Tuesday, May 11, 2010

US-Taiwan Business Council Report on Air Power, F-16s

The US-Taiwan Business Council has released a report on the air power balance in the Taiwan Strait, and on the need for F-16s. Set for release later today in the US, the report has already been uploaded to the US-Taiwan Business Council Website. Here is their press release:


US-Taiwan Business Council to Release Independent Analysis Report on
“The Balance of Air Power in the Taiwan Strait”
(Arlington, Virginia, May 10, 2010)

On May 11, 2010, at a public seminar on Capitol Hill, the US-Taiwan Business Council will release a report entitled “The Balance of Air Power in the Taiwan Strait”. This report provides a detailed examination of Taiwan’s major air defense requirements, and was written to conform to the 2009 Congressional directive instructing the U.S. Department of Defense to prepare an assessment of Taiwan’s current air defense capabilities.

The Council’s report discusses Taiwan’s need to address the burgeoning cross-Strait fighter gap; to undertake a mid-life upgrade of its existing F-16s and Indigenous Defense Fighters; to invest further in modernizing its ground-based air defenses; to continue the force-multiplier effect of investments in modern, balanced and integrated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities; and to increase investments in Electronic Warfare and Information Warfare.

This analysis report also examines the potential impact on U.S. forces if Taiwan can not defend its own airspace. The Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) notes that the U.S. is required, “to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force.” Should the U.S. decide not to provide Taiwan with the equipment it needs, it would lead to a degrading of Taiwan’s military strength. Given that American forces in Asia are already stretched thin, the report asks what impact such an outcome would have on American readiness, and questions where the additional forces would come from to fill the gap.

Finally, the report concludes that Taiwan has both the resources and the wherewithal to mount a sufficient self-defense in response to the evolving threat represented by PRC military modernization. Taiwan clearly recognizes this threat - evidenced by the statements and actions of its government, such as seeking to procure modern fighters for the Taiwan air force.

The report goes on to state that the challenge lies in Washington, in the willingness on the part of successive administrations to provide Taiwan with needed support in the face of Chinese opposition. It concludes that an economically and militarily strong Taiwan - able to engage China with confidence - is in the best position to act as a force for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

“The Balance of Air Power in the Taiwan Strait” report release event and seminar will be held in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, room SVC 203/202, in Washington, D.C., starting at 10:30am on May 11, 2010.
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Anonymous said...

A recent RAND Corporation report found that 90-250 SRBMs “would suffice to cut every runway at Taiwan’s 10 fighter main operating bases and damage or destroy virtually every unsheltered aircraft located on them.” So why is Taiwan buying 66 more F-16s? Some people in Texas need jobs.

P. S. said...

What is the advance warning given by detection systems to an SRBM launch? If the jets can get in the air before the SRBM hits, then some percentage of their effectiveness can be retained. Of course, then the bomb-damaged runways will need to be quickly patched up by quick-repair methods or the jets will have nowhere to land. I know that the USAF worked on this technology.

Regarding the jets scrambling, I personally designed the IDF software that performs the preflight system testing (for the flight controls). At that time, it took about 90 seconds; it's no doubt changed since then. It did not have an "attack mode" that I have seen on other airplanes like the Israeli LAVI. The attack mode does an abbreviated test of must-have components and can run about 20 seconds.

Of course, all that is useless unless there is a pilot in the cockpit to hit the button, and the engine needs to be running, at least for the last part of the test. Having more than a few planes on this kind of hot standby would be cost- and maintenance- prohibitive.