Monday, February 14, 2011

Ball in Taiwan’s camp on missile defense, analyst says

All the pieces for the air defense puzzle are there. Will the Ma administration take the final step to ensure success by 2015?

Despite the ability of the radar systems deployed by Taiwan’s military to track and engage large numbers of targets simultaneously, Patriot PAC-2 and PAC-3 missile batteries alone would be insufficient to deter China from launching a missile attack, a US specialist wrote.

“Patriot batteries are only one element of a complete missile-defense system,” Ed Ross, a former principal director for security cooperation operations at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency and senior director for China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mongolia at the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, wrote in the latest issue of the Jamestown Foundation’s China Brief.

“The radars have a range of approximately 170 kilometers, insufficient to detect the majority of PRC [People’s Republic of China] missiles in the boost phase [over Chinese territory],” Ross wrote.

Although PAC-3 missiles were specifically designed for missile defense, he wrote, “unless they are tied into an integrated command, control, communications, computers (C4) system that provides for early warning missile detection, tracking and the prioritization of incoming threats, the number of ballistic missiles they are likely to intercept in a large-scale attack would be greatly reduced.”

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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