it looks like there have been about 30-50 SM-3 missile procured per year since 2012, so perhaps around 250 missiles total
Well, that's one way to look at it. Here's my argument against it:
Using your figures, if only 30 (instead of 50) were built a year (the low end), then there would be only 210. Additionally, since 2019 hasn't really occurred as of yet, and if you don't count that, then you are down to 180.
Then, if you divide them up by Atlantic/Pacific Fleets (which you probably can't really do because there is likely a bigger threat in the pacific), then you are at 90 each, if they actually do it that way. (Again, I think that the Pacific would get more, but I don't know for sure.)
So, I'm not sure that the US would put a total of 60 SM-3s on just two ships (as was depicted in the scenario) for one battle. I might be wrong. But, that seems a little far fetched to me. Also, if a sub or something suddenly wiped out one of those two ships, then you just lost half of your allotment and now you are in real trouble.
I believe that I read that each SM-3 costs $5M a piece, unlike a Tomahawk which is about $1M. At a cost of $5M a shot, I figure that the US would be pretty frugal with their usage. In fact, if there were 80 of them in one battle, at $5M a piece, that's $400M worth of missiles.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that your assessment isn't accurate. Perhaps it is. It just seems to me that having that many, at one place, at one time, is excessive.
I just think that it is a little like laboriously pushing your cannons all the way up a hill to reach the top in hopes that the enemy comes there. If they don't, and they end up at another hill, then there is nothing to defend that hill with.
I don't see these engagements to be something like a Championship Fight where the boxers have six months to train. I see these as a flash point kicks off something that suddenly takes places within a period of 24-36 hours at the most. So, you end up fighting a battle with what you have available right now, as opposed to what you could possibly get in three weeks.
Again, this is just my opinion. I don't know the real answer. That's the reason that I threw this question out there.
In any case, it's an interesting topic.
< Message edited by DWReese -- 2/11/2019 7:32:06 PM >