Home » Sea » AirSea Battle » Taiwan Builds Missile Defense Shield in Face of Chinese Missile Buildup

Taiwan Builds Missile Defense Shield in Face of Chinese Missile Buildup

by Greg on September 8, 2010

While those of us who follow these issues read reports and news accounts breathlessly detailing China’s buildup of missiles opposite Taiwan, we seldom hear if Taiwan is doing anything to boost its missile defenses; although we hear a lot about the never ending drama surrounding the F-16 aircraft sale.

As would be expected, Taiwan is building up a “missile defense shield” in response to those 1,600 some odd Chinese missiles pointed in its direction. The latest addition will be six Patriot III batteries and a long-range early warning radar system, according to this news report; the defenses are expected to be in place by the end of the year.

Now, what Taiwan really needs is a bunch of Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) units, like the units we’re selling to the UAE. Although, it sounds like Lockheed Martin is having trouble building the missiles fast enough.

– Greg Grant

Share |

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Byron Skinner September 8, 2010 at 9:38 am

Good Morning Folks,

I've seen over heads of many of the PRC's military activity on the mainland, I can count ships, planes, buildings, see roads etc. but for the like of me with 1,600 (this week, it was 1,900 two weeks ago) where are the overheads of these missile instillations?

Since most of the PRC's missiles, both cruise and ballistic are liquid fueled there has to be fueling complexes someplace. We have been told that most if not all are on mobile launchers so where are the roads.?

To find the likely areas just draw range circles for Taiwan and look into those zones. If one takes the trouble to do this they will quickly see that there are not a lot of areas that are suitable as launching sites for ballistic missiles and it must be assumed that the PRC's very limited range cruise missiles would have to be fired as close as possible to the coast line. Most likely you can eliminate the populated areas since missiles unlike mortars, cruise and ballistic missiles can't be move around in taxis and fired for back yards. If these weapons do in fact exist and are "pointed at Taiwan" then they must be in some sort of readiness and not in storage.

Also if the PRC was in a threatening mode towards Taiwan they would be developing staging areas for massing troops, moving the PLAN to the Central Fleet?

It wouldn't make any since to just lob some missiles at Taiwan and not invade, would it?

We have overhead imaging from several sources of the bases in the Beijing Military District and those large warehouse buildings the PRC says are their missile storage facilities that we can see Greg.

Sorry Greg, but without any hard non Photoshopped evidence of the existence of these 500-1,200-1,500-1,900 or what ever they are just imaginary and exist in sick minds.

ALLONS,

Byron Skinner

Reply

Oblat September 8, 2010 at 10:35 am

This story is nonsense 6 Batteries against 1600 IRBMs, everyone in Taiwan knows it's a joke system just for public consumption.

The funny thing is that in the face of global competition Americas are becoming even less interested in China and the rest of the world. So we have clueless stories like this and the previous one followed by a raft of comments by frightened little girls.

Reply

Mad_Hatter September 8, 2010 at 11:34 am

Says the arm chair military general

Reply

Ing3nium September 8, 2010 at 1:58 pm

6 Batteries? Do you even know what a battery is? Lets assume full batteries of 8 launches each. Each launcher can hold up to 4 pac-2 or 16 pac-3s. So in a pack 3 configuration 6 batteries could hold up to 768 missiles. But most likely your going to have a mix of Pac-2 / pac-3 as each has its own strengths. But at a minimum 6 batteries would have 192 availible missiles. Plus the ability to repenlish.

Taiwain already has patriot batteries from previous orders. Perhaps not a perfect shield, but its not insignificant either.

Reply

anonimous September 8, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Oblat think that a battery is this! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battery_(electricity

Reply

Icysquirrel September 8, 2010 at 7:06 pm

What's the official intercept success rate for the PAC-3? I recall that the Israeli Patriot sites in 1991 had either a 10% or a 40% success rate, depending on which source you listen to.

The Saudi Patriot sites in the same conflict fired 3 missiles for every SCUD intercept (according to wikipedia, mind you), with an overall success rate of 70%, but a per-missile success rate of just shy of 25%. These were all PAC-2s, but unless PAC-3 offers massively improved intercept rates Taiwan will need something like 7,000 missiles to intercept a full-scale IRBM strike.

Reply

Tim September 8, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Wikipedia stated the success rate for PAC-3 in Saudi Arabia was 70-80% and in Isreael was 40-50%, with at least three known friendly fire that even downed a Royal AF Tornado and a USN F-18. Nevertheless, the PAC-3 is still the most succesful anti-missile missile in the world due to its trial by fire. The Russians touted their S-300 and S-400 as the better alternative -as it may be the case- but these have never been tested against a US or NATO missile or aircraft.

Reply

fobbit September 8, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Are the main factors for these successes simply missile maneuverability and targeting/tracking capabilities? Is that really what the difference is between missile intercept technologies?

Sev September 9, 2010 at 12:25 am

Dude it's wikipedia. And they always put a slant against Israel (only 30-40%) while Saudis have an 80% rate. Althoug I'm sure the Saudis had far fewer missiles to contend with than Israel so I guess that could account for the higher success rate,

@Earlydawn September 9, 2010 at 1:35 am

Bear in mind that the Saudi Arabia engagements happened during a bunch of software updates. Plus, anti-missile technology has made leaps and bounds since Gulf One, so I'm sure there's been major block updates.

Icysquirrel September 9, 2010 at 1:56 am

It's a pretty impressive feat for Israel to have fielded PAC-3s in Desert Storm when the US Army didn't select a missile to be used for PAC-3 until FY1994.

Sven Ortmann September 9, 2010 at 10:51 am

Six batteries aren't much. Their fire control couldn't coordinate enough interceptor missiles against a good saturation attack. The radar has its target tracking limits, for example. It's not only about the quantity of available interceptor missiles.

Such ATBM assets could motivate a strike of all ready missiles at once – and this would be less efficient for the attacker who would need to send multiple missiles per required hit instead of firing, BDA, possible repeat.

They should modernize their army. Their expenditures focuses on sexy navy and air force big ticket items, meanwhile the army is mostly stuck in the 50's and 60's.

Reply

Nidi September 9, 2010 at 11:35 am

Maybe the fact that China has virtually no amphibious landing capability , but numerically significant naval and air capability is why Taiwan focuses on those areas and neglects their army?

Reply

Stephen Wagstaff September 8, 2010 at 11:06 am

A fuller counter to the Chinese IRBM buildup would include hardening Taiwanese aircraft shelters and adding point defenses to them. The deployment of accurate ground-launched cruise missiles and short-range ballistic missiles by Taiwan could further enhance their deterrence by putting valuable Chinese assets at risk.

Reply

Helloshitty September 8, 2010 at 11:24 am

very true….taiwan has to change their tactic from one of a defense to one of counter attacks. They need to make it so that key military assets can survive an initial chinese missile assault and be able to score a counter blow. It would change the cross straight balance if the chinese knew that taiwan could sink their amphibious fleet before it even reached the shore

Reply

Nadnerbus September 9, 2010 at 4:10 am

I second (or 13th) that sentiment, though I can understand why Taiwan would be hesitant to make a move that could be interpreted as provocative. Their main ally is the US, and the US is not looking so staunch right now. Giving the Chinese a reason to scream about a "Taiwanese first strike capability" or some such at this particular point in time might seem like more of a risk than a security hedge.

Reply

Tony C September 8, 2010 at 11:41 am

Taiwan is in no position to counter the mainland missile attack, but could mount a devastating counterattack against the mainland amphibious assault force sent to invade the island. The
missiles could do a lot of damage to the Taiwan infrastructure, but if key assets are well protected, could survive the initial attack to be used to stop an invasion. This is Taiwan's only hope to prevent invasion and subjugation.

Reply

Bill September 8, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Just a thought on the issue:

What if Taiwan had nuclear deterrence? It would be pointless for China to nuke Taiwan, as it would ruin the island for quite sometime, nor would they invade for fear of being nuked themselves. It seems the conflict is mostly China shouting and Taiwan saying leave me alone, perhaps this would shut them up?

Reply

pittguy September 8, 2010 at 2:31 pm

I believe they did have a nuclear weapons program years ago, but we made them shut it down. Not only would China not tolerate Taiwanese nuclear capability, but it would put the US in a very awkward position in terms of the NPT.

Reply

Chops September 8, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Eventually China is going to make a play for Taiwan-it's just a matter of how many casualties they are willing to take for something they don't really need.Their economy is strong and their manufacturing ability is strong so other than pride why are the forcing the issue?

Reply

Swig September 8, 2010 at 1:59 pm

I'm just not sure I see China ever mounting an acutal invasion of Taiwan. Many people speculate that American carrier groups couldn't get there fast enough to help. My thoughts would be how many US Navy vessels would have been parked around Taiwan for weeks or months as the US intelligence community watched the impossible to hide preparations on the Chinese coast. Those Chinese missiles (many of which might be little better that SCUD's) would make a mess of Taipei but I don't see them defeating Taiwan in one foul swoop. Ahhh pride, there we go, let's distract our citizens from internal problems to focus on an external threat or issue…. great idea, other countries should try it :)

Reply

Brian Mulholland September 8, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Pride is a good enough reason. They have every reason to believe that the world is their oyster; it already is their market. And it will be immensely popular at home, the sort of thing that would secure any particular Chief Executive who was feeling insecure. "Recovering" Taiwan would be seen as a strong China's recovering that which the Western (especially American) imperialists had torn from China in a time of weakness. The only restraint would be the calculus of cost, and i doubt any resistance that Taiwan could mount would even matter. The real cost would be uniting the rest of Asia in a de facto alliance of states badly frightened of China. Noo government would want to see China encircled, from India to Japan (and possibly including Russia) of states in unstated alliance against it.

Reply

Maxtrue September 8, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Taiwan is a wealthy country. Israel is pretty wealthy too with a good defense sector. Japan is very wealthy. Why don't these countries put a large amount of money into a missile defense system of their own including DEW. Add Korea too. Its not like they have things like carriers and nuclear subs to build. Even a serious ballistic missile program would be intelligent. Israel and Japan already have key legs. The more China presses, the more Japan and Taiwan might move forward with nukes. And when this blog flags Chinese activities, remember, the whole world isn't keen to Chinese hegemony including the Russians. Chinese strength is relative to the collective counter…….

Reply

DanS September 8, 2010 at 2:07 pm

So as the old guard of Nationalists die off and the eventual peaceful merger between the PRC and Taiwan occurs, the PRC will have access to more western tech. Great idea. It won't be an invasion, it'll be a peaceful transfer ala Hong Kong. I just hope we finally sell them those Burke knockoffs, so all the China hawks can really look like asses. There will be no war with China, the banks, and chamber of commerce won't allow it. As half my income is coming from international sources, I won't be supporting anyone who advocates for confrontation.

Reply

Don Draper September 8, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Does the patriot missle system even work?

Reply

slash3r September 8, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Does it work? Are you serious?

Reply

roland September 8, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Just curious. How can 6 Patriot bateries missiles interceptors stop 1,600 incoming missiles all at the same time?

Reply

roland September 8, 2010 at 10:39 pm

6 missile interceptor can't make out with 1,600 incoming missiles all in one time. There is something wrong in the math.

Reply

@Earlydawn September 9, 2010 at 1:37 am

Why do you think the Chinese can launch 1,600 missiles at once? They'll certainly be launched in volleys, but there's still a lot to it – loading, fueling, targeting, etc.

Reply

roland September 10, 2010 at 1:58 pm

You'll be surprise by what they can do and what they already have.
http://weapons.technology.youngester.com/2009/09/http://forum.globaltimes.cn/forum/showthread.php?…

The thing is we (US) maybe drag into another war nobody wants, when China attacks Taiwan

Reply

roland September 10, 2010 at 2:02 pm
mareo2 September 8, 2010 at 8:17 pm

How Terminal "High Altitude" Air Defense is going to stop low flying chinese cruise missiles? Because most fo the 1600 missiles is made of them.

Reply

Jeff September 9, 2010 at 12:10 am

To put all this into perspective, Germany launched about 8,500 V-1's and 1,100 V-2's against England. Each carried a 2,000 lbs payload of HE and killed about 25,000 people in the process. With the same payloads it would take between 70-100 missiles to strike each major Taiwanese military facility and each would have to make direct hits to cause the required damage to inflict a 30-50% decrease in unit fighting ability. However, do not forget the struggle we endured to take islands from the Japanese that were 1/30th the size of Taiwan. The Taiwanese could hold out for several months of devastating battle allowing for a reinforcement force to arrive.

Reply

Oblat September 9, 2010 at 2:50 am

If China stopped issuing business visas the Taiwanese government would capitulate in a week.

The missile defense is just for show – and America's defense industry likes it because it makes it look like it's actually useful.

Reply

blight September 9, 2010 at 9:55 am

What's on the perimeter islands that prevents them from simply being bypassed?

Reply

STemplar September 9, 2010 at 3:27 pm

SAMs, anti ship cruise missiles, land attack missiles, in some cases plain old artillery to rain down on an amphib task force.

Reply

Byron Skinner September 9, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Good Afternoon Folks,

The issue hinted at here but never mentioned is of course how many mobile launchers does the PRC have?

An estimate is that of all types including truck bed mounts for cruise missiles to dedicated vehicles for BM's the number is around 200.

Assuming that all would be operational at the same time, the PLA has a vehicle readiness rating in the 50 percentile range, they could launch a rather small missile strike at Taiwan. All experts agree that there wouldn't be a second strike.

Some rather gullible assumptions must be made here. That the Taiwanese would see this coming, that China is organized enough to carry out a strike followed by an invasion of Taiwan. That Taiwan would put up defensive if not proactive strikes before the PRC could bet its forces in position.

All this is about is US right wing think tanks, in pay, from Taiwan trying to shake down the American taxpayer for more money to the Nationalist Government on Taiwan.

The average conventional payload is in the 200Kg-300Kg range. The amount of damage a small strike like this considering the accuracy of the PRC's missiles is rather minimal to Taiwan. In short "Shock and Awe" is not going to happen any time soon.

ALLONS,

Byron Skinner

Reply

Tim September 9, 2010 at 12:57 pm

What's the point of a saturation attack when China still can't follow up with a beachhead invasion or paratroopers on the ground? To simply launch a missile attack with no plan to finish the job would put China in a very bad position with the rest of the world. But putting boots in the ground one battalion at a time is just going to invite slaughter.

Furthermore, no one mentioned how accurate those 1600 Chinese missiles can be. For all we know, 50/50 could be duds or missing their intended targets. There may be a reason why Taiwan can slowly furnish its anti-missile capability. Numbers don't mean squad until they are proven to be deadly accurate and the Chinese ain't telling.

Reply

roland September 9, 2010 at 5:51 pm

If I were Taiwan I would place mines along it's sea territory in an event of confromtations.

Reply

Oblat September 9, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Nobody in Taiwan is foolish enough to think that the islands are any form of defense in reality.

Reply

STemplar September 10, 2010 at 4:43 am

Apparently some in the Taiwanese military don't agree with you, since they are the ones that deployed 50,000 troops to the outlying islands. I also think the Chinese government doesn't agree with your assessment. They would very much like the Taiwanese to remove their forces from Dongyin.

Reply

Oblat September 9, 2010 at 9:52 pm

The reality is that Taiwan's deterrence rests solely on the ability to drag the US into the conflict.
That's why they have been underspending on defense for decades now – because it doesn't matter. Just ask the right wing think tanks they are livid about how Taiwan is exploiting the US while maintaining a massive trade imbalance.

But in Washington it is just put it down to the costs of empire.

Reply

STemplar September 10, 2010 at 4:51 am

As a % of GDP Taiwan spends as much or more than most NATO countries. They're around 3% currently, which really puts them higher than all of NATO currently, and much higher than Japan.

Reply

longshadow September 10, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Don't forget about the 3 aircraft carriers that the Chinese are building.. (due in 2016).

Reply

roland September 13, 2010 at 4:15 am

Just give them the handshake and a smile.

Reply

Icysquirrel September 9, 2010 at 1:54 am

The 40% figure was one I saw in the Israeli media as well, and I was there during Desert Storm 1. However, that rate was at least in part attributed to a most embarrassing SCUD tendency to fall apart in mid-air, according to an ex-soviet РХБЗ (radiological/chemical/biological defense forces) officer I spoke to.

Reply

Icysquirrel September 9, 2010 at 1:57 am

Sorry, Gulf 1 not Desert Storm 1

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: