Date: April 13, 2016
By: Michael J. Lostumbo, Special to Defense News
Air defense planners in Taiwan face a daunting challenge. They need to have
enough capacity to deter China, which not only has a large military but, more importantly, for the past 25 years has spent heavily on modernizing that force. In modern warfare, air dominance is important in its own right, but it also enables other types of military operations by land and sea forces.
Thus an important capability for Taiwan is to be able to contest China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) air dominance. In the past, Taiwan’s fighter aircraft have been the mainstay of their air defenses, and in the future these aircraft will command most of the air defense budget. But China has found ways to put those aircraft in check, making them an expensive luxury in Taiwan’s defense budget.
Taiwan should begin to think beyond an air defense that relies so heavily on its fighter aircraft. Surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) would offer greater defensive capabilities and are a better investment moving forward. [FULL STORY]