Can China´s military equipment reach Taiwan, was a key question military on the island asked themselves. After China´s purchase of 400-kilometer-range S-400 Triumf road-mobile SAM systems from Russia, that answer is “yes”, writes defense analyst Wendell Minnick in Defense News.
The Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation has downplayed recent Russian-language media reports of an agreement and contract, but “as I understand it, it is basically true,” said Vasiliy Kashin, a China military specialist at Moscow’s Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.
Russian media reports indicate China and Russia have signed a US $3 billion contract to procure an initial six S-400 battalions. The missile is an upgraded variant of the S-300, now fielded by China in battalions based near major cities and scattered along the coast facing Taiwan and Japan.
Kashin, who attended the recent Airshow China in Zhuhai, said that with a range of 400 kilometers and fielded in Fujian Province, the SAM system will be able to cover the whole of Taiwan airspace, thus finally solving the “problem of air superiority for the Chinese.”
If China chooses to deploy the S-400 in Shandong Province, it will provide coverage of airspace over the Senkaku Islands. “That will be another asymmetric capability, together with anti-ship ballistic missiles, which will boost Chinese potential in dealing with the local conflicts in East Asia,” Kashin said.
China has staked a claim to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, which it refers to as the Diaoyu Islands. Other factors suggesting China will deploy the S-400 over the East China Sea include the fact that China declared an air defense identification zone over the East China Sea, including the Senkakus, in November 2013.
Are you interested in more stories by Wendell Minnick? Do check our regularly updated list here.