How U.S. Airpower Could Thwart a Chinese Attack on Taiwan

How U.S. Airpower Could Thwart a Chinese Attack on Taiwan

Any Chinese amphibious advance would be vulnerable to being destroyed by U.S. and allied air power.


A U.S. and allied land attack would be incredibly difficult and would likely come with an unacceptable price in terms of casualties. Nevertheless, with stealth air superiority, long-range strikes, and a massive ground force, a U.S.-Japanese-South Korean coalition might be able to dislodge China from Taiwan and take back the island. This would, however, require the deployment of heavy armor, which is very difficult to move and would require a secure beachhead for an amphibious landing. Such a task is by no means impossible, as there are many ships, including the Navy’s Expeditionary Fast Transports and Ship-to-Shore Connectors, capable of transporting Abrams tanks to shore. This would be something to avoid, as both attack submarines and U.S. air power could be well-positioned to fully eliminate or cripple a Chinese amphibious assault well in advance of an attacking force reaching Taiwans’ shores.

Wittman said he is glad the Navy and Marine Corps are crafting strategy documents and refining tactics with all these scenarios in mind. “I was very honored to visit a couple of weeks ago … at Camp Pendleton. I went out and visited there with General Smith and I got to fly out to the 13th MEU on the USS Makin Island. Let me tell you, those marines and sailors are proud because they have a full complement of F-35s and V-22s on board. That's an incredibly capable ship,” he said.


“Listen, our Sailors and Marines are incredibly, incredibly analytical … incredibly creative and imaginative about how to solve those complex problems of risks that the Chinese potentially placed upon us,” Wittman concluded.

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Image: Flickr/U.S. Navy.