CHINA would destroy 900 American fighter jets with “devastating” missile attacks in a battle for Taiwan, war games experts have predicted.
Beijing could obliterate half of the US Navy and Air Force in a matter of days, they added.
The US could lose as many as 900 jets in a conflict for Taiwan, experts say
China fired ballistic missiles over Taiwan during menacing war games last weekCredit: Not known, clear with picture deskSome estimates predict China would need 2m troops to invade Taiwan
Military experts have been conducting a series of war game drills to chart out how China might attack Taiwan.
The damning research found that in 18 of the 22 rounds played so far, Chinese missiles sunk a large chunk of the US and Japan’s surface fleets and destroyed “hundreds of aircraft on the ground”.
The West’s response, according to Mark Cancian, a former White House defence analyst and retired US marine, would “hammer the exposed Chinese amphibious and surface fleet” and eventually sink about 150 ships.
Cancian said the US would struggle to carry out a “systematic campaign to take down Chinese defenses” and would need to come in close to sink them, according to Bloomberg.
He said: “To get a sense of the scale of the losses, in our last game iteration, the United States lost over 900 fighter/attack aircraft in a four-week conflict.
“That’s about half the Navy and Air Force inventory.”
None of the drills involved the use of nuclear weapons nor what it would look like if China successful occupied Taiwan.
The dire forecast comes as tensions between the two superpowers reach breaking point after a visit to the island by senior US politician Nancy Pelosi, the third in line to the White House.
China has never been shy about admitting it wants to conquer Taiwan – which enjoys strong support from the US.
And while Beijing may be preparing for a lightning war to storm across the Taiwan Strait and capture the island, experts have said the war could be anything but quick.
The latest virtual war games, carried out by the White House and think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), show that the US intervening militarily in a Chinese invasion of Taiwan in 2026 would be ‘costly’ for both sides.
“The results are showing that under most — though not all — scenarios, Taiwan can repel an invasion,” Cancian said.
“However, the cost will be very high to the Taiwanese infrastructure and economy and to US forces in the Pacific.”
US generals, Navy officers and former Pentagon officials have for weeks been gathered at tables that show simulation of an invasion.
They move opposing forces – coloured blue and red – and small wooden squares over maps of the Western Pacific and Taiwan.
It found that Beijing’s missile strike force would be “devastating while the inventory lasts”.
Experts said US submarines and bombers with long-range rockets would play a “particularly important” role in defeating Chinese forces.
Cancian said for the Taiwanese, anti-ship missiles were essential to a victory and warned that Taipei warships would “have a hard time surviving as long as the Chinese have long-range missiles available”.
Experts don’t know how many lives would be lost in the conflict nor what impact it would have on the world economy.
In our last game iteration, the United States lost over 900 fighter/attack aircraft in a four-week conflict
Mark Cancian, US military expert
“The success or failure of the ground war depends entirely on the Taiwanese forces,” Cancian said.
“In all game iterations so far, the Chinese could establish a beachhead but in most circumstances cannot expand it.
“The attrition of their amphibious fleet limits the forces they can deploy and sustain. In a few instances, the Chinese were able to hold part of the island but not conquer the entire island.”
It comes as security analysts predict that China would need two million soldiers to invade Taiwan and could end up failing just like Vladimir Putin’s forces in Ukraine.
Communist Party forces are deployed around the island for massive war games which are believed to be rehearsals for an invasion.
China expert Ian Williams, writing in The Sunday Times, said: “[Ukraine] has demonstrated how a determined underdog can thwart the ambitions of a much larger and more powerful rival, and it is being studied on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.”
Beijing has deployed warships, warplanes and missiles over the last week which have effectively surrounded the island in a blockade.
Williams described this as a “militarised tantrum” – and said such a show of force does not translate to a successful or easy invasion.
Taiwan has accused China of outright performing attack drills on the island, while Beijing’s state controlled media boasts the exercises as rehearsing for the “reunification operation”.
It is a chilling echo of the phrasing used by Putin ahead of his invasion in Ukraine, which saw Russia dub their invasion a “special operation”.
The key difference however between Taiwan and Ukraine however is of course that the former is an island – meaning any enemy forces have to succeed in an amphibious landing or a massive airdrop.
And the notoriously rough and windy Taiwan Strait which separates the island from mainland is known as “The Black Ditch”.
It is believed there are only 14 beaches on island suitable for an amphibious landing on the scale needed by China.
Strategists also believe there are only two realistic windows for such an operations, the end of March into April or late September into October.
“Taiwanese strategists have likened the waters separating them from China to the road into Kyiv, where the Russian army was repulsed,” wrote Williams.
The US Navy and Air Force could lose up to half their aircraft in four weeks, simulations predictCredit: SWNS
China could launch attacks on the US Naval base at Guam as well as air bases in JapanCredit: EPA
Chinese warplanes taking part military drills in the Taiwan Strait last weekCredit: AP
Taiwanese air force Mirage jets readying for duty amid fears of an invasion last weekCredit: AP
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