QDR Team: Big Threats Matter

QDR Team: Big Threats Matter

We’ve been hearing from sources that for all the talk about irregular and hybrid warfare, the driving force in the QDR strategic review currently underway is the High End Asymmetric Threat, or HEAT, team. That team is examining the threat posed by a “near peer” competitor armed with an inventory of advanced “anti-access” weapons: anti-satellite systems, increasingly accurate ballistic missiles, anti-air weapons, anti-ship systems, undersea warfare systems and cyber attacks.

It makes the timing and the findings of a new RAND analysis of a full blown Chinese attack across the Taiwan straits all the more interesting. The new report, in typical RAND style, uses sophisticated modeling to simulate a Chinese invasion of Taiwan in the 2010–2015 timeframe, including a preemptive ballistic missile bombardment, a cyber assault on the island’s infrastructure and a Normandy style amphibious landing.

In a 2000 report that looked at a similar scenario, RAND predicted a bloody repulse for the attacking Chinese as Taiwanese and U.S. aircraft savaged the Chinese air fleet and seaborne landing force. However, this time around, RAND sees China establishing air superiority over the strait within hours of the first shots being fired.


How to explain such a reversal? Primarily, it’s due to China’s burgeoning stock of increasingly accurate short range ballistic missiles (SRBMs), around 1,000 of which are deployed opposite Taiwan. Launching a preemptive strike, RAND figures that with 90 to 240 SRBMs, China could: “cut every runway at Taiwan’s half-dozen main fighter bases and destroy essentially all of the aircraft parked on ramps in the open at those installations.” Follow on bombing raids by Chinese aircraft armed with precision bombs would destroy any surviving Taiwanese aircraft parked in hardened shelters.

A similar fate would be inflicted on U.S. aircraft at the Air Force base at Kadena and the U.S. Marine Corps base at Iwakuni on Okinawa, RAND says.

Even with its air fleet a smoldering wreck, Taiwan is unlikely to roll over for China; the Chinese would have to actually pull-off a successful amphibious landing and occupy the island. Continuing with the anti-access theme of the report, Taiwan could still successfully defend its beaches with a combination of anti-ship cruise missiles, U.S. bombers launching Joint-Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSMs), shorter range missiles, such as Hellfire, and some very tenacious dug-in Taiwanese infantry.

Contested amphibious assaults are exceedingly difficult to pull off successfully in the era of long-range, precision weaponry where ships bobbing on the seas are very exposed, as are the landing craft making the run in to a defended beachhead.

The smart folks over at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments have been harping about the implications of anti-access weapons for some time. I spoke to CSBA fellow Dakota Wood a few weeks back about a series of war games they conducted for OSD highlighting the “game changing” potential of precision guidance and range, and how such weapons will force changes in the way the U.S. military organizes and equips for the future battlespace.

With guided missiles of all types increasing in accuracy and readily available, it will demand a change in thinking from “How does my weapons system match up against the enemy’s similar system?” to “How does your costly system match up against the enemy’s missile magazine and what’s the size of that magazine?”, Woods said.

There are rumors that the Marine’s amphibious warfare capabilities may fare poorly in the QDR. This recent RAND report certainly doesn’t bolster their case. It also raises questions about the utility of short range tactical fighters when an enemy’s ballistic missiles can hold nearby airfields at risk. OSD won the battle against the F-22, yet favored large numbers of the F-35. We’ll see if that’s still the case come February.

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Interestingly, the Navy has little to do in this study, with our giant aircraft carriers which we use exclusively for “gunboat diplomacy” as much at risk as the amphibious forces apparently. Yet there seems to be no slow-down in deploying such vulnerable and budget-draining fleets with their short-legged F-18s. Does the Navy always have to experience disaster before they will alter their building strategies to present realities?

It’s great that RAND gets the “big bucks” for pointing out “who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb”. The reality of a viable PRC anti-access capability has been understood for a while. The question is: does the US do nothing and trust that a TW/PRC fight will never happen (ie, trust to luck) or take steps to counter the PRC capability. Both options have significant thorns.…if we trust to luck and the PRC/TW fight were to happen, then we would be faced with the unsavory choices of either abondoning TW & backing down from the PRC aggression or resisting & potentially getting drubbed in a fight.
An “activist” option could require diplomatic and military actions to disperse US military basing options and upgrading our conventional warfighting capability. This activity would likely strain Sino-US relations and one can only speculate on the economic and political second order effects.

Perhaps we should thank RAND for putting this issue “on the radar screen”…that said, with all the other issues facing this Adminstration and their bent on national security (ie, conventional war is not a worry), my bet is on the “trust to luck” option.

Taiwans most effective weapon might be a well publicized nuclear arsenal. Whether it actually existed or not, would be another question.

Now why would the Chinese even want to invade Taiwan when they have a trillion dollars in IOU’s from the US in Treasury bonds? If China offered to forgive the trillion dollar debt in exchange for Taiwan the Obama administration would sell Taiwan in a heartbeat. Money talks, everything else walks.

Hey Rocky shoals, in answer to your question if the obama adminstration wanted to they could say that all of the IOUs that china has are void.
As for why China would want to attack. They have three foriegn policy goals. 1) regain control of Taiwan like they did Hong Kong. 2) keep japan weak militarily. 3) drive the US from the western pacfic so they can control it.
Right know China reminds me of the way japan acted in the early 1930’s.

Even better, why should China fight if they can simply cut a deal with TW? If the Chinese read Sun Tzu (haha), they know it’s much better to win without fighting. If we read Sun Tzu– no guarantees on that one– we’d know that even if they can achieve air dominance over the strait, if they can’t invade, then who cares. Let them beat their brains out if they’re dumb enough to try. In any case, the fact that we are both nuclear powers argues against confrontation, as much as economic factors. If we’re dumb enough to waste resources (in excess of what we have) countering this unlikely threat, I’m sure China is fine with that.

Interesting comments…so Mike J, if you don’t think we should procure force structure to deal with the Chinese (whether in the TW Straits or otherwise): then, I would ask if the DOD might be downsized to levels that would make the US a regional power.

Mark–

I don’t agree with your premise. Our military is not our only nor always the most effective means of asserting our importance internationally. In fact, the way it’s been used has hurt us on the world stage, and with it tied down, we’re not so flexible. We still have powerful cultural, diplomatic, and economic (if/ once we solve those problems) tools that will ensure global relevance.

The PRC/ Taiwan thing is one of those traditional commie domino threats. It may provided RAND with grist for its mill, but we need to consider if it’s really a threat we should strenuously oppose. A Chinese invasion of Taiwan would not be easy on the PRC, and if we’ve been paying attention to our own troubles, even if they made it ashore they could be bled for years– their prize becomes a bone in their throat. They’d be castigated internationally. I think better is to encourage some detente and use that channel to continue pressuring Beijing to reform. China has plenty of internal problems that will interfere with any of their global aspirations… likewise, it seems right now the biggest threats to our global strength are internal. That’s what we should fix, first.

Notes about the study:

* 27:1 loss-exchange for F-22
* 4.5:1 for F-15C
* 2.6:1 for F/A-18E/F

Might buy the F-15C/F/A-118E/F ratios against the Su-30, Su-27/J-11, and J-10. But they included day-one sorties for only 315 of those modern fighters out of a 798 sortie total.

The remaining day-one 483 Chinese sorties were mostly old aircraft to include 343 sorties of J-8 (MiG-21) and 96 sorties of “B-52″-like H-6 heavy bombers. Is RAND telling us the F-15 and F/A-18E/F loss-exchange ratios are identical against both Su-30/Su-27 and J-8(MiG-21)/H-6 heavy bombers?

The loss-exchange for the F-22 should also be higher. For some inexplicable reason, despite only 27 of 72 F-22s being destroyed by Chinese missiles on the ground, there were only 20 F-22 sorties flown on day one??

In addition, in any given 4 hour sortie, only 4 F-22s fought (compared to 22 F/A-18 and 10 Taiwan aircraft). They also had F-22s launching only 1.5 missiles and F/A-18E/F only 1.7 missiles in those 4 hours in a target rich environment. Huh???

And of course, a 2013 timeline is played so no F-35s were available with their better loss-exchange. In addition, there was no play of Navy Aegis while Taiwan SAMs were postulated…but get killed off on day one in many scenarios. Considering that never happened against Serbia over 78 days, not sure why it would happen on day one against Taiwan.

Finally, while all manner of TBM, cruise missile, and precision guided munitions were destroying allied aircraft on the ground, there was no indication that we were doing the same to them with B-2/F-22/cruise missiles. That would significantly alter the results for subsequent day sorties.

I’m still trying to figure out why with so few F-22s flown, launching so few AMRAAM per sortie, the PLAAF on day-one still managed to lose 140 aircraft in air-to-air and 70 to Taiwan SAMs compared to our claimed air-to-air losses of just 48. That’s losing? We lose one F-22, and 17 F-18E/F with Taiwan losing the other 30 aircraft.

Half our day-one losses were on the ground, and if we had moved to Guam and other more distant bases at the first indications/warnings of trouble, those aircraft would still be available.

The study seems to be pushing Guam and Kadena shelter upgrades and alternate basing locations further from Taiwan. Seems like an equally cogent argument could be made for more missile defense and long range bombers, plus carrier aircraft when the F-35C is fielded.

Mike J.…you don’t agree with the premise that the current US administration may view the PRC as a benign threat..that’s not a premise..it’s a fact…and your advocacy of what the current regime calls “soft power”.…it briefs well as a cover for a lame foreign policy a la Jimmy Carter…but soft power without the backing of military power is a joke.…WHAT exactly do you mean by you last comment on our “internal” threats and we should deal with that first? This comment is very vague and a bit disturbing.

Cole…The RAND work misses several key points which explains some of your questions. Both of you are missing key pieces of the puzzle..there was a recent military wargame that pretty well “broke the code” on a PRC fight…you and RAND could have informed SA if you could gain access to this activity.….I hope your faith in the F35 is well placed.…but hope is generally deleterious to sound military planning.

Mark–

Considering the internal problems the US has with regard to its economy and social changes (aging baby boomers etc) are a threat to military funding and thus global power projection, you should be concerned. Also, instability in Mexico poses a more serious threat to our security than anything happening half way around the Earth… unless you can think of a good reason why we wouldn’t be sucked into a conflict driven by our black market drug trade.

I don’t know what the present admin thinks of China. Anyway, I don’t see the Chinese as benign, but their threat to us now is not primarily military. Hope is deleterious to sound planning, so are unfounded fears.

If you’re looking to argue with a Democrat from 30 years ago, I can’t help you there.

China and Taiwan are far too economically entwined for this missile scenario. Sounds far more likely that the military industrial complex is ramping up the fear factor to keep the dollars flowing from washington.

Mike J…wasn’t looking to argue with anyone…just didn’t know if you were talking about “black helicopters” or whatever.
I actually agree with you last posting on Mexico etc…socio/econ…if the US is going to become a Euro Socialist state then there is little need for DODBUZZ..LOL.

AF Rasmussen: Secretary General of NATO.. black-helicopters .. former president EU & PM of Denmark has a problem: PRC, whose people want freedom, never has/will cozy up to the 4th Reich nor their puppets in DC & Ass. Press & the whip will come down.

China’s growing military and naval strenght is a threat if they become an enemy. One way Taiwan can win a war with China if that will come is thru diplomacy. Another is creating a underground missile defence, say 1000 or more multiple underground battery missile station(long rage and short range missiles) defence. A missile defence against incoming misiles, anti ships, anti bombers and for counter measures may hold an attacking Chinese navy.

The problem on this issue is we can be drag into any China-Taiwan war conflict. And Taiwan does’nt have any missile technology capability yet to defend itself agaisnt any Chinese aggression.

Cole,

Perhaps the low F-22 sortie count was due to SRBMs cutting the runways at Kadena. Maybe they factored in repair time and wreckage removal.

There’s a recent article about the need to reduce our aircraft and ships in Japan for political reasons, cost reasons, and because they are sitting ducks so close to the Asian mainland.
http://​www​.g2mil​.com/​J​a​p​a​n​-​b​a​s​e​s​.​htm Better to fly them in from Guam, Hawaii, and Alaska after the missile volley’s end.

In the any warfare action, u must remember the golden mean or golden section: 0.618. For instance main PLA will attack the asymmetrical and by unbalanced relationship of the forces. It is side-principle formula of the attacking, side element much more important than main structure.

Lose one, win two. Is old and the classic. Read Changshao battle between Qi & Li.

W. Xiangsui

Just for the record…to correct the original article’s statement that, “A similar fate would be inflicted on U.S. aircraft at the Air Force base at Kadena and the U.S. Marine Corps base at Iwakuni on Okinawa, RAND says.”

I hope RAND didn’t say that. Iwakuni is actually on the Japanese main island of Honshu and is about 500 nm from Okinawa.

My beef is with the assumption that Patriot and other SAM’s don’t play. SAM’s (Patriot, THAAD and AEGIS) would maul the PLAF.

China goes nuts over Taiwan whenever they motion towrads independance. THose who think this is all smoke and mirrors: I am active duty 14E (Patriot, US ARMY). China spent billion learning how to KILL patriot and AEGIS.

Taiwan does anything to upset the status quo and China will drop the hammer. We need to be ready.

Right now a patriot unit is in Okinawa for just such an emergency (1–1 ADA)

Good point B.Smitty. But I would wager this attack would not occur out of the blue without any warnings and we would never be dumb enough to put 72 F-22s at Kadena.

Our ISR and political-economic indications would have us placing all our F-22s farther away in Guam and elsewhere. But let’s accept their 20 F-22 sorties a day so the rest that aren’t broke can bomb the Chinese mainland at night and escort B-2s.

I’ve got no need to know Mark, but even in the unclassified world you can make some pretty good guesses. Here’s what it probably should look like staying restricted to an unrealistically low 4 days of fighting and 20 F-22 sorties per day, 88 F/A-18E/F day-one sorties, and 40 Taiwan Air Force day-one sorties as RAND seemed to imply.

But indulge me, and add AWACs to the fight so they along with F-22s can distinguish between the old H-6 bombers and J-8s (Mig-21) and the new fighters. The F/A-18E/F then get vectored to the old stuff to improve their exchange ratio. The 20 F-22s per day get the tough stuff, and others not on air-to-air duties get vectored to attack the Chinese airfields that AWACS quickly identifies as having the modern aircraft. Aegis can probably tell the F-22s where the short range ballistic missiles were launched from.

Here’s a revised estimate, tossing out the green/yellow/red bar graphs that weren’t too clear and throwing in perhaps some more realistic exchange ratios given the aircraft being engaged. All allied aircraft fire at least 2 AMRAAM per threat fighter to assure a kill with a pessimistic .5 Pk each missile.

Day 1: 40 Taiwan AF x 1 kill = 40 kills to 20 losses
Day 2: 20 Taiwan AF x 1 kill = 20 kills to 10 losses
Day 3: 10 Taiwan AF x 1 kill = 10 kills to 5 losses
Day 4: 5 Taiwan AF x 1 kill = 5 kills to 2 losses
Total over 4 days = 75 kills to 37 losses or 2:1 exchange ratio against J-8s, etc.

Day 1: 20 F-22 sorties x 3 kills = 60 kills to 1 loss
Day 2: 20 F-22 sorties x 3 kills = 60 kills to 1 loss
Day 3: 20 F-22 sorties x 3 kills = 60 kills to 1 loss
Day 4: 20 F-22 sorties x 3 kills = 60 kills to 1 loss
Total F-22 over 4 days = 240 kills to 4 losses
60:1 exchange ratio against mostly Su-30s/J-11/J-10. This assumes that with 187 F-22s you can find 20 per day for air-to-air with remainder attacking mainland at night and escorting B-2.

Day 1: 88 F/A-18E/F x 2 kills = 176 kills to 17 losses
Day 2: 71 F/A-18E/F x 2 kills = 142 kills to 14 losses
Day 3: 57 F/A-18E/F x 2 kills = 114 kills to 11 losses
Day 4: 46 F/A-18E/F x 2 kills = 92 kills to 9 losses
Total F/A-18E/F over 4 days = 524 kills to 51 losses or 10.3:1 exchange ratio against J-8s/H-6 and 20% of the tougher aircraft.

or a few years later:

Day 1: 88 F-35 x 2 kills = 176 kills to 4 losses
Day 2: 84 F-35 x 2 kills = 168 kills to 4 losses
Day 3: 80 F-35 x 2 kills = 160 kills to 4 losses
Day 4: 76 F-35 x 2 kills = 152 kills to 3 losses
Total F-35 over 4 days = 656 kills to 19 losses
34.5:1 exchange ratio

And we have yet to add the highly irritated Japanese Air Force after China starts lobbing missiles its way…or Japanese Patriots trained up by Chockblock…or our Aegis…or the 70 Chinese aircraft that Taiwan SAMs shot down on day-one alone…or depleted Chinese sorties due tour airfield targeting.

Don’t these numbers add up to significantly more than the cited 798 PLAAF sortie inventory…in just four days? Not saying our losses are acceptable, but hopefully the Chinese are smart enough to figure out it would be a whole lot tougher than RAND is predicting and this war never occurs.

And why would the PRC attack Taiwan. The more anti-PRC President has been replaced and the PRC-friendly KMT has a majority in the legislature. And then there’s this factoid from RAND’s own study that would have the PRC stupidly killing the golden goose:

“China had replaced the United States as Taiwan’s number one export market by late 2001. Cross-strait two-way trade rose from an estimated $950 million in 1986—the last year before Taiwan lifted the ban on its citizens traveling to the PRC—to more than $98 billion by the end of 2008, the latter figure being equal to 20 percent of Taiwan’s total trade (Bureau of Foreign Trade, 2009)”

Correction to math errors on the F-35 estimate:

Day 1: 88 F-35 x 2 kills = 176 kills to 5 losses
Day 2: 83 F-35 x 2 kills = 166 kills to 5 losses
Day 3: 78 F-35 x 2 kills = 156 kills to 5 losses
Day 4: 73 F-35 x 2 kills = 146 kills to 4 losses
Total F-35 over 4 days = 644 kills to 19 losses
33.9:1 exchange ratio

And wait until we get more F-35s, UCAV, stealthier cruise and loitering missiles, better ballistic missile/air defense, and possible long range conventional missiles of our own, and newer tankers that can top off each other to stay on station longer. They get better…we get phenomenal.

Tell that to Mr. Gates (“AKA” Mr. CIA /special OPs )Acordding to Mr.Gates we are NEVER going to fight a large conventional war again. Just wait until the Chinese control a future battle area and from the air rain guided munitions down on his special operators and there is no AIR FORCE to run to his rescue. It is a very big scary dangerous world out there, as soon as you show any weakness you will be made to pay for it. Hopefully the QDR will make him change the very dangerous path he has taken with our military.

There is one that I see here (well actually several, but one worth mentioning).…

All the jingoist We-Cannot-Lose rhetoric aside, the one battle tested axiom of warfare is that quantity overwhelms quality. The rare occasions when quality has managed to overcome quantity have only occurred when the qualitative advantage was extremely great and the side with the quantitative advantage folded quickly.

US power projection is based on the presumption that we have an qualitative advantage so vast that any conflict will be over before an enemy can bring its full resources to bear.

The reality behind this presumption is eroding rapidly as our adversaries are improving their capabilities while we are paying more attention to the budget than to our standing as “Sole Superpower.”

I really don’t think the Chi-coms want a war w/ thier biggest trading partner. If you want answeres, just follow the $$, war with China is not imminent, its a possibility, and I think its just that. A invasion of taiwan could bring in other countries, and why risk it?

Any open source estimates on how strong the Taiwanese SAM network is? Don’t they have Patriots? Couldn’t they take out a fair # of the Chinese missiles?

Sounds like we should sell Taiwan more Patriots. Enough so China doesn’t have a reliable knock-out punch.

Cole,
Guam to TW is roughly 1500 NM.…got any idea how difficult setting up an a/a grinder (includes HVAA CAP)over that distance with few divert options would be?
How safe is Guam?
Are the CVBGs safe? or could they be pushed out beyond their effective range?
Will not comment on US/TW SAMS.

Rippy, Excellent point!
Anybody read Gen Tony McPeak’s recent WSJ editorial?

Let’s hope a PRC/TW fight doesn’t happen…oops, there we go again, using hope as a plan!!

Cole, B. Smitty:

Don’t forget that an attack on Kadena would be considered an attack on Japan, effectively pulling them into the war.

In this unlikely conflict between China and the US, I doubt China would want yet another military power to deal with. While Japan lacks any sort of offensive capability, the JMSDF and JASDAF would provide a tangible boost the US and involved allies. Don’t forget that the JMSDF is well-regarded given the scope of their mission, and the JASDAF is highly compatible with the USAF.

Clarification: By offensive capability, I mean the capability to project their forces to seize and occupy enemy land.

This study is a classic case of not asking the question unless you know the answer…and knowing whether the answer helps or hurts your cause.

Much to their credit, RAND had numerous variables showing where improvements help the most…Guam being one of them. But other major variables such as exchange ratios were left constantly low, there was no play of greater missile numbers fired per sortie, and as mentioned, the same ratios were used whether up against an Su-30/Su-27 or J-8/H-6 bomber.

There is no way, even operating out of Guam, that F-22 sorties would be only 20 a day with upwards of 120 available and our tanker fleet. Yet when you use that lower 20 figure, there is still more than enough airpower to handle the PLAAF.

With the second example I offered, ALL PLAAF fighter/bombers would be gone after 3 days…even in the F/A-18E/F scenario. I also mistakenly left out 60 ROCAF sorties on day one and 8 F/A-18E/F from their example. A 10:1 exchange ratio against old aircraft is completely reasonable for an F/A-18E/F and F-15C with AMRAAM (especially with EA-18G support)as is a 60:1 for the F-22 against 4–4.5 generation aircraft.

Obviously the few nearby vulnerable airbases hurt the USAF case for more land-based F-22s and help the long-range bomber, carrier-based, and stealthy cruise missile case. The lack of shelters and the inability to fully protect against a saturation missile attack means you would certainly never want to put lots of fighters anywhere nearby…and you say Guam isn’t safe either. So what is the case for more F-22s with no place to put them?

In constrast, the naval F/A-18E/F (and future F-35 fleet would have) come out much better in their study. Even if you had to move the carriers 750 miles from Taiwan, with tanker support, those aircraft would be up to task. More than two carriers is also an option later in the war.

As mentioned, with just 20 F-22 and 88 F-35 sorties per day, you have more than enough for the PLAAF…and we will have thousands of F-35s available to create a triad of fighter basing, and support for ground attack. The quantity AND quality are there. The ability to plink PRC Army amongst Taiwan civilians is also there with the F-35s EO/IR to establish positive ID.

Saw General McPeak’s article. With all due respect, it’s the same stereotypical argument about no ground forces being subject to air attack thanks to the USAF. That argument ignores highly capable Army and Navy air defenses and counter TBM that in the real world, protect the USAF airbases far more than the USAF exclusively protects ground forces.

In this scenario with all PLAAF aircraft gone in just 3 days, somehow suspect the Marines/Army would be more than safe mounting an airborne/air assault/ambibious attack on the few Chinese troops on Taiwan who were not sunk by the U.S. Navy and Taiwan troops. But with a blockade in place to choke off China’s oil supplies…no need to hurry that attack.

Out of curiosity, can anyone explain why more U.S. sorties per day hurt rather than helped in the “green” study results? 20 per base per day was shown as superior to 60 per base per day?

Cole,
The ONLY way to deal with this fight is with AF air…the CVBGs are vulnerable to missiles (get a copy of the May ’09 PRECEEDINGS mag)and would be pushed beyond the practical range of the F/A18..and must work in concert with AF air.

Only the combat power of AF forces, when dispersed and operated out of hardened bases (includes US IADS) can deal with a threat like the PRC…in Europe during the 1980s, the USAF was fully prepared to hunker down and fight the Russians come hell,WMD,SPETSNAZ or high water…we know how to survive to operate…or at least, we did.

The Navy cannot generate enough combat power to roll back the PLAF & 2nd Artillery.…in a PRC/TW fight, the Army and Marine Corps do not get onto to court until the heavy lifting is done (of course this fight will never happen because the PRC would never fight the US…say some folks in town but if the “conventional wisdom” is proved wrong…god forbid)..you cannot win this fight without big AF airpower.
In your comments on Gen McPeak’s article..“argument ignores highly capable Army and Navy air defenses and counter TBM”…Then your next paragraph on a Marine/Army assault on few PRC troops…you meant that as a joke…right?
You analysis on the air fight is well done for a guy that is not a professional airman and in possession of a multitude of key facts…but a good posting nevertheless.

Mark,

Read the Navy Proceedings article, thanks. But it seems to indicate that “Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles” are up there with PAK FA in terms of lots of talk and little evidence of real tech.

Had to research the F/A-18E/F too, and read the Australia clan’s assessment of it vs. the Su-30. Seems like that with 400NM normal radius and 650NM with aux tanks (liked the IRST built into the center tank) that CVBGs could stand off quite a distance and aerial refuel only twice, once inbound and once outbound. Kein problem.

F/A-18E/F carry lots of AMRAAMs, have AESA radar, IRST, towed radar decoys, and lower radar cross section than the Flankers. Despite the Australia clan bad-mouthing, they could do pretty well with our EA-18G jamming of their less capable radars.

Obviously the Flankers would be about the only thing that could kill F/A-18s, not the more numerous J-8s/H-6 they would be vectored against. But F-22s would handle many of the Flankers before they got too close, and bomb others on the ground.

Why can’t the F-22s and F/A-18s team together to let the less stealthy aircraft stand-off and be a missile launcher/carrier?

Our AEGIS is highly capable. Short-range air defenses are pretty effective against cruise and anti-ship missiles. The article mentioned that China might not have the C4ISR to coordinate a massive saturation attack against a distance CVBG. Given their copycat rep, its unclear they have the sensor tech or satellites to find and hit a carrier in open seas.

I’ve read somewhere that half of China’s AMD is old SA-2 based and their integrated AMD comms are internet-based. I thought it was no coincidence that their internet underwater lines were cut a few years back, and that coincidink could always happen again.

The diesel-electric subs could be effective in the hide mode close to home but wouldn’t be nearly as good in blue water. Heck I’ve read that Taiwan may have graphite-bomb capability. Point is, as you mention, we have less-publicized capabilities too. And if you were the Chinese looking at the threat they face, you would be a whole lot more nervous than we should be.

The Marine/Army assault was on Taiwan, not the mainland. The study said the PLAN will have only 100 amphibious ships by 2020ish that can carry a max of 31,000 troops. Don’t think that too many of those ships would successfully make the crossing and 250,000 ROC Army troops would be waiting for those that did.

In a modification of General McPeak’s point, the Army desperately WOULD need USAF, Navy, Marine F-35 air cover for AIR-TO-GROUND while making that assault on Taiwan. But note that is air-to-ground, because PLAAF air-to-ground would already have been destroyed by an entire counter-air team from all four services.

Cole,
Expect that the Preceedings staff is very close to the problem and hence very credible
F/A18 is a good fighter..not an F22 but a good fighter…expect PACOM does joint exercises with AF and Navy fighters
Diesel boats…probably very capable in the TW JOA waters
Army/Marine assault on TW to fight PRC infantry???…takes some big time imagination…do a little check on TW geography and you’ll understand some of the problem…never mind the political question of “re-conquering TW”???
Expect the PRC wouldn’t need any where near 250K shooters to take down TW (OVERLORD was only 170K or so)…likely need that number or more to do Phase IV ops…then that would be an admin landing
The Army/Marines cannot win/successfully operate or even survive on a high tech, high intensity conventional battlefield (against an opponent with more “juice” than the “Muj” or the Serbs) without the dominance provided by the AF…e.g., the Indian AF and the PLAAF have made a lot of progress in the last little while…extremely unlikely, but if an American ground force were to encounter either of these without the USAF…it could get ugly.…BUT, no worries, despite a “garbled & stupid” period, the AF will fly on and be there to be the dominant hammer in the joint force and set the conditions for victory.

This is a very interesting discussion about a somewhat unlikely scenario but what if the PRC decides to teach one of its neighbors a lesson in a ‘1979 Vietnam War’ manner? None of its neghbors including India or even Russia can give a fitting answer to the PRC’s 1500 strong SRBM arsenal unless it was ready for a major escalation? Unlikely again. So the most likely scenario is the PRC using intimidation to achieve its political objectives in TW or anywhere else.

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