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Defense !—F-35—Air Power—China



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Defense !—F-35—Air Power—China


An improvement in Air Force readiness is key to deter China and preclude conflict over Taiwan

Mastro`7 (Oriana Skylar Mastro, Junior Fellow in the China Program at the Carnegie Endowment.States News Service, July 17, 2007 Tuesday CHINESE MILITARY MODERNIZATION AND TAIWAN'S SECURITY, Lexis)

Roger Cliff spoke last about his chapter The Implications of Chinese Military Modernization of U.S. Force Posture in a Taiwan Conflict. According to Cliff, U.S. force posture in the Asia-Pacific region may soon be inadequate to protect Taiwan against a Chinese use of force. Much of China's military hardware is inadequate by modern standards and these limitations are paralleled by challenges in China's intelligence, logistics, etc. However, geography works in China's favor, with its forces much closer to the Taiwan theater than are U.S. forces. Furthermore, China's defense industry, after years of backwardness, is starting to produce weapon systems that are comparable to similar systems coming out of the United States. China's economic growth also means that China will have increasingly more money to acquire and develop weapons systems. Because of these trends, the US needs to make a few changes in US force posture in the region. For example, the United States must follow through with currently planned enhancements to U.S. force posture in the region; must improve its capabilities to detect a surprise use of force; it must increase the readiness levels of air and naval forces in Hawaii and on the west coast of the United States so that they can be surged to the Western Pacific on short notice; the United States must ensure that its most capable new weapon systems are deployed first to the Pacific theater as they are fielded. Cliff closed with the comment that conflict in the Taiwan Strait is not inevitable, but as long as China reserves the right to use force, and the United States is committed to deterring this use of force, the United States needs to improve its force posture in the region. Michael D. Swaine explained the overall conclusions of the volume. On balance, this volume does not confirm the argument that the balance of power has shifted; instead, China still faces many daunting challenges to its military power, especially in terms of seizing Taiwan outright. China will not be able to maintain air superiority or a naval blockade in the foreseeable future. However, this volume reaffirms concern that China is acquiring new and large capabilities in some areas that are narrowing the gap in ways that could over time weaken deterrence and undermine the cross-strait military balance. This especially applies to area denial capabilities, missile forces, submarine forces, etc. Therefore, there is a need to assess how these capabilities apply to different contingencies and how the Chinese leadership believes these capabilities apply to a Taiwan conflict. For example, these capabilities might encourage the Chinese leadership to take preemptive action to force Taiwan to capitulate before the U.S. has time to intervene. However, this is a very risky option, and there is no indication that China is currently preparing for this option; most of these capabilities the Chinese view as deterrence. Furthermore, there are features of the U.S., China, and Taiwan military doctrine and crisis management that could lead to unintended escalation and consequences that undermine regional stability. In order to reduce the potential for conflict, the United States needs to continue to improve its ability to reply swiftly to a Chinese attack without striking the Chinese mainland early on. This is difficult given that much of U.S. military doctrine is offensive oriented. The U.S. should also continue to support Taiwan's acquisition of defense capabilities-this is a critical element of the maintenance of deterrence because there may be a period of time in which Taiwan needs to hold on until the U.S. can intervene. Taiwan cannot defend itself unaided against China and Taiwan's primary strategic objective should be to resist a Chinese attack until U.S. forces can arrive to repel such an attack. The book also offers a series of recommendations that China and the United States should implement in order to improve crisis management capabilities.

Defense !—F-35—Air Power—China


China must control the air before it can even think about invading Taiwan-A strong Air Force kills that thought

Siong`3 (Fan Sui Siong, Kelvin, CPT Fan Sui Siong Kelvin is a Weapons System Officer (ADA) by vocation and is currently serving as Tactical Control Officer at an Air Defence Artillery Squadron, Will China Attack Taiwan, June 2003, http://www.mindef.gov.sg/safti/pointer/back/journals/2003/Vol29_2/7.htm)

Military Drawbacks Islands have a natural defence barrier because of the difficulty of securing beachheads when the shores are well defended. The British Isles, for instance, have not been successfully invaded since 1066. By virtue of the 80 mile Taiwan Strait between mainland China and Taiwan, Taiwan is accorded similar protection from mainland China's large army. However, successful landings have been staged in recent years, with the Normandy landing on D-day being the most prominent example to



date. According to O'Hanlon(2000),14 three key elements are necessary for a successful amphibious assault (i) air superiority, (ii) initial superiority in troops/firepower at point of attack, and (iii) reinforcement advantage at point of attack. To add to this list, a successful assault will require (iv)well-trained, well-equipped troops who are properly coordinated in the battlefield. However, to quote the Pentagon, "China probably has never conducted a large scale amphibious exercise which has been fully coordinated with air support and airborne operations."15 Air Superiority To invade Taiwan, China would first have to win control of the air before she could begin transporting its troops and equipment across the Straits without overly strong resistance. Air superiority can be gained with a well-coordinated surprise attack on Taiwanese key assets such as airfields, C2 facilities, and aircraft. This could be done by simultaneously launching China's 200 ballistic missiles and her 800-1000 attack aircraft to target Taiwan's key assets. However, both options face limitations. As argued, Chinese ballistic missiles, already limited in number, are also known to be inaccurate. The option of using attack aircraft to weaken Taiwanese resistance fares no better. Firstly, mobilising so many aircraft to bases near Taiwan could alert Washington and Taipei to an imminent attack, thus negating the surprise element. Secondly, her aircraft are unlikely to attack effectively and efficiently. Taiwan possesses three times as many 4th generation fighters as China.16 Chinese aircraft are mostly obsolete and slow, travel at barely supersonic speeds17 and lack radar, thus limiting their ability to attack at night and rendering them vulnerable to beyond visual range attacks from radar-guided missiles of Taiwanese modern fighters. Thirdly, according to O'Hanlon, even with a well-coordinated first strike by China, at least half of Taiwan's combat aircraft would survive and be used to frustrate China's amphibious assault.


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