But this report is typical of the kinds of things that Taiwan needs if it is to resist Chinese aggression.... The Washington Times reports:
The two Osprey class vessels - the world’s second largest mine hunters - are expected to be delivered in the second half of this year, a navy spokesman said, declining to provide a more specific time frame.F-16s may be more glamorous, but support vessels like this are just as important, and no navy ever has enough of them. Two are hardly enough for Taiwan, except perhaps to serve as platforms for training and testing for the Taiwan navy. Andrew Erickson, Lyle Goldstein, and William Murray -- all names you should know from reading this blog -- cover China's minelaying capabilities in this long and detailed essay. As they note in the opening pages, mines are an important component of Chinese naval thinking, and Taiwan's vulnerability to a mines makes a mine-based blockade a tempting strategy for the PRC to pursue.
The two vessels, which were decommissioned from the U.S. Navy in 2006, are being retrofitted and are scheduled to be handed over to Taiwan in July, the state Central News Agency said.
The sale of the two vessels is part of a $6.4 billion arms deal that includes Patriot missiles, Black Hawk helicopters and communications equipment for Taiwan’s F-16 fleet of fighter jets.
Note that even if Taiwan manages to deny the PRC control of the skies over Taiwan, the ROC navy is hardly in a position to prevent the PRC from mining local waters. Mines don't actually have to sink any ships to be effective; they merely have to be present in enough numbers to convince shipping insurance firms to jack up rates high enough that no one can afford to ship to Taiwan. The number of mines that might cause insurance firms to balk at insuring ships bound for Taiwan is surely not very great....
Also apropo: Chinese counterfeit parts infest US military aircraft. And China to build two more aircraft carriers.
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