Taiwan Builds Missile Defense Shield in Face of Chinese Missile Buildup

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

  • Byron Skinner

    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.


    Byron Skinner

  • Oblat

    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.

    • Mad_Hatter

      Says the arm chair military general

    • Ing3nium

      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.

  • Stephen Wagstaff

    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.

    • Helloshitty

      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

  • Tony C

    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.

  • Chops

    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?

  • Maxtrue

    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…….

  • DanS

    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.

  • Don Draper

    Does the patriot missle system even work?

    • slash3r

      Does it work? Are you serious?

  • roland

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

  • mareo2

    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.

  • Jeff

    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.

  • Oblat

    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.

  • blight

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

  • Byron Skinner

    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.


    Byron Skinner

  • Tim

    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.

  • roland

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

  • Oblat

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

  • Oblat

    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.

  • longshadow

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

  • roland

    Just give them the handshake and a smile.