What If Taiwan's Air Force Was Blown Up On the Ground by Chinese Missiles?

Sebastien Roblin

Key point: Beijing has thousands of missiles and believes it could overwhelm Taiwan with them in a surprise attack during a war. Could bunkers be a good-enough solution to protect Taipei's vulnerable aircraft?

After dithering for weeks, on August 15 the Trump administration informed Congress it would authorize the sale of sixty-six newly-manufactured F-16V fighters to Taiwan for $8 billion—a move which is certain to infuriate Beijing, which considers Taiwan a renegade province.

Though the deal is not technically finalized, Taipei will jump at the rare opportunity to purchase new jet fighters to reinforce its aging fleet of combat aircraft. Theoretically, its air force may be called upon to face off against nearly four or five times their number of Chinese combat aircraft, should Beijing resort to using military force against the island.

But for Taiwan’s out-numbered fighters to have any impact at all, they must first make it off the ground—and that could become impossible due the 1,300 ballistic missiles and hundreds of air-, sea-, and ground-launched cruise missiles the People’s Liberation Army can array against the island.

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