‘Delay, degrade and deny’ – US to arm Taiwan with advanced ‘asymmetric weapons’ to repel China

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As the Chinese military steps up its hostile actions around Taiwan, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved a comprehensive bill to provide billions of dollars in additional security aid.

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Under decades-old legislation, the United States has equipped Taiwan with weapons to protect itself. However, the 2022 Taiwan Policy Act would go beyond that by providing security aid worth $4.5 billion over four years.

Moreover, he supports Taipei’s membership in international organizations and spells out the consequences against Beijing if it tries to annex the island it claims as its territory.

The Taiwan Policy Act of 2022, drafted by US Senators Bob Menendez and Lindsey Graham, was passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 14.

One of the main provisions of the measure calls for providing Taiwan with additional armaments and support, which costs billions of dollars to increase its security.

The proposed law would give Taiwan the title of “major non-NATO ally”, which is reserved for the closest US allies outside of the transatlantic alliance. The bill also stipulates that the United States will also send weapons “conducive to deterring acts of aggression” from China.

Lawmakers moved forward on the bill following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Chinese military exercises after Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei in early August.

Menendez, who led a Senate delegation to Taiwan in April to meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, said the United States “is not looking for war or heightened tensions with Beijing”, but must be “clear-headed”. .

“We are cautiously and strategically reducing the existential threats Taiwan faces by increasing the cost of taking the island by force so that it becomes too risky and impractical,” Senator Menendez added.

File Image: Chinese DF-17 Hypersonic Missile

A range of asymmetric weapons

The measure aims to improve Taiwan’s defense capabilities to better “delay, degrade and deny” efforts by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to carry out activities in the gray area, enter the Taiwan Straits or obtain an “accommodation in Taiwan”.

It will also prevent the PLA from “decapitating, taking over, incapacitating or rendering ineffective” the government of Taiwan.

The Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense are required to establish these new initiatives under the title “Taiwan Security Assistance Initiative” to accelerate the modernization of Taiwan’s defense capabilities to “deter or, if necessary, defeat an invasion of Taiwan by the People’s Republic of China”. ”

The full range of asymmetric weapons that should be considered for Taiwan acquisition are highlighted in this section.

Long range precision fires

One of the main focus areas is missile defense systems, which can give Taipei various choices to repel the Chinese invasion. The most critical capability the United States will strive to provide Taiwan is long-range precision strike capability.

In its 2021 Quadrennial Defense Review, Taiwan underline on constantly building up its long-range strike capabilities. Long Range Conventional Precision Strike Systems (LRCPS) would contribute significantly to Taipei’s deterrent position.

M142 HIMARS - Wikipedia
M142 HIMARS – Wikipedia

Taiwan is currently focusing on developing missiles that can be fired from aircraft or from the ground to attack the mainland. Although shrouded in secrecy, Taiwanese efforts appear to be focused on the supersonic Yun Feng and the subsonic Hsiung Feng IIE.

On the American side, the ATACMS tactical ballistic missile and HIMARS launchers are two of the best known systems that Washington has to offer. The 300 kilometer range of the HIMARS allows it to endanger PLA targets on the stretch of coast facing Taiwan.

Integrated air and missile defense systems

The United States will also seek to provide the island nation with integrated air and missile defense systems. The integrated air and missile defense system aims to combine various joint force capabilities to defend a specific area against fast air and missile threats.

Taiwan recently sign an $83 million contract with the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto U.S. embassy on the island, to upgrade its Patriot Advanced Capability 2 (PAC-2) and PAC-3 Guided Enhancement standards Missiles (GEM) with longer range missiles.

Taiwan has announced a new deal to upgrade its US-supplied Patriot missile defense system. Image: Twitter

With two different types of missiles, the PAC 3 GEM can intercept ballistic missiles at a range of 600 kilometers thanks to its extended range version.

The first batches of PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missiles have been ordered by Taiwan in 2021 in addition to legacy system upgrades, with delivery scheduled for 2025 and 2026.

Anti-ship and land attack cruise missiles and coastal defense

Anti-ship cruise missiles, land-attack cruise missiles and coastal defense systems are seen as key to eliminating China’s vastly stronger military force. The United States has already approved a potential $1.1 billion sale of military equipment to Taiwan, including 60 anti-ship missiles.

The transaction understand Sidewinder missiles, which can be used for air-to-air and surface attack operations, for an estimated $85.6 million, Harpoon anti-ship missiles for an estimated $355 million, and a support for Taiwan’s surveillance radar program for an estimated $665.4 million.

FILE - Servicemen prepare to load Harpoon A-84 anti-ship missiles onto an F16V fighter jet at Hualien Air Base in southeast Hualien County in Taiwan, August 17, 2022.
FILE – Military personnel prepare to load Harpoon A-84 anti-ship missiles onto an F16V fighter jet at Hualien Air Base in southeast Hualien County in Taiwan, August 17, 2022.

Boeing, the manufacturer of the Harpoon, also offers modern truck platforms for its “Harpoon Coastal Defense System“.

Taiwan bought 100 Harpoon coastal defense systems from the United States in 2020 for $2.4 billion, including 400 Harpoon missiles with a range of up to 75 miles (125 kilometers). Two new Harpoon system contracts worth over $700 million have been signed between Taiwan and the United States.

Maritime assets

The list also contains asymmetric maritime weapons that can help Taiwan deal with far superior Chinese naval forces. Submarine warfare, teeming sea resources for survival, and mining and counter-mining capabilities are the weapons Taipei could acquire from the United States.

Taiwan new minelayers are intended to use a range of modern mines to repel the PLA Navy. These technologies are part of a strategy to deter future invasion by China, which has massive and significant numerical military superiority in planes, ships and other weaponry.

Anti-armour weapons and drone systems

The list also includes anti-armour weapons and drone systems. These two systems, in particular, helped Ukraine resist the Russian invasion.

It was also recently reported that Taiwan is stockpiling American-made weapons used by Ukraine to repel the Russian military, an indication that Taipei is using the lessons of the conflict to deter China from threatening to take the island by force if necessary.

Taiwan Army Chief of Staff Chang Yuan-shiun recently told a briefing in Taipei that an order for Javelin anti-tank missiles had entered the production and delivery phase. Meanwhile, Taiwan has also signed a contract with the United States to acquire the US-made MQ-9B sea surveillance drones.

Under the new law, Taiwan will receive intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities as well as command and control systems.

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