War Games: Taiwan Questions China's Capacity To Sink US Navy Aircraft Carrier Group

Swarajya Staff

Jul 07, 2023, 11:02 AM | Updated 11:02 AM IST

Taiwanese soldiers posing with a flag of Taiwan. (Representative iamge).
Taiwanese soldiers posing with a flag of Taiwan. (Representative iamge).

Taiwan has rejected China's assertion that it could easily sink a US Navy aircraft carrier strike group, aiming to boost public confidence and counter China's ongoing campaign of intimidation, as reported by the Financial Times.

Researchers at China's North University, supported by the People's Liberation Army, claimed in a May paper that a war game simulation demonstrated the capability to sink the USS Gerald R Ford and its accompanying flotilla with 24 hypersonic anti-ship missiles.

However, Taiwanese national security officials have dismissed the findings as part of China's cognitive warfare, noting that replications of the simulation with realistic parameters yielded significantly different results.

The dispute over the war game underscores concerns within Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen's administration that China's increasing military activities near Taiwan, coupled with disinformation tactics, will generate fears of war and weaken the country's resolve to defend itself.

China considers Taiwan its territory and has threatened military action if Taipei resists reunification indefinitely.

Beijing has escalated air and naval exercises around the island, increased fighter incursions across the unofficial Taiwan Strait median line, and conducted bomber and drone circumnavigations of Taiwan.

Chinese authorities have also used traditional and social media platforms to mock Taiwan's military capabilities and frame the upcoming presidential elections as a choice between peace and war.

In response, Taiwan's intelligence chief, Tsai Ming-yen, described China's behavior as "intimidation rather than aggression."

Lin Chuan-kai, a seasoned expert in war game simulations at Taiwan's Institute for National Defense and Security Research, stated that when they replicated the Chinese war game, an average of only 2.2 out of the six ships in the US Navy carrier strike group were sunk, in contrast to the 5.6 reported by the Chinese researchers.

According to Lin, the institute discovered that the Chinese missiles could only sink most of the US flotilla if the ships stopped moving, if the hit ratio for their air defense missile systems was artificially reduced, and if the carrier's other defensive systems, such as electronic interference and decoy systems, were deactivated.

Lin emphasised that only under the most extreme parameters would the Chinese paper's reported results be obtained, thereby questioning its credibility.

As Taiwan's largest annual live-fire military exercise, Han Kuang, approaches in the last week of July, a senior national security official noted that China has already initiated its customary cognitive warfare campaign.

They anticipate an increase in disinformation efforts as the January 2024 presidential election draws closer. The author of the Chinese war game paper, Cao Hongsong, did not respond to requests for comment.

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