Aerospace Coercion

Aerospace coercion is a possible form of PRC action against Taiwan. As noted by the U. S. Department of Defense, the PLA may use ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and precision-guided weapons to strike Taiwan’s air defense systems, including air bases, radar sites, missiles, space assets, and communi­cations facilities, so as to degrade Taiwan’s defenses, neutralize Taiwan’s leader­ship, and break the Taiwan people’s will to fight. As well, the PLA could employ airpower and some of its ground forces, to target Taiwan’s surface, under­ground, sea-going, and underwater military targets and infrastructure.35 Mod­ern airpower has the ability to seize the initiative and decide a war’s outcome swiftly and irrevocably. In the case of a PLA move against Taiwan, only by massive air and missile operations can the PLA ensure its ability to land forces and secure a lodgment area. Air strikes, which in the precision era can result in swift degradation of an opponent’s military strength and potential, could include attacks targeting Taiwan’s air assets, to prevent them from attacking PLA forces; Taiwan’s command and control facilities; naval and army forces that could counter a PLA amphibious assault; and Taiwan’s overall warfighting potential and the morale of the populace.36

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