates how fortresses could strengthen the inferior defence capability of a coastal state vis-à-vis. a stronger sea power.
ISSN: 1470-2436
DOI: 10.1080/14702436.2017.1416954
Rights: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Defence Studies on 21 Dec 2017, available online:
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:RSIS Journal Articles

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