Harpia Publishing's Modern Taiwanese Air Power

Author/Artists: Roy Choo & Peter Ho


Harpia  Publishing


$29.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 96 pages, softcover,
ISBN 978-0-950394-03-6

During the war between the Chinese Nationalists and Mao's red army, Nationalist China was pushed off the continent to the island of Formosa/Taiwan. Due to the inability of the communists to perform an amphibious invasion and the need to get the rest of the country under control, the Taiwanese were pretty much left alone; at least for a few years. Thanks to support from the United States, Taiwan was able to have an edge in military technology, which was sufficient to keep Red China at bay. There have always been small conflicts in the strait and smaller islands, but nothing really major.

This technical superiority edge that the ROC (Republic of China), had was slowly whittled away after Richard Nixon normalized relations with the PRC (People's Republic of China), and recognized the communist nation as the holder of one of five permanent seats on the Security Council seat in the UN. Once that happened, the US started backing off on the support that was provided, including refusal to sell more modern aircraft such as the F-16 and F-20. Taiwan realized that they would need to produce their own aircraft. That resulted in a ramping up of their manufacturing and developing indigenous aircraft.

Progress was fairly constant and resulted in new aircraft. By the turn of the century, the Chinese had reached and surpassed the qualitative lead of the air force of the ROC. Only then did the US sell them early model F-16s to help replace their older aircraft. Some planes were bought in France, but not in the numbers really needed. Only recently were new build F-16C/D aircraft purchased. Meanwhile the PRC had become even more and more aggressive regarding Taiwan, frequently invading their airspace and holding missile tests in the straight that separates the two nations. These aggressive actions have caused an increase in the wear and tear in Taiwan's aviation assets, requiring more rapid replacement of older aircraft.

In this book, the authors take a look at the history of the ROCAF, along with the organization and personnel training. Taiwan has spent a lot of time and effort to enable them to survive an initial missile strike by the PRC, and some of that has also been covered. The bulk of the book goes over the various aircraft operated by the ROCAF, as well as those in planning. It all makes for a superb look at an air arm that few think about. An excellent addition to Harpia's other books in a similar vein and one I can highly recommend.

August 2021

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