You are right. The original conversation wasn't about the risk to Kadena because of the forward presence of F-22's. It is about the notion that the Kadena being a prime target will likely be made inoperable for a defined period. How long this period will be is obviously highly subjective but it is recognised that the risk of closure will be higher as China's inventory of ballistics and cruise missile increases over time.
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The scenario premised by the RAND study is that while the Kadena base is made inoperable, the USAF (including F-22's) will have to fight their way in relying on tanker support because of distance. Therefore it becomes an issue of logistics and a numbers game.
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I agree that once the risk to the airbases and the corresponding air assets (including F-22's) are deemed acceptable then the deployment will shift closer to the theater of operation. A Taiwan scenario however assumes that during the initial window, the Kadena airbase will be made unavailable. The whole strategic discussion is about how long Taiwan can hold out before the US can resume air superiority over that airspace. If Taiwan is overwhelm before that can be established then it makes the whole exercise rather moot. China's A2AD is simply about extending that window to the degree that the strategic equation leans in China's favor. The battle is then won before it begins (at least on paper).
I agree it is a complex discussion but framed for simplicity. I have seen an analysis of the type of multi layered system required in the form of THAAD, Aegis and Patriots needed and it is significant. Unfortunately I have not been able to find that document to provide the data to this discussion.
The closure to Kadena is premised on many things including China willing to risk its entire (or majority) ballistic missile inventory on a single airbase. It is liken to a one trick pony and exposes China to a retaliatory strike from the US which will be thru multi facet platforms unlike what China can offer. In my view, the B-21 program is an important piece but that will be a digression.
Agreed.. It also depends on the buildup of forces prior to the first shot fired. In a hypothetical conflict such as described, I like to think it would've been a scenario likely months in the making after all political avenues have been totally exhausted before actual combat. In a case such as this then Kadena would have had time to beef up it's defensive capabilities.
As far as operational longevity and effectiveness of the base in sustaining combat strikes that's all very subjective simply because of the nuclear factor. It doesn't matter if it's a week or a month ... The losing party will likely resort to nukes or other last ditch desperate measures to sanitized the offending base in which time the perverbial can of worms is open that can never be close.
Personally I think that Kadena can withstand a lot of pounding and remain operationally effective for a quite sometime as long as nukes are not brought into the fray or some sort of sudden surprised attack w/o any prior escalation.