Sunday, December 26, 2010

Keeping Their SLOC Open

Despite strides in power projection, the Chinese navy still has limited ability to operate east of Taiwan and survive the experience should the United States Navy and/or the Japanese fleet contest China's forces out there. So I expect that the main force that China would use east of Taiwan would be mostly older (and expendable--sorry crew) submarines that would lay mines to complicate our efforts to resupply Taiwan in case of war and screw up Taiwan's foreign civilian trade. (Although if I was in charge, I'd sacrifice a Shi Lang task force out there to slow down our response.)

Taiwan will soon have a very useful tool in keeping their sea lines of communication open:

The first of a dozen anti-submarine aircraft are set to go into service in Taiwan next year, local media reported Sunday, as east Asian governments look to counter an increasingly assertive China.

Washington agreed in 2007 to sell the refurbished P-3C Orion patrol aircraft, along with three non-operational machines for spares, and "the first ones will be delivered beginning next year," the Taipei-based China Times said.

"The surveillance range of Taiwan's anti-submarine fleet will expand tenfold after the P-3Cs join the navy," it quoted an unnamed military source as saying.

Anything that buys us the time to get to Taiwan will help deter China from starting a war--or win it if China starts one anyway.