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Dragon Watch: Taiwan's rusty air defenses

Analysis: A new report shows that Taiwan may not be as protected against a Chinese attack as first thought.

The DIA report comes as Taiwan and its allies in Washington push hard for President Obama to approve the island's request for 66 advanced F-16s to replace its over-the-hill fighters. Taiwan has been asking for the planes since 2006.

The DIA didn't openly push for the sale, but the implications of its report are clear. Says the report dryly, "Taiwan recognizes that it needs a sustainable replacement for obsolete and problematic aircraft platforms."

One interesting side-note of the DIA report was its inventory of Taiwan's tactical or short-range surface-to-air missile arsenal. It includes some 2,000 Stinger missiles, including 728 shoulder-fired units, and more than 700 other missiles.

Those wouldn't be any help against ballistic or cruise missiles. But if China's People's Liberation Army ever did attempt to invade and occupy Taiwan, they could be a "huge problem for [PLA] helicopters and low-altitude aircraft," said Minnick.