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LCS Goes to War 2, the Real Thing, Spratly Islands, 11 May 2015. Historical Scenario.

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LCS Goes to War 2, the Real Thing, Spratly Islands, 11 May 2015. Historical Scenario.

A Harpoon Commander's Edition scenario for the Western Pacific Battleset and the HCDB-150511 1980-2015 era Platform Database.

Image: USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) trailed by Chinese frigate Yuncheng (571) in the Spratly Islands, 11 May 2015. Official photo released by US Navy and as consequence in public domain.

This scenario is designed to be played from the Blue/US side or from the Red/Chinese side. To avoid spoilers you should play a few times first the Blue side, and only later play the Red side.

After the full of naval and security incidents year of 2014 and the not less eventful first five months of 2015 and with the World beginning the so-called Second Cold War when President of Russia Vladimir Putin (ex-KGB lieutenant colonel) provoked in succession the Crimea, Ukraine, Donetsk, Baltic States, October 2014 Swedish submarine incursion, G-20 Brisbane meeting naval crisis, November 2014 Faslane submarine incident, frigate Yaroslav Mudryy February "Channel Dash", April 2015 Finnish submarine incursion (for many observers causing the pre-mobilization of Finland reserve forces), and constant and multiple overflies with military warplanes entangled in potential incidents with commercial flights. That without counting in other unrelated naval incidents, just as the Iranian seizure of the Maersk Tigris in 28 April 2015 (and neither counting in landlocked actions, as the ISIS operations in Middle East).
But meanwhile, more towards Far East, was China the less perceived problem.
In some places of the South China Sea multiple country claimed Spratly Islands archipelago (Chinese: Nansha islands, Filipino: Kapuluan ng Kalayaan, Malay: Kepulauan Spratly and Vietnamese: Quan dao Truong Sa), China was for years mongering his plans and established a permanent base at least from 1987, and 1988 included a naval battle against Vietnam, the Johnson South Reef Skirmish. Also at least from 1995, as denounced by Philippines, China was building structures with military capabilities, including from 2012 more relevant structures, as the 3000+ meters long (Very Large Airport in Harpoon parameters) runway in Fiery Cross Reef, and more important, building artificial reefs and islands above previous simple shoals. At last in an undetermined date late April 2015 China claims as territorial waters the 12 nautical miles circling his "new" islands.
As the US official doctrine is Freedom of Navigation (FON), and as in this case with fears about a decision not to send naval vessels into the zone would inadvertently help the Chinese build their own case for sovereignty in the area, some air and surface elements of US Navy begin to orbit near the Chinese claims, but not crossing the 12 nm line.
One of the first incidents (another was a VP-45 Pelicans' P-8A Poseidon in surveillance mission carrying a CNN TV team inside, warned by the Chinese to no flight 12 nm near of Fiery Cross Reef on 20 May 2015) was the trailing for some hours of the USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) by the Chinese frigate Yuncheng (571) on 11 May 2015.
This scenario try to show what could have happened, and shows how near was one of the first missions of a controversial LCS to end with the ship placed where she was not designed to be, first line of combat.

Enrique Mas, 23 May 2015.

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