November 05, 2014

Is a "Missile Truck" the Solution to One of the Scariest Wargames Ever?

By Paul Scharre

Source: Real Clear Defense

Journalist(s) Dustin Walker

In August 2008, the RAND Corporation joined military leaders at Hickham Air Force Base in Hawaii for a wargame entitled “Pacific Vision.” The exercise was meant to identify the capabilities U.S. Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) would need to prevail against potential threats in the Asia-Pacific region through 2016. At least one of the scenarios examined in the wargame was truly frightening.

As Paul Scharre of the Center for a New American Security recently summarized in an op-ed forThe National Interest:

[The RAND study] analyzed a U.S.-China air war over Taiwan made the bold assumption that every air-to-air missile fired from a U.S. F-22 hit a Chinese fighter (100 percent kill rate) and that every Chinese missile missed the U.S. F-22s (0 percent kill rate). In their simulation, the United States still lost the fight. The F-22s ran out of missiles and the Chinese fighters were able to go after vulnerable tankers and command and control aircraft. A far more detailed simulation the following year showed the same results. Even though U.S. F-22s were pegged with a 27-to-1 qualitative advantage over Chinese fighters, their diminished numbers and the fact that they had to fight from long range meant the Chinese had vastly superior numbers and won the fight.

Read the full article at RealClearDefense.

  • Paul Scharre

    Senior Fellow and Director, Technology and National Security Program

    Paul Scharre is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. From 2008-2013, Mr. Scharre worked in t...