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Thread: Will China Invade Taiwan?

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    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TV and credit cards View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    I think what Xi Jinping has in mind is unification, like what happened with Hong Kong. I somehow doubt China will invade Taiwan. While China's economy keeps expanding Xi Jinping's position in China is secure. Why would he risk that?

    China is not Russia. Jinping doesn't sit as security as Putin does.
    To be the leader who reunified that last piece of China would be quite an accomplishment for Xi Jinping and a very proud moment for China.

    Though I think China will work toward breaking the morale of Taiwan. To let them know they will never be safe, will be constantly harassed as long as they continue to resist.
    I can’t see any military action being taken by China. Al least not until after the 2022 Olympics.
    Yeah, exactly. I think it is harassment. Not a prelude to war

  2. Top | #42
    Veteran Member funinspace's Avatar
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    A mishmash of thoughts on some of the things I've read on this thread...

    Firstly, I don't see China invading Taiwan any time soon. For one thing, each year that goes by China gains economic and military advantage. Second, the world depends on Taiwan for 60% of it's microprocessors (and the most advanced in production). So even if China would loose access, so would the world. But either way, yeah the world economy would get flushed... I also doubt they would have to bomb the island to smithereens to get control.

    Taiwan's military has a lot of improving to do. They are now getting their first batch of the most modern F-16 C/D's, to compliment their 113 aging F-16's. First, this is a small number of fighters. Second, the addition may not be any better than the latest Chinese fighters. The PRC has roughly 600 plus relatively modern fighter jets, as well as relatively modern AWACs.

    This article starts off about their effort to get their first modern dedicated mine launching ships (they now have one, since this was written in 2019).
    https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zon...g-capabilities
    The present state of affairs has only underscored the limitations of Taiwan's aging military, as a whole. The country is in the process of upgrading its F-16 Viper fighter jet fleet and is now looking to acquire more modern main battle tanks, among a host of other initiatives.
    <snip>
    But questions remain about whether Taiwan has the resources to actually pursue all of these major military modernization programs, especially with regards to its Navy. The country’ submarine production schedule is particularly aggressive, with the goal of having the shipyard, which is just now itself under construction, deliver the first of eight new boats by 2024.

    Cost considerations could certainly help explain the shift in focus toward naval mining. Taiwan would hardly be the first small Navy to go this route in order to present credible obstacles against larger potential opponents.

    Still, a focus on asymmetric capabilities notwithstanding, Taiwan simply does not have the industrial capacity to match that of mainland China. If Lung Teh does end up building all eight new corvettes based on the Tou Chiang design by 2025, it will only be building one or two of these small ships each year, while the Chinese churn out significant numbers of submarines and major surface combatants, including multiple examples of the new advanced Type 055 destroyer.
    China now has more combat ships than the US, not that this make it superior in any way. However, they can place 30 plus attack subs in the field. They also have a couple thousand SRBM's that could quickly overwhelm defense systems and probably take most all of Taiwan's airfields out of commission within 24 hours. With 200 or so fighter/bombers coming in right behind the SRBM's, I don't see Taiwan's defenses holding up very well. Then China would have full air superiority.

    SRBM Ref: https://missilethreat.csis.org/country/china/

    If China intended to invade, I doubt they would do like the US with their 6 month build up for Iraq. As I doubt that their leaders fear the reaction to the death of a few thousand of their solders, they could risk a fast moving attack without having the most obvious and visible preparations. Tied to one of their usual big military exercises, that could be turned to an invasion effort within 48 hours, to support all the small advanced efforts that could be kept secret. Also, unless war was super obvious, would Taiwan really lay mines in their own shipping and fishing areas? Personally, I would expect that Taiwan would wait until it was too late to matter.

    (assuming a surprise China attack) If the US wanted to come to Taiwan's aid, the fighter jets would probably have to come in via air craft carrier. This would literally be the first US war since WWII where we were fully dependent on US carrier based air support (bombers could still fly in). We would probably not want to attack the Chinese mainland for fear of broadening the war front to places like Korea. And personally, I doubt that Japan would join the fray. So, I'm not sure just how hard a land invasion would be, if China had air superiority, and were not facing significant interference by mines. Again, not that I expect it to happen...

    One of China's weak points is their large dependency on imported oil, which would be easy to chock off...another good article pretty much on this topic:
    https://asiatimes.com/2021/05/china-...t-war-for-now/

    China now has 2 modern amphibious assault ships:
    https://www.reuters.com/investigates...ry-amphibious/
    he 40,000-tonne Type 075 ships are a kind of small aircraft carrier with accommodation for up to 900 troops and space for heavy equipment and landing craft, according to Western military experts who have studied satellite images and photographs of the new vessels. They will carry up to 30 helicopters at first; later they could carry fighter jets, if China can build short take off and vertical landing aircraft like the U.S. F-35B.

    The first Type 075 was launched last September and the second in April, according to reports in China’s official military media

  3. Top | #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Rhea View Post
    I didn’t realize the Taiwanese had so much defensive firepower.
    It doesn't take that much to stop an amphibious invasion. You need overwhelming firepower to force a landing and it's gotten much harder to do that these days. The Harpoon missile can be fired from land vehicles, it probably could be jury-rigged to fire from a large pickup although the driver would have to flee before launch. A bunch of them are hiding 30 miles inland. You'll need some very good air defenses to keep your landing fleet out of Davy Jones' locker. Or what happens when you seed your coastal waters with command-controlled CAPTOR mines? Near the coast there's going to be a lot of crud on the sea floor, sweeping them is going to be very, very hard--and the invaders will be sitting ducks while they're trying to sweep them--and can you be confident you got all of them? Miss one and you'll only find out when sonar screams "torpedo!"
    Air defenses against the Taiwan defenders aren't very important if the Taiwanese air force is previously destroyed, mostly on the ground by a massive missile attack. Still, it's not easy to beat the ground forces in their own territory.
    No--I'm not talking about aircraft. I'm sure China can establish air superiority over Taiwan. The Harpoon is an anti-ship missile. While the ground-launch version isn't widely used it does exist. I'm saying China would need very good anti-air defenses over Taiwan to knock it down before it finds the amphibious assault ship. It's a sea-skimmer which means most of the older aircraft and missiles won't be able to engage--the good stuff can but they don't have all that much of it. (A simple radar seeker can't see a sea-skimmer at all, you have to have a doppler radar to distinguish the missile from the ocean.)

    It takes time to lock up the rocket lifting off. Once it's locked up you have to study it for a bit to figure out whether it's a real missile or just a basically harmless artillery bombardment rocket. (If it settles down to sea-skimming it's real.) Then it comes down to a race between whether your missile gets there before the ship gets hit. And what if the guys shooting the Harpoon carefully arranged it so the target is in the way? An anti-air cruiser won't be able to lock it up at all, it would have to be shot down by an aircraft.

    And that harmless artillery rocket? What if it's a GPS-guided version aimed at where some spotters have figured out the ship is going to be? Protecting the ships is not easy. And you didn't even address the CAPTOR threat.

  4. Top | #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Since WWII it's been essentially impossible to make an opposed amphibious landing without air supremacy. Ships are so vulnerable to modern aircraft that they cannot operate in areas where an enemy airforce has even fairly limited capability. Look at the Falklands - a tiny number of Argentine aircraft and aircrews were able to sink Royal Naval vessels that had state of the art defences and their own air support.
    The defenses didn't matter--they never tried to engage. The problem is the computer correctly identified the inbound as "Exocet" and incorrectly concluded it was friendly.

  5. Top | #45
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post

    Air defenses against the Taiwan defenders aren't very important if the Taiwanese air force is previously destroyed, mostly on the ground by a massive missile attack. Still, it's not easy to beat the ground forces in their own territory.
    No--I'm not talking about aircraft. I'm sure China can establish air superiority over Taiwan. The Harpoon is an anti-ship missile. While the ground-launch version isn't widely used it does exist. I'm saying China would need very good anti-air defenses over Taiwan to knock it down before it finds the amphibious assault ship. It's a sea-skimmer which means most of the older aircraft and missiles won't be able to engage--the good stuff can but they don't have all that much of it. (A simple radar seeker can't see a sea-skimmer at all, you have to have a doppler radar to distinguish the missile from the ocean.)

    It takes time to lock up the rocket lifting off. Once it's locked up you have to study it for a bit to figure out whether it's a real missile or just a basically harmless artillery bombardment rocket. (If it settles down to sea-skimming it's real.) Then it comes down to a race between whether your missile gets there before the ship gets hit. And what if the guys shooting the Harpoon carefully arranged it so the target is in the way? An anti-air cruiser won't be able to lock it up at all, it would have to be shot down by an aircraft.

    And that harmless artillery rocket? What if it's a GPS-guided version aimed at where some spotters have figured out the ship is going to be? Protecting the ships is not easy. And you didn't even address the CAPTOR threat.
    Air superiority isn't good enough.

    When one plane can take out one ship, you need air supremacy, unless you are happy to have your ships become artificial reefs.

  6. Top | #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post

    Air defenses against the Taiwan defenders aren't very important if the Taiwanese air force is previously destroyed, mostly on the ground by a massive missile attack. Still, it's not easy to beat the ground forces in their own territory.
    No--I'm not talking about aircraft. I'm sure China can establish air superiority over Taiwan. The Harpoon is an anti-ship missile. While the ground-launch version isn't widely used it does exist. I'm saying China would need very good anti-air defenses over Taiwan to knock it down before it finds the amphibious assault ship. It's a sea-skimmer which means most of the older aircraft and missiles won't be able to engage--the good stuff can but they don't have all that much of it. (A simple radar seeker can't see a sea-skimmer at all, you have to have a doppler radar to distinguish the missile from the ocean.)

    It takes time to lock up the rocket lifting off. Once it's locked up you have to study it for a bit to figure out whether it's a real missile or just a basically harmless artillery bombardment rocket. (If it settles down to sea-skimming it's real.) Then it comes down to a race between whether your missile gets there before the ship gets hit. And what if the guys shooting the Harpoon carefully arranged it so the target is in the way? An anti-air cruiser won't be able to lock it up at all, it would have to be shot down by an aircraft.

    And that harmless artillery rocket? What if it's a GPS-guided version aimed at where some spotters have figured out the ship is going to be? Protecting the ships is not easy. And you didn't even address the CAPTOR threat.
    Ah, I see what you mean now.
    I do not think GPS-guided weapons would be a problem for China. They'll probably have no problem taking out GPS in the region when they attack. They already can do that by taking out the satellites, but maybe they can do it in a temporary manner already, and if not, they will have that capability when they attack - I'm pretty sure they won't risk attack by GPS. It's too much of a risk, and the capabilities to counter it are already known and available to China; at most, they may want to scale up some of them, which they can before this decade's end.

    The harpoon missiles Taiwan has so far are either ship-launched or aircraft-launched as far as I know. Granted they might be adapted for ground-based use, but it seems they haven't been for whatever reason. Now, Taiwanese submarines still might use it, but surface ships and aircraft will probably be goners before China attempts to land. And China's type 075 will probably be escorted by Type 55 and anti-submarine ships and planes.

    But, there's a deal so that Taiwan can get 400 land-based harpoon missiles. If they get it, yes, that's a problem for China. However,
    Quote Originally Posted by Forbes article
    There are gaps owing to the Harpoon’s fairly modest, 70-mile range. But air-launched Harpoons with their somewhat greater range—100 miles or so—could cover that gap. It’s not for no reason that Taiwan frequently stages F-16 fighters—Taipei’s only jet that’s compatible with the Harpoon—at Penghu.
    China could take out the airfields and the F16s first, then go for the gaps. If they want to cover that, they'll need more harpoons, or more precisely new places to launch them from.


    Of course, China can always go for the option of destroying ports and airfields and blockade Taiwan for years.

  7. Top | #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post

    Air defenses against the Taiwan defenders aren't very important if the Taiwanese air force is previously destroyed, mostly on the ground by a massive missile attack. Still, it's not easy to beat the ground forces in their own territory.
    No--I'm not talking about aircraft. I'm sure China can establish air superiority over Taiwan. The Harpoon is an anti-ship missile. While the ground-launch version isn't widely used it does exist. I'm saying China would need very good anti-air defenses over Taiwan to knock it down before it finds the amphibious assault ship. It's a sea-skimmer which means most of the older aircraft and missiles won't be able to engage--the good stuff can but they don't have all that much of it. (A simple radar seeker can't see a sea-skimmer at all, you have to have a doppler radar to distinguish the missile from the ocean.)

    It takes time to lock up the rocket lifting off. Once it's locked up you have to study it for a bit to figure out whether it's a real missile or just a basically harmless artillery bombardment rocket. (If it settles down to sea-skimming it's real.) Then it comes down to a race between whether your missile gets there before the ship gets hit. And what if the guys shooting the Harpoon carefully arranged it so the target is in the way? An anti-air cruiser won't be able to lock it up at all, it would have to be shot down by an aircraft.

    And that harmless artillery rocket? What if it's a GPS-guided version aimed at where some spotters have figured out the ship is going to be? Protecting the ships is not easy. And you didn't even address the CAPTOR threat.
    Air superiority isn't good enough.

    When one plane can take out one ship, you need air supremacy, unless you are happy to have your ships become artificial reefs.
    When you destroy all of the airfields from which the planes can operate - and the aircraft based on it -, you got air supremacy - well, if you have planes. But in any case, what China would have to do is destroy all of the airfields using missiles, regardless of how many planes of its own it can use.

  8. Top | #48
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post

    Air superiority isn't good enough.

    When one plane can take out one ship, you need air supremacy, unless you are happy to have your ships become artificial reefs.
    When you destroy all of the airfields from which the planes can operate - and the aircraft based on it -, you got air supremacy - well, if you have planes. But in any case, what China would have to do is destroy all of the airfields using missiles, regardless of how many planes of its own it can use.
    Sure.

    But destroying all of Taiwan's airfields isn't something China can just do. There's likely to be a defensive response from Taiwan against any attempt to do that.

    And if the US decides that they're not entirely happy with China attacking Taiwan, they have plenty of aircraft carriers that can supply air defence to the Taiwanese, if the airfields are permanently (or semi-permanently) taken out.

    So the whole thing really does depend on the US remaining neutral - which seems highly unlikely.

  9. Top | #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby
    But destroying all of Taiwan's airfields isn't something China can just do. There's likely to be a defensive response from Taiwan against any attempt to do that.
    From what I read, yes, China can just do that. And yes, there would certainly be a defensive response. But it would be insufficient. China's missiles can overwhelm the missile defenses with numbers, destroying them alongside the airfields, even if the defenses could target and destroy China's missiles in smaller numbers. That is without even using have hypersonic gliding vehicles capable (even individually) of avoiding any air defenses. China may not have many of those yet, but they are operational and China will have plenty in a few years - but even without them, just making more and more DF26 would keep overwhelming the defenses.


    Quote Originally Posted by bilby
    And if the US decides that they're not entirely happy with China attacking Taiwan, they have plenty of aircraft carriers that can supply air defence to the Taiwanese, if the airfields are permanently (or semi-permanently) taken out.
    Yes, the question is whether the carries can get close enough to launch their planes without being destroyed. China is making more and more flying-wing stealth drones, which can be used and target the carriers. And they already have the missiles to take them out. I do not know whether the carriers would survive now, but I think they very probably won't in a few years (barring a very big breakthrough in military tech).

    Quote Originally Posted by bilby
    So the whole thing really does depend on the US remaining neutral - which seems highly unlikely.
    I agree it's unlikely. But I don't think they US is likely to win that war. Maybe today, but in several years, it seems very difficult. Then again, there is always the chance of big breakthroughs in military tech by either side so who knows.

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    I’d send troops in on Trojan container ships.

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