Friday, October 14, 2005

MeiZhongTai and Subs

MeiZhongTai and I have been having a robust debate on the weapons purchase (sorry about the slow response; Yahoo keeps shunting some email notifications of comments into my bulk mail folder). MeiZhongTai busts me for an error in saying it was Adm. Fallon who wants Taiwan to quietly drop the requests for subs -- it was actually only senior US officers. My bad! MeiZhongTai then goes on to argue for the submarine purchase:

As I am one of the "pundits" in question (see my previous post), allow me to defend the submarine purchase. Not buying new submarines surrenders control of everything under the sea to China (although Taiwan could still conduct anti-submarine warfare from the surface or sky). China currently has the world's largest submarine force (55 submarines), if not the most potent (America's 54 nuclear submarines are far more capable), and is still growing rapidly even as it retires its older Romeos. Surrendering everything subsurface waters isn't particularly wise. To put it mildly, I wouldn't want to be in a surface ship when the opponent is dominant underneath me. Submariners have a saying:
There are two types of ships: submarines and targets.
Turton advocates reallocating the money for submarines to fighters, but the point remains that there is no money for the subs hence the current standstill. I would advocate fixing weaknesses before maximizing strengths, even though both are certainly important.

Unfortunately this is again wrong. China has 55 subs at the moment, the most Taiwan will have is 8. There is no way that 8 subs will be able to wrest control of the sea below from Chinese subs, even if only half the Chinese subs can put to sea (China has had trouble crewing all of its subs, I recall reading). In other words, Taiwan has effectively already conceded control of the sea to China. Buying subs is the equivalent of tossing the money into the sea -- and those wasteful subs come at three times the going world rate!

It is also worth pointing out again that the fate of amphibious invasions has never been decided by submarines. It has always been decided by control of the air. China can have the sea below, because if Taiwan has 600 advanced fighters and pilots, then it will never have control of the air, and never be able to throw an invasion force over.

The subs need to be canceled. Now. Give us attack aircraft, spare parts, ammo, and pilot training.


Karl said...

I don't know, four more subs means China loses up to eight IPCs if those subs can stay alive within one sea zone of the mainland. Combine that with an IC on Kinmen, and I think we've got a winning strategy.

Michael Turton said...

LOL. They can just hit us with rockets. And that's so true it's not even funny.

Which reminds me -- if I have three AA guns in one territory, can they all fire off rockets? Rules appear to be ambiguous. I've been buying rockets with US and England, buying 5 or 6 rockets, and taking Germany right out of the game.