A Taiwanese flag is seen behind standard Type II missiles on the destroyer Kee Lung during a drill near Yilan naval base, Taiwan, on April 13, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Tyrone Siu

The Taiwanese military has reportedly been devising an “asymmetric warfare strategy” for the eventuality of a full-blown war with mainland China, as the island’s armed forces, outnumbered by the People’s Liberation Army in both headcount and weapons, seeks to avoid head-on encounters with advancing Chinese ships, planes and troops.

Taiwan will instead deploy its nimble fast attack missile boats at sea, gun-based close-in weapons in the air, and medium-range anti-tank missiles and minelayers offshore and on the ground, Taipei-based Liberty Times quoted an anonymous Defense Ministry official as saying.

The source said the ministry had been pressing ahead with the program of developing fast, highly maneuverable attack missile boats, in what has been called “minnows vs big fish” tactics, to confuse, disrupt and stave off big Chinese destroyers and landing ships.

These small assault boats will resemble fishing boats or yachts will be able to sail close to a PLA fleet and even “mingle with” the big ships of the adversary, stand by, and then launch missiles at close range.

And even if they are spotted inside the invading PLA armada, chances are that these missile boats will not be attacked, as otherwise PLA ships nearby may also be endangered, the theory goes.

The Taiwanese air force’s vulnerability has come to be seen as more critical in the face of PLA warplanes’ circumnavigations at the edges of Taiwan’s airspace, which have in effect rendered the island’s outer defenses nearly non-existent.

The Defense Ministry has thus pinned its hopes on new point-defense weapon systems. Gun-based close-in weapon systems consisting of radars, multiple-barrel rotary rapid-fire cannons and the like placed on rotating gun mounts, as well as missile systems with infrared radar terminal guidance, will reportedly be the bulwarks against threats from Chinese bombers and fighters should they pierce through Taiwan’s air border.

These close-in weapons systems will also protect installations on Taiwan’s Pacific coast, particularly the Chiashan Base’s underground complex and fighter hangars in Hualien county.

Apparently the Taiwanese military needs more anti-tank missiles and minelayers to combat enemy armor in anti-amphibious operations.

Besides the main island of Taiwan, anti-tank mines will also be laid off the two outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu facing mainland China, along the routes likely to be taken by the PLA should battles develop.

The Defense Ministry aims to procure the new equipment first from domestic suppliers and would only consider sourcing from overseas if local contractors are unable to develop or produce this weaponry.

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Taiwan to count on missiles, miniaturized‭ warships

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