However, these hopes are illusory. China's GDP today is at least 10 times higher than Taiwan's GDP. China’s scientific and technological capabilities are not lower than Taiwan’s, and its production capacity is not even much, but much more. Therefore, there can be no talk of maintaining a balance; China’s advantage will grow faster and faster without the slightest hope of changing the situation.
There is no reason to rely on the United States. In Taipei, and even in Beijing itself, they have not yet understood that America has already passed Taiwan, but has not yet decided how to issue this rent and what to get for it. There can be no talk of a big war with China: it was possible as long as it did not threaten America. Now such a war will inevitably turn into huge losses for the US Armed Forces, and for the country as a whole - by exorbitant financial expenses. Therefore, the containment of Beijing announced by Washington will consist in demonstrating the readiness of the US Armed Forces for the most decisive actions if China starts aggression against its neighbors (including Taiwan). Washington’s calculation is that both Beijing and its neighbors will believe in its determination. In fact, in the coming years, the confrontation between the United States and China will not be military, but psychological. The possibility of China’s expansion into neighboring countries and regions will be determined solely by whether Beijing can understand that the Americans are not ready for a real war against China. However, in any case, the ratio of the economic and military potentials of the United States and the People's Republic of China will inevitably change in favor of China, which will automatically contribute to the growth of Chinese resolve and a further decrease in American determination.
The only thing that so far allows Taiwan to maintain its de facto independence is the island position in the aggregate, with the complete absence of the experience of large-scale amphibious operations by the Chinese Navy. Reflect the landing of the assault is much easier than successfully landed.
Nevertheless, China has already achieved overwhelming superiority over Taiwan, both at sea and in the air, and it is constantly increasing. To understand this, it is enough to consider the composition of the forces of the parties. And to consider the ground forces of the PLA simply does not make sense. Comparing them with Taiwanese is like comparing a hammer and an egg in terms of impact capabilities.
In addition to the air force, the PLA also has a naval aviation, second only to the American one. Therefore, in the future, the Chinese Air Force will mean the sum of the Air Force itself and naval aviation.
The strike aircraft of China includes approximately 140 medium-range bombers H-6 and H-6M (Tu-16), from 150 to 200 tactical bomber JH-7, from 150 to 550 attack aircraft Q-5. Fighter aircraft has at least 100 Su-30 and J-16 from 200 to 350 Su-27 and J-11 various modifications of 200 to 250 J-10, approximately 200 J-8 and from 700 to 800 J-7 ( MiG-21). The significant difference in numbers is explained not only by a certain information closeness of China, although much smaller than before, but also by the fact that Q-5, J-7 and J-8 of early modifications are gradually written off, JH-7, J-16 are simultaneously released (unlicensed copy of Su-30), J-11B (unlicensed copy of Su-27) and J-10. Therefore, the number of aircraft is extremely variable, with the release of new cars fully compensates for the decommissioning of old ones. In general, China produces more combat aircraft per year than all NATO countries (including the United States) combined.
The additional advantage to China is provided by the presence of hundreds, if not thousands of medium-range and operational-tactical ballistic missiles (OTR) of various types, and now also sea, air and ground-based cruise missiles. Moreover, most of these missiles are located on the mainland opposite of Taiwan and directed precisely at him.
Of course, Chinese SSBNs will not be involved in the war against Taiwan, but even without them, the submarine fleet of the PRC is the largest in the world. He has eight submarines (four projects 091 and 093) and at least 60 PL (up to 10 project 041A eight project 636EM, two projects 636 and 877, 13 project 039G, five project 035G, 13 project 035, eight project 033 ). All submarines and submarines of 041A, 636EM and 039G projects are armed with anti-ship missiles. The old submarines of the 033 and 035 projects are written off, instead of them the submarines of the 041A project are being built, the construction of the submarines of the 095 and 043 projects has been started.
The aircraft carrier "Liaoning" (the failed Soviet "Varyag") attracts much attention from outside observers. However, due to the peculiarity of the design (springboard instead of a catapult) and the actual absence of deck aircraft (as long as there are only two J-15), it will forever remain an experimental training ship, and not a full-fledged combat unit. Real aircraft carriers of their own construction will appear in China no earlier than in 10 years. However, due to the geographical proximity of Taiwan to the mainland, the PLA will have more than enough coast-based aircraft and surface ships of the main classes to strike the island.
The destroyers in the PRC Navy include 25: two 956 projects, two 956EM projects, three 052С projects, two 052В projects, two 052 projects, two 051С projects, one 051В projects, two 051 X-NUMX projects, one 3 project, one 051 project, one 2 project, two 051 projects, one 1 project, one 051 project, one 052 project, one XNUMX project, two XNUMX projects, one XNUMX project, one XNUMX project, two XNUMX projects, one XNUMX project, one XNUMX project, two XNUMX projects, one XNUMX project, one XNUMX project, one XNUMX project, two XNUMX projects. -XNUMX ”and eight XNUMX“ Ljuda-XNUMX ”projects (another ship of the XNUMX project was transferred to the coast guard). All “Lyudy” are gradually being written off, destroyers of the XNUMXС project are built to replace them (three more units, that is, there will be a total of six).
Starting with the third ship of this series, they no longer carry Russian weapon systems. In particular, the C-300F air defense system with a turret-type PU is replaced by a HHQ-9 with a CIP. At the same time, the construction of the “Chinese Aegis”, the destroyers of the 052D project, was launched, which will accommodate a universal UVP on 64 missiles of various classes (SLCM, anti-ship missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, PLUR). They will be at least 10 as part of the Chinese Navy (the first four are currently being built). China will become the fourth country in the world (after the United States, Japan and the Republic of Korea), which has ships of this class. They will be able to enter both aircraft carrier formations as escort ships and operational groups for independent action in the open ocean, including at a considerable distance from the coast of the PRC, including attacking coastal targets. This gives the PRC Navy a completely new quality, which the Chinese fleet has never had in modern stories.
The Chinese fleet now has 48 frigates. Along with the traditional for the Chinese Navy's strike weapons (eight S-803 anti-ship missiles in container launchers), Project 054A ships were the first Chinese frigates to have adequate air defense for ships of this class of air defense: 32 HHQ-16 ATRs (created based on the Russian air defense system "Calm"). Thanks to this, these frigates will become universal escort ships that can be used to protect aircraft carriers near their shores and to strengthen destroyers in the open ocean. China already has the largest in the world fleet frigates. Obviously, their number will be maintained at about 50 units with a continuous improvement in their quality.
Traditionally, the mosquito fleet is very developed in China. Today it includes 119 rocket boats (83 022-X high-speed catamaran project, six 037-II projects, 30 037-IG project) and up to 250 patrol boats. A certain sensation of the last year was the massive construction of 056 project ships in China. A year ago, nothing was known about them. The first ship of this type was laid in May 2012. Today, one is in the ranks, two are on trial, seven are being completed afloat, at least two are on stocks. The total number of ships in the series will obviously exceed 20 units (it may even go to 50).
Such a pace of construction has no analogues in the post-war history in any country of the world. It is particularly impressive given the fact that fairly large ships are being built (displacement is about 1,5 thousand tons, length - 95 meters). In China, they are classified as frigates, in foreign sources - as corvettes. The ships of the 056 project are actually intermediate in size between these two classes of ships. Given the limited cruising range (about two thousand miles), it is more correct to refer them to corvettes. However, it is unlikely the question of their classification is of fundamental importance. It is obvious that the ships of the 056 project should replace most of the outdated “mosquito fleet” built in the People's Republic of China in the 60 – 80 of the twentieth century. It is extremely significant that even in this case, the Chinese leadership with a radical qualitative update does not go for a quantitative reduction, given the massive construction of the world's most powerful, high-speed and advanced rocket boats of the 022 project. The 056 ships are armed with four anti-ship missiles, the 083 boats have eight anti-ship missiles. At the same time, the air defense of the corvettes is rather weak - one FL-3000N air defense system (eight missiles on a launcher), similar to the German-American air defense system RAM. This air defense missile system is intended only for the self-defense of the RCC and is unable to hit combat aircraft (at least it’s impossible to imagine a tactical situation in which a combat aircraft enters the affected area of this air defense system). The air defense of the 022 boats is generally purely symbolic. However, this, apparently, is not a problem from the point of view of the Chinese naval command. Corvettes and boats will obviously operate near their shores under the cover of aircraft from the shore and / or in the same combat formations with the 052С / D destroyers described above and the 054А frigates with strong air defense.
The landing forces of the PRC Navy are large enough; they include three amphibious assault ship dock (DVKD) project 071, 30 large and up to 60 medium landing ships. Each DVK can accommodate up to 800 marines and 50 armored vehicles, which can be transferred from ship to shore using four air-cushion landing craft and four helicopters on board the DVKD. Construction of Chinese amphibious assault ships is expected. In addition, a significant number of civilian vessels (including fishing ones) may be involved in the landing operation against Taiwan.
In general, it is very important to emphasize that the PRC Navy completed the era of experimental low-volume construction of surface ships of the main classes. The command of the Chinese Navy decided on the best options for destroyers, frigates and corvettes and began their large-scale construction. It is impossible not to note the unprecedentedly high capabilities of the Chinese shipbuilding industry, which it now demonstrates. At the moment, six destroyers, four frigates, at least nine corvettes, and also about 10 nuclear and diesel submarines and one DVKD, that is, at least 30 units of warships, are being built and completed at the shipyards and afloat. Even the United States does not have such rates of fleet construction, with any other country there is simply no possibility for comparison. The current pace of construction of the Chinese Navy is second only to the US during the Second World War, but the ships of that time were incomparably simpler than the current ones.
Army of one war
The armed forces of Taiwan are an army of one war. Unfortunately for this country, the PLA will be the enemy in this war.
The ground forces of Taiwan are so inferior to the Chinese in quantitative and qualitative terms that they do not deserve any discussion at all. Without special stretching, they can be considered zero. If the Chinese troops at least in one place cling to the bridgehead and begin to expand it, Taiwanese with a clear conscience can capitulate.
The Taiwan Air Force is formally very large. In their composition 328 fighter of the fourth generation, that is, more than any European country. These are 145 F-16 (117 A, 28 B), 57 Mirage-2000-5 (47 EI, 10 DI) and 126 Chin Kuo (101 A, 25 B). All of them were acquired in 90-ies. There is also up to 250 F-5, of which no more than 100 are in the ranks, the rest are in reserve. The 58 AT-3 attack aircraft can also be attributed to combat, but they are more used as training ones.
Thus, according to the total number of combat aircraft (including reserve ones), the Taiwanese Air Force is among the five strongest in the world (after the United States, China, the Russian Federation and India), which, however, is an extremely poor consolation. In the twenty-first century, they did not receive a single aircraft, and there are no prospects in this regard. China, as mentioned above, already has fourth-generation fighter jets from 500 to 700, adding nearly a hundred each year. Moreover, any Chinese fighter qualitatively exceeds any Taiwanese and just much newer physically. In addition, the PRC has more than 500 strike aircraft and at least a thousand old fighters. Accordingly, there can be no balance about any quantitative or qualitative speech. Therefore, nothing but laughter does not cause many years of talk about the possibility of Taiwan buying 66 F-16C / D fighters in Taiwan. Even if this transaction takes place (which is extremely unlikely, Washington will not go for it), it can be described by the Russian saying “like a dead poultice”.
The submarine fleet of Taiwan, consisting of two submarines of the Dutch construction 80-s and two submarines built by the US 40-s, against the background of the Chinese can be considered non-existent. As for the surface fleet, Taiwan has four American destroyers of the Kidd type, eight American frigates of the Oliver Perry and Knox types, six French frigates of the Lafayette type, about 90 missile corvettes and boats. It is on rocket corvettes built using Stealth technology, with supersonic anti-ship missiles Xiong Feng-3, which is going to rely on the command of the Taiwan Navy in the near future, hoping with their help to cause significant damage to the invading forces. This tactic seems to be the only correct one, but it also becomes more and more illusory.
Considering the guaranteed superiority of the air force and navy of the PRC in the air and under water, Chinese frigates, corvettes and boats will easily crush the Taiwanese fleet, including its new corvettes. China will not even need to introduce the most modern destroyers into battle, it will save them for future ocean voyages as part of aircraft carrier formations. The promised delivery of four Oliver Perry frigates to Taiwan from the USA (extremely unsuccessful ships due to weak weapons) is another poultice of the dead. Like the F-16, they can no longer affect the balance of power: time is hopelessly lost. Due to the incompatibility of production capacities, the military capabilities of the parties are equally incomparable.
Only five years ago, the author of this article considered the outcome of the Chinese landing operation against Taiwan absolutely unpredictable and saw the very real possibilities of the Taiwanese to repel aggression even without the help of the United States. And he didn’t assume that the situation would change so quickly and drastically.
In fact, now China does not seize Taiwan by force just because it hopes to do so in a peaceful way. The KMT from the CCP's once irreconcilable opponent has turned into its fifth column, contributing to the peaceful economic absorption of Taiwan by China. This absorption is accelerated. Naturally, a pragmatic Beijing in no case will not cut the goose that lays the golden eggs. It is much more profitable for him to join prosperous Taiwan with its huge currency reserves and developed technologies. And only if for some reason the program fails, will China quickly and firmly resolve the issue by force. However, over the years through 10, its superiority will become so obvious and overwhelming that a “program crash” will be impossible. Taiwan simply does not dare to resist, and the United States will finally forget its “security guarantees” to the island.