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Old 10-10-2022, 05:40 PM
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Raellus Raellus is offline
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Default Twilight 2000 Anti-tank Missile Gap?

The question of how quickly stocks of ATGMs would run low/out in a Twilight War scenario has been discussed in a few threads here over the years, but the question has come up again based on recent developments in the IRL Ukraine War, which, in itself, might offer up some clues to help answer that question more accurately.

On 60 Minutes last night, the subject of a potential PRC invasion of Taiwan was examined. A former head of the Taiwanese armed forces complained that they had ordered Javelin ATGMs months before the February Russian invasion of Ukraine, but has yet to receive any because orders were preempted and the completed weapons were sent as aide to the UAF instead. AFAIK, Javelin production has been increased to full capacity (without opening new production lines) but supply can hardly keep up with demand, just for Ukraine and NATO. New production has been earmarked to replace US/NATO stock (sent to Ukraine) or sent directly to the UAF. Poor Taiwan is still waiting for the Javelins that they ordered and paid for a couple of years ago! And all of this is in the case of a limited regional war. What would happen in a total/world war?

I imagine that in a v1 timeline scenario, a lot of older systems (TOW I, Dragon, early iterations of the M72 LAW, and equivalent NATO models) would be sent as military aid to China, depleting legacy stocks. At the same time, the USA and others would begin increasing production of current and next gen models as the perceived threat of global war begins to grow. So, NATO ATGM stocks would probably be about the same or smaller as they were prior to the USSR's invasion of the PRC.

I think the net effect, however, would be similar to what we're seeing with the Ukraine War. Supply would barely be able to keep up with demand in the first year of the general war (including NATO engagement in Europe and elsewhere). I imagine that, even with full mobilization/total war economies, supply would lag behind demand in year 2 and, after the nuclear genie is let out the bottle, remaining supply would be more or less exhausted by the end of that year.

Does this seem reasonable? Am I missing factors that would effect the numbers?

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