Cover: Access Challenges and Implications for Airpower in the Western Pacific

Access Challenges and Implications for Airpower in the Western Pacific

by Eric Stephen Gons

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Abstract

This dissertation examines the risk of U.S.-China conflict based on a variety of theoretical works on conflict, applied to the U.S.-China relationship. Following this examination, and finding that the U.S.-China relationship does include elements of risk, the dissertation examines the implications of anti-access weapons on USAF sortie generation. The dissertation develops a simple sortie-generation model and air combat framework, using open-source data to estimate the forces that the USAF and the PLAAF can bring to bear, and predicts the results of air combat between two forces of dissimilar performance and quantity. Finally the dissertation examines options for increasing USAF performance in the face of antiaccess weapons, which includes a methodology to assess the effectiveness of strike employed to achieve air superiority.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Political Background — Prospects for U.S.-China Conflict

  • Chapter Three

    Taiwan Operational Context

  • Chapter Four

    Theater Access Challenges

  • Chapter Five

    Sortie Generation and Implications

  • Chapter Six

    Discussion of Alternatives

  • Chapter Seven

    Conclusions

  • Appendix A

    USAF Sortie Generation Model

  • Appendix B

    Queuing Considerations

  • Appendix C

    PLAAF/PLANAF Flanker Sortie Generation Calculations

  • Appendix D

    Air Combat Effectiveness Framework

  • Appendix E

    Effectiveness of Standoff Weapons Against PLA Airbase Infrastructure

Research conducted by

This document was submitted as a dissertation in May 2010 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Bart Bennett (Chair), Roger Cliff, and John E. Peters.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation dissertation series. PRGS dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a PRGS faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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