Liquidate fighter fleet, procure SAMs, if Taiwan wants to survive

(From Defense News)

Radical changes in Taiwan’s air defense order of battle that include the retirement of all the F-CK-1 Indigenous Defense Fighters (IDF) and Mirage 2000-5 fighter aircraft with cost savings moved to the procurement of a substantial number of mobile surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems are among the recommendations in a think tank report.

Taiwan F-CK-1B Ching-indigenous Kuo fighters
Taiwan F-CK-1B Ching-indigenous Kuo fighters

The report, “Air Defense Options for Taiwan: An Assessment of Relative Costs and Operational Benefits,” suggests that Taiwan downsize its fighter fleet and increase investment in SAM systems. The Rand Corp. study tests this strategy against three vignettes that span the range of conflict, from air sovereignty to disarming strikes and invasion air defense.

Rand crunches the numbers in the 172-page report with reckonings that make this paper hard to ignore against political hype inside Taipei and the sexy fighter aircraft tradition in the Taiwan air force that goes back to the Flying Tigers of World War II.

Taiwan defense spending appears to have hit a plateau with economic and political conditions working against the military’s desire to have both a strong fighter aircraft fleet and a SAM capability. Read more

Leave a comment