Friday, 30 May, 2008
Thursday, 29 May, 2008
On top of having an array of advanced ground vehicles, China also boasts an advanced naval force with large advanced submarines, and many worthy battleships but lacking aircraft carriers. The PLA also has a capable air-force, although it is nothing that could match the capabilities of NATO forces or the United States Military with the F-22 and many other reliable and proven fighters. The Jian-10, swept-wing fighter has been introduced by the Chinese air-force but the capabilities remain unclear.
There was speculation years back that the “star wars” program would spark a new weapons race and nothing could be more true as, once again, Russia, The US, and China are entering into a weapons space race. The United States militarization of space has caused uneasiness within China and Russia which has caused them to invest in their aerospace programs as well. One very frightening feat that China has been able to attain is the ability to destroy GPS and other military satellites owned by the US. China launched a vehicle into space intending to destroy an old weather satellite 500 miles in orbit and achieved their goal proving that they could indeed take out the ‘eyes’ of the United States military. The US military also admitted that China disabled a satellite while it orbited over China’s land mass using a directive energy weapon of some sort which produced a high power beam into the face of the satellite.
With China only spending 10% of what the United States does on military technology and expenditures, the PLA has some amazingly advanced technology. Some estimates say that Chinese military spending may spike to half that of the U.S in the foreseeable future. This would make the U.S government very uneasy.
Major Surface Combatants. The most capable surface combatants in the PLAN service include 11 destroyers (four Sovremenny class, two Type 052C Luyang-II class, two Type 052B Luyang class, one Type 051B Luhai class, and two Type 052 Luhu class); and 16 frigates (two Type 054 Jiangkai class, ten Type 053H3 Jiangwei-II class, four Type 053H2G Jiangwei class). Two Type 051C Luyang class destroyers and at least one Type 054A Jiangkai-II class frigate are due to be delivered by 2007~08, which bring the total figure to 30. There are also 18 older Type 051 Luda class destroyers and around 30 Type 053 Jianghu class frigates, some of which may no longer be in active service. A second-hand aircraft carrier purchased from Ukraine is currently under refit at Dalian.
Submarine. The second-generation nuclear-powered attack submarine Type 093 Shang class and ballistic missile submarine Type 094 Jin class have already entered service, each class with two boats launched. The PLAN also operates 3~4 Type 091 Han class nuclear-powered attack submarines and a single Type 092 Xia class nuclear-powered missile submarine. The new generation nuclear submarines are already under sea trial. The PLA Navy also operates 57 diesel-electric submarines, including 12 Russian-made Kilo class, and indigenous Type 039 Song class (16), Type 035 Ming class (17), and Type 033 Romeo class (8). Construction of the latest Type 039A Yuan class has already begun, with two boats launched so far.
Amphibious Warfare Ships. The PLAN operates around 50 large and medium landing ships, and a large amount of smaller utility and mechanised landing craft. A Type 071 landing platform dock (LPD) ship entered service in late 2007.
The HQ-7 (HongQi-7, also known as FeiMeng-80 in its export form) is an all-weather short range air defence system developed by 2nd Aerospace Academy (now China Academy of Defence Technology). The missile was based on the French Crotale air defence missile technology and entered service in the late 1980s. The land-based version of the missile is currently serving with the PLA ground forces and PLA Air Force (PLAAF), while its shipborne version is being equipped by the PLA Navy (PLAN). The improved variant FM-90 for the export market was introduced in 1998. A further improved variant was introduced in 2006/07.
The development of the HQ-7 surface-to-air missile (SAM) began in 1979 to meet a requirement of the PLA for a mobile, short-range, low- and very low-altitude air defence system. The programme was managed by the 2nd Aerospace Academy (also known as China Changfeng Mechanics and Electronics Technology Academy, now China Academy of Defence Technology). 23 Institute was responsible for the development of radar fire control system, and 206 Institute was responsible for the ground equipment.
The HQ-7 is almost identical in physical and technical characteristic to the French Thales Air Defence (formerly Thomson-CSF Airsys) Crotale air-defence missile system. China imported few examples of Crotale and its shipborne version Sea Crotale in the late 1970s when it formed an alliance with Western countries against the Soviet Union. Thomson-CSF was expecting more orders to follow but China developed its own version by reverse-engineering the examples it obtained. This was probably tolerated or even tacitly consented by the French government in exchange for China’s co-operation in the Cold War.
Test missiles were made in 1983 and the first firing took place in 1985. Design certification was undertaken from July 1986 to June 1988. Production began shortly afterwards for use as filed air defence. The HQ-7 is available in two versions; the shelter-mounted version used by the PLAAF and self-propelled version used by the PLA ground forces. The export version FM-80 was first revealed in the 1989 Dubai Aerospace Show. Later in 1998 China National Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CNPMIEC) introduced an improved variant FM-90 featuring fast and longer-range missile and infrared camera to compliment the TC tracking camera.
The HQ-7 missile features a long, slim body with sharp nose, four stabilisation fins, and four front canards. The missile has multi-target interception capabilities to engage targets from same or different directions. Using a solid rocket motor, the missile has a max speed of Mach 2.3 and a range of 12km. The Command to Line Of Sight (CLOS) guidance uses radar and electro-optical sensors. Guidance operating modes include IR, IR+TV, and manual, with robust resistance to active/passive jamming and meteorological noises. The missile is armed with a high-explosive fragmentation (HE-FRAG) warhead, initiated by with a proximity fuse.A typical HQ-7 operational battalion comprises three operational sections (batteries) and a technical support section (battery), with both direct support (10 vehicles) and indirect support (with various special test benches and standard test equipment) maintenance groups. Each battery comprises a Search Unit (SU), three Firing Units (FUs), three optical aiming systems, and four 40kW generators.
The HQ-7's search unit is used to search, identify, evaluate, and classify the targets. It then designates the most dangerous targets and distributes the information to the firing unit(s). If the radar is jammed then the optical aiming units of firing units can be used to acquire and designate targets.
The search unit comprises a E/F-band Doppler search radar which has a detection range of 3,200m to 18,400m; a data processing unit capable of processing 30 targets and in conjunction with the radar system to track 12 targets simultaneously; a wire network between itself and firing units; IFF, and radio station.
The firing unit comprises a four- or eight-cell missile launcher; a monopulse J-band tracking radar with an operational range up to 17,000m; a TV tracking system with an operational range of over 15,000m in clear weather; an infra-red localiser; a data processing unit; a wire network between itself, the search unit, and other firing units.
The self-propelled version HQ-7 is mounted on a P4R electricity-powered wheeled 4 X 4 chassis, which has a maximum road speed of 60km/h and a max range of 500km.
Sunday, 25 May, 2008
"China and a European country have offered Pakistan High-to-Medium-Altitude Air Defence System, Low-to-Medium-Altitude Air Defence System, Medium-Altitude Air Defence System and Short-Range Air Defence System," said an official, who wanted not to be named. "The two countries have also offered to set up a project in Pakistan for manufacturing short- medium- and high-range air defence systems," he added.
The official said a former PAF chief had sent a summary to President Musharraf for the purchase of a high-altitude air defence system from a European country without transfer of technology, but the president rejected it.
"The summary has been rejected because Pakistan's adversary has MiG-25, MiG-29, SU-27 and SU-30 fighter planes which are capable of flying at an altitude of more than 25km," he added.
India has these aircraft since 2002 whereas the PAF has no effective weapon system to save major cities of the country and defence installations from any attack by such planes, the official said.
"Had the organisations engaged in developing nuclear-capable missiles indigenously been tasked with the development of a system to overcome this shortcoming, the country would have until now achieved the capability of hitting planes at an altitude of 25-29 kilometres," he remarked. "But no attention has been paid towards this aspect of the country's air defence capability."
The official said that Pakistan has radars that can detect aircraft flying at an altitude of 25-29 kilometres but the country still lacks a weapon system to hit such planes. He said the country needs to install at least one battery of an ultra-modern air defence system on four sides of major cities or military installations for security.
According to the official, one battery of such a defence system would comprise 16 vehicles, including two radar carriers, six missile launching vehicles and six support vehicles and thus each battery would cost $40-50 million.
A short-range air defence system can shoot down an enemy plane up to five kilometres and medium-range system is capable of hitting and attacking aircraft up to 25 kilometres while a high-range air defence system can hit an enemy plane at a distance of 90 kilometres, elaborated the official.
The most capable air defence system currently in PLA service are derivatives of the Russian Almaz S-300PMU/SA-10 Grumble family of Surface to Air Missiles. The S-300 SAM systems remain one of the most lethal, if not the most lethal, all altitude area defence SAM systems in service, with a range of more capable derivatives entering service in Russia, or in development. Over the Taiwan Strait the later versions of the S-300 become "offensive" weapons in that they can attack targets in Taiwanese airspace, severely challenging that nation's air defense. Moreover, these missiles threaten all U.S. combat aircraft that may be called upon to assist Taiwan other than the stealthy B-2A and F-22A, the latter which is just entering service in diminished numbers.
China remains the single substantial export client for the S-300PMU/SA-10 Grumble, with other export sales having been sporadic and small. Until the advent of the S-300PMU/SA-10, the PLA's primary area defence SAM was the HQ-2, a reverse engineered derivative of the 1960s Soviet S-75 Dvina/Volkhov/Volga or SA-2 Guideline. With mobile tracked TELs and conventional launchers, the HQ-2 was not a credible weapon due to the vulnerability of its Fan Song series engagement radars to jamming and anti-radiation missile attack.
The S-300PMU/SA-10 family of SAMs are true analogues to the US MIM-104 Patriot, providing similar capabilities against aircraft targets at all altitudes, as well as ballistic missiles. With later variants offering genuine 'shoot and scoot' capabilities, the S-300PMU/SA-10 systems are both highly lethal, and highly survivable.
Evolution of the SA-10/SA-20
The origins of the S-300PMU/SA-10 system date to the late 1960s, when the Soviets opted to develop a much more effective SAM system to replace the S-75/SA-2 and S-200/SA-5, neither of which proved effective operationally. The intended 'common' S-300 was to be used by the Voyska PVO (Air Defence Forces), PVO SV (Army Air Defence) and Voenno-Morskii Flot (Navy), but the program soon unravelled and resulted in the very much unique V-PVO S-300P and PVO-SV S-300V systems.
The first production model was the S-300PT or SA-10A, with a towed 5P85 TEL, the V-500/5V55 SAM, a towed 5N63S Flap Lid A engagement radar, a towed 36D6 Tin Shield 3D acquisition radar, and the unique LEMZ 5N66/76N6 Clam Shell continuous wave low altitude acquisition radar, typically mast mounted. An important innovation was the family of semi-mobile 75 ft 40V6, 40V6M and 120 ft 40V6MD mast systems, available for the Flap Lid, Tin Shield and Clam Shell to provide much extended low altitude coverage.
The label 'Patriot-ski' is a reasonable one. The 5N63S and later 30N6 engagement radar is like the Patriot's MPQ-53 a space fed passive phased array design, built to concurrently track and engage multiple targets, and inherently difficult to jam with low sidelobe performance and high peak power. The command link guided 5V55K SAM could engage targets between 80 ft and 80 kft, to 25 nmi range.
With the advent of the F-4G Wild Weasel IV and EF-111A Raven during the late seventies, the Soviets responded in 1982 with the highly mobile S-300PS/SA-10B (S -Samokhodniy â€“ Self Propelled), which saw the improved Flap Lid B and 5P85 TEL integrated on a 8x8 MAZ-7910, based on the MAZ 543 Scud TEL. The S-300PS is the forerunner of most current S-300PMU/SA-10 variants and a true 'shoot and scoot' system, unlike the Patriot. A key innovation was the new 5V55KD SAM, which introduced a Track Via Missile (TVM) terminal guidance scheme similar to the Patriot, and highly jam resistant.
The first export variant appeared in 1989, the S-300PMU/SA-10C, based on the S-300PS/SA-10B. The S-300PMU/SA-10C introduced the semitrailer based 5P85T road mobile TEL, cheaper and faster than the SA-10B's 5P85D/S TELs, but unable to negotiate rough terrain.
By 1993 Almaz developed a further evolution, in the S-300PM and S-300PMU-1 or SA-10D, the latter the export variant. Incremental and deep improvements were made to the 30N6E1 Flap Lid D, the 54K6E1 command post, and the Clam Shell was the retained. Two key innovations were the new 48N6 SAM, and the new NIIIP 64N6E Big Bird phased array acquisition radar, designed to acquire aircraft and ballistic missiles. The Mach 6 48N6 missile expanded the engagement envelope down to 25 ft AGL, out to 80 nmi, and added an Anti-Ballistic Missile capability comparable to the Patriot PAC-1/PAC-2 configuration. Almaz claim capability to 21.5 nmi and 2.8 km/sec.
The 64N6 was however the bigger advance. It is a large 2 GHz band reflective phased array, with boom mounted feeds, in a dual sector 'Janus-faced' arrangement. In terms of capabilities the 64N6 is best described as a 'land based Aegis analogue', with an aperture size similar to the SPY-1A Aegis system. It is fully mobile and can be deployed or stowed in five minutes.
While the SA-10D is formidable, Almaz continued with enhancements, releasing the further improved S-300PMU-2/SA-10E Favorit during the late 1990s. The Favorit introduced incremental improvements to the 30N6E2, 64N6E2, 54K6E2, and introduced the new all altitude LEMZ 96N6E Tombstone acquisition radar, replacing the Tin Shield, and the extended range 48N6E2 SAM. The Favorit retains compatitibility with the earlier 48N6/48N6E1 missiles, but also introduced software and interfaces allowing it to control legacy S-200VE/SA-5 Gammon batteries, and their 5N62VE Square Pair illuminators. In 2002 the Russians stated that existing S-300PM systems could be block upgraded to the Favorit-S configuration.
The next evolutionary step was the Almaz/Antey S-400 Triumf or SA-20, which is to achieve initial operational capability in Russia this year. The Triumf introduces further incremental improvements to the systems, and adds three entirely new SAM types to the weapons package.
The first two are the 96M6E and extended range 96M6E2. These are Russian equivalents to the US ERINT/PAC-3 interceptor, with both missiles using a combination of thrust vector control and canard surfaces to achieve agility, analogous in design to a short range air to air missile. Both weapons have active radar seekers and directional shaped charge warheads with a smart fusing system. Four of these missiles can be carried in tubes, within the footprint of a single 48N6 missile, allowing a single TEL to deploy 16 weapons.
A third missile type has been reported, with a cited range of 215 nmi against a high altitude target, since identified as the 48N6DM (Dal'naya â€“ long range). This missile was developed to defeat AWACS, JSTARS, Rivet Joint, U-2, Global Hawk and other standoff ISR capabilities, as well as EA-6B or EF-18G support jammers. The Kolchuga long range ESM system is cited as a passive targeting adjunct for the Triumf system.
The Triumf thus provides a layered air defence capability within a single highly mobile system, with the 96M6 family missiles providing an organic self-defence engagement capability against smart weapons such as the Tomahawk, ALCM, JASSM, JSOW, HARM, JDAM-ER and SLAM-ER.
At least one report claims that funding for the development of the Triumf was provided in part by the PLA.
The recently announced 'Samodyerzhets' system is the latest evolution in the S-300PMU family of missiles. It is a fusion of technologies from the S-400 and PVO-SV S-300VM systems, designed as a dual role SAM/ABM system.
Russian sources claimed in 2003 that the system 'combine[s] the far range of the S-300VM missile and the advanced electronics of the S-400 missile'. Jane's identified, in 2004, the use of the extended range 9M82M Giant B round from the S-300VM, in an enhanced S-400 system. The TELAR configuration has yet to be disclosed.
The S-300V/SA-12 and S-300VM/Antey-2500, despite sharing designations with the S-300PMU systems, are entirely unique weapons produced originally by Antey, prior to the forced merger of Antey and Almaz. Fully mobile, on tracked chassis based on the MT-TM utility vehicle, the S-300V system was intended to replace the cumbersome 2K11/3M8 Krug/1S12 Long Track/1S32 Pat Hand/SA-4 Ganef system, and provide divisional SAM and ABM capabilities. Design objectives were air defence, defeat of Pershing ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and supersonic standoff missiles like the AGM-69 SRAM.
The large 9S32 Grill Pan engagement radar is a large X-band phased array with extensive ECCM capabilities, it is supplemented by the 9S15 Obzor 3 / Bill Board acquisition radar and 9S19 Imbir / High Screen ABM acquisition radar. The system uses two hypersonic SAM types, the Novator designed 9M82 Giant long range weapon, and shorter 9M83 Gladiator. Both SAMs use command link and inertial midcourse control with terminal continuous wave semi-active homing, using large illuminator/command link antennas on the 9A82 and 9A83 TELARs. To date the Russians have been claiming the high ground in the ABM market, with the 9M82 and enhanced 9M82M missiles, the latter cited at 108 nmi range. Performance is claimed to be good enough to defeat IRBMs with velocities of 4.5 km/sec.
China and the S-300PMU
Russian sources claim that the PLA now operates 12 batteries of S-300PMU, eight delivered during the 1990s and four very recently. A deal for an additional four to eight batteries was being negotiated in 2003, ostensibly to cover sites facing Taiwan, with earlier buys providing cover for Beijing and Shanghai. Available photographs suggest a mix of S-300PMU-1 and PMU-2, the configuration of the latest buy is unknown.
It is unclear just how many of these missiles China is buying, but for Russia, a battery may contain 36 to 48 missiles. If the PLA is replicating Russiaâ€™s battery structure, then it could be buying 700 to over 1,000 of these missiles, assuming that spare and practice missiles will be part of the total.
Janes claim that China is manufacturing an SA-10 variant under the designation HQ-15, but do not specify the configuration or variant of the weapon system. More is known about the HQ-12 or FT-2000, which appears to be a derivative of the SA-10 design.
The HQ-12/FT-2000 was developed to destroy Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance assets with active radar systems such as the E-3 AWACS, E-8 JSTARS and E-2C Hawkeye.
It employs a broadband passive anti-radiation seeker with coverage cited between 2 GHz and 18 GHz, with inertial midcourse guidance and memory capability to retain the location of an emitter which shuts down. CPMIEC released images of the antenna array, which used a two axis gimbal and platform with multiple antenna elements, a technique also used in the Russian Kh-31P missile's L-111E passive seeker. The seeker is claimed to include a home-on-jam capability.
Mockups of the missile show the addition of strakes to increase glide range and turn rate during terminal homing. Missiles are carried on an 8x8 WS2400 TEL, and a battery uses four vehicles with ESM receivers used to triangulate the target.
What the S-300PMU and HQ-12 provide the PLA with is the capability to deny airspace to most regional air forces, including that of Taiwan, and to present the US Navy with genuine difficulty in penetrating Chinese airspace. The S-300PMU series is less than effective when confronted with highly stealthy types like the US Air Force B-2A and F-22A Raptor, the latter expected to be used extensively for lethal suppression of S-300PMU based air defences.
Of particular concern is the long range of the later missile types deployed by S-300PMU variants, as batteries located along the Taiwan Straight could be used to produce an effect not unlike that seen in 1973, when Egyptian 9M9/SA-6 batteries were able to extend a protective umbrella across the Suez Canal, allowing Egyptian forces to perform an amphibious assault against fortified Israeli positions in the Sinai. The 80 nmi range of the baseline 48N6 missile allows a high altitude target over Taiwan's eastern coast to be engaged by a mainland shore based battery. Should the PLA deploy the S-400 with the 108 nmi range 48N6E2 missile, or longer ranging weapons like the 48N6DM, it gains the capability to deny airspace over Taiwan proper.
With SAMs which have range performance well in excess of 100 nmi, the PLA acquires the means of effecting a partial airspace blockade over Taiwan, forcing all air traffic into Taiwanese airfields via eastern approaches at low altitude, to avoid entering the envelope of the SAM systems. Most of Taiwanâ€™s international and domestic air traffic travels along its Western coast, which would be covered by the longer-range S-300 weapons.
In addition, such a missile blockade also affects the rest of Asia, insofar as major air transport corridors critical to commerce between Northeast and Southeast Asia transit the Taiwan Strait. In times of tension it is not inconceivable that accidental launches could replicate the September 1983 KAL 007 disaster, in which Soviet fighters shot down a Korean Air Lines Boeing 747 airliner killing 269 people, or the unfortunate USS Vincennes incident in 1988, which killed 290 people.
The high mobility of the SA-10/20 and their high jam resistance force engagement techniques using stealthy fighters and hard kill weapons, as conventional SEAD and EW techniques become exceptionally risky.
In conclusion, the PLA now has a significant air defence capability in its regiments of SA-10 systems, sufficient to effectively deny Chinese airspace to the Taiwanese and indeed other regional air forces. Should it deploy later variants such as the S-400, it will gain further breadth, depth and capabilities.
If the United States wishes to have a credible capability to decisively defeat the PLA's developing SAM force, it will need many more than just 183 F-22A fighters
Although China's oncemighty North Fleet still lags the East and South Fleets with their 052 Luyangs and 956 Sovremennyis, its two new 6,000-ton air defense ships add significant capability and pose a serious challenge to other fleets that operate in the area. The traditional Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) warfighting lead over the North Fleet - the JMSDF 2nd Escort Flotilla alone is more powerful than the entire PLAN North Fleet- has been threatened by recent long-range ship-to-ship missiles (SSMs) from newer PLAN platforms. The new 05 IC air defense capability affects both the North Fleet and the rest of China's blue-water force.
In 1989 when the PLAN wanted to send a Luda destroyer on a five-month South China Sea cruise, the North Fleet flagship was sent from Dalian to the (Nansha) Spratley Islands. That illustrates that Luda 110 was best manned and prepared to carry out that arduous, difficult cruise, as it was selected over any of the other 10 East or South Fleet Ludas.
When the first 4,000-ton new generation LmAm DDG 1 12 was completed in 1994, it replaced Luda 1 10 as the North Fleet flagship. The impressive Luhu, with the first VDS in the design and not a backfit, was a credible antisubmarine warfare (ASW) warship and served as flagship for North Fleet commander Vice Adm. Zhang Zhannan, PLAN, until relieved by the newest 05 IC DDG 115 in late 2006. The planned North Fleet structure will base the First Detachment in Qingdao and the Tenth Detachment in Lushun. Each will have a 05 IC air defense ship.
After relying on 3, 000- ton Luda destroyers for 30 years, in 1985 China began building a series of one or two increasingly modern DDGs. The 4,000-ton Luhu evolved into the 5,000-ton Luyang series. Except for the first Luhu 112, none of these new-generation DDGs was based in the North Fleet, and only six old Ludas and four old 05 3 H series frigates were based there.
Two of the North Fleet Luda destroyers, Kaifeng DDG 109 and Dalian DDG 110, were upgraded with French short-range surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), and DD 105 was the Luda II trial ship with a helicopter deck and hangar in the 1990s.
All of the new-generation Luhai and Luyang 052B and 052C and Sovremmenyi DDGs are in the East and South Fleets because of East Fleet Taiwan and South China Sea priorities. The 052B SAN- 12 and Sovremmenyi SAN-7 both used F-band Front Dome SAM datalinks. The Russian MR-600 Mineral-ME radar datalink system had been on other PLAN warships prior to 05 IC. Russia exported 10 Mineral-ME systems to China.
The 05 IC is largest PLAN DDG, and the most capable new systems are the Russian SAN-6 vertical launch system (VLS) and S-300 air defense sensor and missile systems. In the 1970s, the PLAN unsuccessfully attempted to install a Soviet SA-2 launcher on two Jiangdong frigates. Next, imported French short range (13-kilometer/7-mile range) Crotale launchers were put on some frigates and four old Luda destroyers. The imported Sovremmenyi SAN-7 had a 25-kilometer/14-mile range, and China's 052B DDG had a SAN- 12 medium range (35-kilometer/19-mile range) system. The 052C had an indigenous VLS that launched SAN HH-9 missiles with a 100-kilometer/ 54-mile range.
The 05IC is a less advanced design than the 052C with its Aegis-like PAR (SIGNAL Magazine, July 2005, page 59) and cannot match the JMSDF Aegis Kongou class. But the 05 IC does fill the need for large fleet air defense ships. The two 051Cs are in response to increased tension created by Chinese incursions into Japanese economic waters and oil field and island rights contention (SIGNAL Magazine, November 2006, page 33). The JMSDF consists of four Escort Flotillas. Escort Flotilla 2 consists of the flagship Aegis DDG 173 Kongou, DDG 170, DDH144, and five conventional destroyers (DDs). Because neither of the two PLAN 052C Aegis DDGs is based in the North, the Kongou and its DDG, along with DD consorts with years of training and operations, are stronger than the PLAN North Fleet, even with the 05IC.
An obvious question is why China would develop its newest and largest DDG lacking the desirable Aegis-like radar, stealthy architecture and combined diesel and gas (CODAG) propulsion featured on prior operational new construction DDGs. All previous Dalian Shipyard-built warships had a high radar cross-section shape and probably steam propulsion. Could it be a limitation in Dalian shipyard capabilities? A more likely explanation could be the development time lines of die 051 series. The 051 series warships were started years before the next-generation 052 series warships. China faced complexity and procurement problems for obtaining and integrating the highest Russian naval technologies for 05 IC along with extensive negotiations to obtain the high-technology Russian S-300F AD radar. After export approval would have come the task of converting die radar and displays over to the challenging shipboard space, shock and power environment.
The Luyang class 052B was launched in 2002, and 052C was launched in 2003. The 05 IB Luhai was launched in 1997, but the 05 IC was not launched until 2006. Since Luhus were hull number 112 and 113, and 051C is hull 115 and 116, it seems that a third Luhu 1 14 was cancelled. The 05 IC design probably preceded the 052 series by several years.
The evolution of these ships' technology followed a long and tortuous path. The 9,400-ton Soviet navy Slava cruiser built in 1983 had the SAN-6b Rif-M VLS with a huge 35-ton 3R41 Volna engagement radar named Top Dome. The Soviet-designated SAN-6 on the Slava was a navalized S-300 Fort-M. The Top Dome radar was not sold to China, probably because of its cost and bulk with the Rif-M naval system, and it most likely was too large and heavy for the 4,000-ton 051C hull.
he Volna SAM illumination guidance (IG) radar on 05 IC is the 30N6E1, which is mounted forward of the aft helicopter hangar. This is the export designation of the S-300 land air defense radar for the Russian SA- 10 Grumble. China received 20 batteries of long-range land-based S-300P from 1997 to 2006 to protect high-value targets such as Peking and Shanghai. China contracted with Russia for two sets of S-300F Rif naval SAM systems from NPO Altair Design Bureau in 2002, and these ended up on the 051C ships. The 30N6E detect and track system is mounted aft. The ship's air defense protective umbrella extends out 150 kilometers (95 miles).
The long-range air early warning radar on Slava was the Top Pair three dimensional (3-D) radar. It consisted of Top Sail and Big Net 850-megahertz radar antennas mounted back-to-back facing opposite directions. The PLAN 05 IC uses the Fregat M2EM 3-D surveillance radar for this function. Fregat is a 300-kilometer (190-mile) range ?-band Russian radar.
Fore and aft 100-millimeter fully automatic main twin gun mounts fire at 90 rounds per minute (RPM). The Type 344 fire-control radar has replaced the earlier 343G radar for the stealthy PJ33A twin-barrel 100-millimeter main battery. The 051C carries only eight 120-kilometer (75-mile) range YJ-83 surface-to-surface missiles compared to 16 on the 052A, 052B and 052C Luyang class ships. Two Type 730 close-in weapon systems with a firing rate of 4600 to 5800 RPM are controlled by Rice Bowl fire-control radar directors.
AKD3000 Ku frequency satellite communications radomes with Dong Zhong Dong naval antenna have been observed. Standard Chinese navigation radomes that are Global Navigation Satellite Network (GLONASS) and global positioning system (GPS) compatible are mounted near the engineering stack. Drawing from electronic warfare imported from the Dutch Signaal Company, the RAPIDS electronics support measures (ESM) suite now is produced as the Chinese Type 445, and the RAMSES electronic countermeasure (ECM) system has evolved into the Chinese built Type 445. Modern export designations are ESM 923 and ECM 981. This is not as capable as the SLQ-32 looking ESM on the 052 Luyang DDGs. Earlier one-way datalinks are replaced by the new two-way Chinese HN900 tactical datalink on the foremast yardarm. A Russian Mineral-ME3 I-band datalink in the Front Dome radome facilitates joint operations with Russian warships by having parallel Chinese and Russian datalinks.
The antisubmarine suite appears to be a French DUBV-23 medium-frequency bow sonar, a pair of Type 87 six-barrel automatic reloading ASW mortars on the bow and two over-the-side torpedo launchers. The only wild card would be if the VLS cells included the ASROC copy CY-I long range ASW rocket, as the U.S. MK 41 VLS does. This is unlikely because an air defense ship would want to be able to carry all of the SAMs possible in its inventory.Standard weapon system reference sources state mat the Dalian-built Luhai 05 IB has imported gas turbine engines such as the Luhu and Luyang 052 series DDGs that were built in Shanghai. The 05 IC would be the only modem PLAN DDG that does not have CODAG propulsion. The frigates and even larger ships all have relied on diesels for propulsion. The traditional steam plant has not been used on a PLAN destroyer warship since the dated Luda class. Kanwa Defense Review offers a dissenting view diat Luhai has steam propulsion such as me other Dalian-built 051 Luda and 05 IC warships. Steam propulsion is less expensive to procure, and the extremely high price paid for die anti-SSM and Russian SAN-6 VLS and S-300 area defense complex may have driven China to pursue savings in the propulsion plant to control ship cost
China's integrated air defense based on cheap, sometimes stolen digital technology are now considered potentially more threatening to the U.S. than Russia's. The wholesale use of commercial products has made Chinese networks flexible, easy to upgrade and tough to exploit.
That opinion, rapidly taking hold in the U.S. electronic warfare community, is part of the tsunami of air defense anaÂlysis following Israel's demonstration of its ability to shut down Syria's Russian-built air defenses long enough to conduct a bombing raidâ€”and then allowed the radars to come back on in time to see the Israeli aircraft disappearing over the border.
China's air defense expenditures are calculated by aerospace officials as only one-tenth of what's invested by the U.S. The Chinese systems are affordable, in part, because of the regular use of stolen U.S. technology described as "Cisco" in Chinese, by one specialist. The telecom companies that conduct and exploit the thefts are run by former People's Liberation Army generals. The low cost allows rapid updating and proliferation of these defenses, which is one of the best ways to confound attack planners.
"The Chinese, like many countries without billions to spend on defense, are figuring out how to leverage all that commercial technology into their military capabilities," says Rance Walleston, BAE Systems's director of information operations initiative and information warfare. "We ve spent a lot of time looking at Chinese technologies. They are not building many unique devices. Their integrated air defense system [IADS] uses commercial standards, such as GSM and voice over Internet protocols (VOIP)".
The Syrian radio which involved air-to-ground and network-to-network electronic invasion of a Russian-built IADS's is convincing some that custom-built, highly specialized and expensive air defenses with long development times are decreasing in deterrent value. In fact, they have become victims of their own uniqueness. Because they were hard to develop and field, they arent often modified. That gives electronic warriors the time to conduct analysis and build countermeasures.
But last year's events havent changed U.S. government views of the threat.
"A lot of the threat models used to evaluate whether new programs work are outdated," says a participant in electronic warfare and network attack since the 1992-95 conflict in Bosnia. They are Soviet-era models. Where are the people who are thinking about what the Chinese IADS really look like? The Israelis are already running up against different defenses now that they have highlighted some of the weaknesses in Syria's air defenses.
Wednesday, 21 May, 2008
'You just should not underestimate the growth in demand for MDI and TDI here,' said BASF board member John Fedmann in an interview for Shanghai Daily.
The three Chinese companies involved in the project are Shanghai Huayi, Sinopec and Shanghai Chlor-Alkali. BASF and Huntsman each own 35 per cent of the venture, the Chinese companies own the remaining 30 per cent.
Also in Shanghai, German chemical company Bayer is building the largest MDI production plant in the world. The plant, scheduled to start production in 2008, will have an annual capacity of 350 000 tonnes.
The loss in April of an entire Ming submarine crew highlights the dangers. Questions remain as to whether China can maintain and support such new and complex naval technology to attain operational capabilities. China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) submarine force shore support infrastructure has evolved from one dedicated to supporting the earlier generation of ex-Soviet diesel boats. China now has submarine designs with limited imported technology, and next-generation nuclear submarines under construction could bring greater support problems in the future. In addition, China faces unique difficulties in supporting complex Russian high-technology electrical and combat systems on imported Kilo submarines.
The burden of servicing complex modern submarines rests heavily on the PLAN organization of shipyards, maintenance, repair, operations and training. The time lag from receiving modern submarines and systems and assimilating them into the battle force is many years. This is complicated by the fact that China made no attempt to collocate or integrate modern Russian system training, support or repair with an extensive Chinese submarine support infrastructure in Northern China or Shanghai. It could be a decade before China's imported Russian submarines and complex systems will be a viable challenge to other Pacific Rim powers, including the United States.
Numerous shipyards from northern, eastern and southern fleet ports as well as inland third tier locations built hundreds of Russian Whiskey and Romeo designs-designated Type 03 and Type 033, respectively, by the PLAN-from 1955 until 1975. Naturally, these yards had the ability to perform all levels of repair, but most support came from facilities near the homeports. The facility at Northern Qingdao was inherited from the Germans who built up the base, but China developed it into the focal point for submarine training and various support tasks such as weapon testing and diver school. China's Submarine Institute was established in 1953, and Qingdao was made North Fleet headquarters in 1954. The first Hanclass nuclear attack submarine (SSN) 401 was commissioned in 1971, and four years later, the first nuclear submarine flotilla was formed.
The shipbuilding bureau has evolved through several major reorganizations from Sixth Ministry of Machine Building in 1960 to China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) in 1980. There were six shipyards throughout China that built 1950s-Russian-design boats. In 1998 CSSC was split into separate northern large vessel and southern small vessel groups. The only vessel types built in both groups are submarines. The Northern CSSC builds nuclear submarines in Huludao, and the Southern CSSC builds new diesel boats at Wuhan.
PLAN submarines historically did not operate at sea very often, and then usually in coastal waters. The PLAN has several submarine support craft, and three Dajiang-class ships have a large crane and two 35-ton deep submergence recovery vessels (DSRVs) embarked. The Chinese DSRV can rescue 22 crewmen from a claimed depth of 600 meters and was operational in 1989.
China has built a long-range high frequency (HF) and very low frequency (VLF) communication capability to support distant operations. Initial fleet submarine command links were long-range HF radios left by the departing Russians at Port Arthur and Qingdao. In 1958 Russia agreed to, supply a high-power VLF site, and in 1982 Russia completed construction of an extremely high-power VLF station. The distant South Fleet naval communication link was a low frequency (LF) station in Zhanjiang. The first high-power LF station was built in Hainan in 1965.
By 1980, submerged submarine communications were possible via VLF transmitters at Zhanjiang and Yulin. Chinese VLF sites are 20.5 kilohertz, which is bracketed by Russian Pacific VLF of 18.1 kilohertz and 21.1 kilohertz. China currently has 12 VLF stations. Two examples of fleet submarine command and control (C^sup 2^) in the Yellow Sea provide conflicting arguments on the issue of effectiveness. In 1994 a Ran SSN located the USS Kitty Hawk carrier battle group, and several F-6 naval fighters were sent out to assist when U.S. forces practiced antisubmarine measures on it. This showed effective PLAN communications, navigation and control. However, in 2003 Northern Fleet C^sup 2^ failures led to the loss of a Ming submarine and its crew.
From 1950 to 1975, Chinese shipyards assimilated the simplistic Soviet Whiskey- (Type 03) and Romeo- (Type 033) class designs and produced more than 100. Chinese diesel and battery plants produced the basic hull, machinery and electrical (HM&E) systems. The Soviet Type 37-D 4000 HP diesels were manufactured in China and designated MTU-12V 493 diesels. The Soviet 46SU lead-acid battery cells were 1,013 millimeters high, 365 millimeters wide and 656 millimeters long. All Chinese submarines used 224 cells rated at a 6600-ampere-hour charge.
Combat systems such as radar, sonar and navigation were mass-produced from Soviet examples and drawings, or they were reverse engineered as needed. When Soviet aid and advisers were withdrawn in 1960, the PLAN was self-sufficient to maintain production and support of the 1950s-era submarines and internal equipment.
The sighting of a Type 03 class in the 1974 Paracel Islands conflict with Vietnam was one of the few out-of-area submarine operations. Not until 1999 did all three submarine fleets conduct operations off the east coast of Taiwan. Both submarine and antisubmarine operations also increased. Normally short coastal cruises increased to 45 days and 60 days for diesel and nuclear submarines, respectively. Although China is secretive about military problems, submarine hull 418 is known to have sunk in December 1959 with the loss of 39 sailors, and a Type 033 boat was lost in an accident around 1993.
As some Western nations offered the sale of modern equipment for the antiquated submarine hulls in the 1975 to 1995 time frame, China decided to design and produce modern diesel submarines using some imported Western systems. Both of the new series of modernized Chinese diesel submarine classes were built at the Wuhan shipyard.
The Ming class was based on the traditional Romeo hull design, and the first two, hulls 341 and 342, were launched in 1975. In 1979, boat 341 was scrapped after a serious fire. Then the Chinese may have undertaken some redesign because hull 343 was not launched until 1982. Although there were other periods when production of Mings stopped for several years, a total of 19 were built. Safety problems in the design remain that could have been related to the loss of a Ming submarine in April 2003. On May 2, 2003, the PLAN admitted that an entire crew of 70 sailors was killed by a recent accident on hull 361 in the Yellow Sea. The typical crew of that type of boat is 56, so there were 14 extra people on board for their mission. Conventional speculation would be that the submarine suffered a terrific explosion that would cause it to plunge to the bottom, as in previous submarine incidents that caused the loss of entire crews. For example, the Russian submarine Kursk was lost because of unsafe hydrogen-peroxide torpedoes, which since have been removed from Russian and U.S. submarines.
Photographs of the doomed Ming 361 in Shanghai during 1995 show flank array sonar panels, which indicate that it was one that received a French TR-2225 passive tracking system. After the fatal accident, this submarine was towed to port. This means it suffered its accident on the surface. because the PLAN lucks the capability to raise a submarine from the ocean bottom. In 2000 and 2001, China sent representatives to submarine rescue conferences and international submarine rescue exercises. The PLAN held meetings with Canadian and British DSRV companies, but no actual sales were announced.
No information about what happened to hull 361 was released, but the most probable scenario was that seawater seeped into the batteries, creating a toxic environment that possibly could kill an entire crew while on the surface. However, on June 13, 2003, it was announced that two North Fleet admirals and eight other officers were demoted for the submarine loss, and improper "command and control" was stated as the reason. This brings up the possibility of a weapon launched from another platform during tests or an exercise accidentally hitting 361. The East China Sea area south of the accident is where submarine-launched Strike Eagle Number 8 Model 3 antisubmarine missile tests were held on a Song in 1997.
The cost to produce modern diesel submarines was so high that a special budget request was submitted in 1993, but only one quarter of the requested amount was funded. The first hull of the Song class started sea trials in 1995. The integration of Chinese, Russian and imported systems such as the French TSM 2225 sonar and German diesel engine is blamed for serious system design and operational problems on the lead boat. It was several years before a much-redesigned second Song submarine was lanched. This is the quietest Chinese-design submarine. and it launches several types of missiles while submerged.
The most ambitious new submarines were the five Han-class nuclear submarines. These were built at the Huludao shipyard, and the lead boat took nine years to complete, becoming operational in 1974. Since Russian assistants departed in 1960, the Chinese had to design new systems required by nuclear propulsion technology, including the teardrop-shape single screw Albacore hull. The Han design was lengthened and made into the Xia nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) by putting in 12 JL-1 (CSS-N-3) submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). The torpedoes on all Chinese-built submarines were old Russian 53-39 straight-running steam and 53-56 pattern-running torpedoes provided with the initial Soviet submarines sold to China. The second number in the designation is the year of design. The Chinese-built YU-4 electric passive torpedoes are based on a Soviet SET-53 torpedo obtained in 1958. The navigation and fire control computers were mechanical-analog with synchro dials and range counters, again based on early Soviet designs.
A cost not included in the published PLAN annual budget is the cost to procure foreign weapons. Kilo submarines cost $47 million each. The first two Russian Kilo submarines ordered were the earlier exported version 877 EKM that dates back to 1985. Nearly all of its systems from HM&E up to combat systems were generations ahead of what was on all previous PLAN submarines. For example, the sonar and fire control advanced from analog vacuum tube technology to the use of 100,000 operations-per-second digital computers. The Uzel fire control system tracks three contacts for engagement. The MGK-400 EM sonar is an active/passive system that performs all functions digitally, including beam formation. It automatically tracks four contacts and can attack two simultaneously.
Realizing the training challenge for the Chinese crews, Russia, when negotiating the deal in 1994, proposed 18 months of training, a realistic simulator and associated base support infrastructure. In 1995, China actually funded one year of training for the first 877 crew in St. Petersburg, Russia, and a shorter training period for the second crew at the submarine base in Xiangshan.
Although the sonar, fire control, radars and electronic warfare all were highly advanced and complex systems, it is likely that the HM&E systems actually kept the two submarines from being operational for more than two years after delivery. The Type 2D-42 diesel generators rated at 1,500 kilowatts each were beyond the ability of the Chinese to maintain or repair, and they were returned to the Elektrosila plant in Russia for repairs. Setting up a new base at Xiangshan for Kilos and basing of sophisticated Sovremenny guided missile destroyers at nearby Dinghai make this area a central complex for Russian advisers to conduct training and maintenance of advanced Russian systems. Russia provided advanced TEST-71 and TEST-96 wire-guided electric torpedoes and 53-65KE wake homing anti-surface-ship torpedoes, but five years later they had not yet been test fired. In 1997 Kazakhstan sold some high-speed Shkval torpedoes to China without necessary fire control.
The 877s were followed in 1997 and 1998 by two of the latest 636 Kilos that had many of the same combat systems as 877, but the troublesome Type 2D-42 diesel generators were replaced by more complex turbocharged Type 4-2AA-42M diesel generators rated at 1,500 kilowatts each. Instead of 18 months of training for 636 submarines that Iran and India had, China reduced training to nine months. Only the officers for the two 636 crews were trained in St. Petersburg in 1997. The enlisted men were trained at the Xiangshan home port. The Chinese are blamed for the battery problems of Kilos, but other customers such as Iran and India have had similar problems. Increased reliability is achieved with batteries made in India and Britain.A new-generation SSN Project 093 and a new SSBN Project 094 are being built at the Huludao shipyard. Numerous reports of Russian help persist, but the Russians deny involvement. The project 093 appears to be similar to the Soviet Victor ill class, which had many advanced systems combined with quiet noise levels and high-speed performance. It is expected to have submerged launch capability for antiship and land attack cruise missiles. The project 094 will feature 16 long-range JL-2 (CSS-N-4) SLBMs that have completed testing and have been back-fitted to the single Xia SSBN.
China is moving quickly to develop and deploy advanced missile systems. For example, the Chinese air force (People's Liberation Army Air Force, or PLAAF) is preparing to deploy its first active radar anti-air missile.
The PLAAF has completed its first round of development tests on the PL-12 radar-guided missile. The Pi Li 12 is considered to be superior to the U.S. AIM-120 AMRAAM missile. The self-guided AMRAAM is the main long-range armament for all U.S. fighter jets.
The new Chinese Project 129 or PL-12 missile is a Sino-Russian collaboration drawn from the Russian AA-12 Adder and equipped with an indigenous Chinese high-power rocket motor.
Both Russian missile makers Vympel and seeker-designer AGAT are directly involved with the China Leihua Electronic Technology Research Institute (LETRI), also known as 607 Institute, in the PL-12 program.
The Chinese missile reportedly uses a Russian-made AGAT radar seeker directly related to the Russian R-77 (AA-12 Adder) air-to-air missile.
The PL-12 reportedly has a maximum head-on engagement range of 50 miles and a maximum speed of four times the speed of sound. The PL-12 recently completed a series of trials on the Shenyang J-8II, and integration tests are now under way on the Chengdu F-10 advanced fighter.
The missile is expected to be deployed on the F-10, the new FC-1 and the J-11, the Chinese licensed manufactured SU-27 Flanker.
Russian Weapons for Sale
Russia is also assisting the PLAAF to develop the F-10 jet fighter. Rosoboronexport, the Russian weapons export company, has signed a $300 million deal with the PLAAF to supply 100 Salyut Al-31FN turbofan jet engines for the F-10.
The jet engines are a modified version of the same Al-31 engines installed on the Sukhoi SU-27 operated by the PLAAF. The deal follows a sale of 54 Al-31FN engines last year.
The U.S. Defense Department also predicted the growing Russian weapons sale in its recently released "ANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS: The Military Power of the People's Republic of China 2005."
"As China's defense industries continue to mature, Beijing is purchasing from abroad systems to meet near-term requirements. For example, China received deliveries of Su-30MK2 multi-role FLANKER aircraft in 2004 to fill a gap until the F-10 or a license-produced multi-role FLANKER could be deployed. China is also purchasing the Russian AL-31FN aero-engine for the F-10 fighter, while working on an indigenously produced turbofan engine," states the recently released report.
"Beijing has been acquiring foreign and domestic fourth generation tactical aircraft (e.g., Su-27 and Su-30 FLANKER variants, and the PLA's indigenous F-10, which will begin to enter service in 2005). The PLA has also acquired advanced air-to-surface missiles that will allow its air forces to attack surface targets, afloat and ashore, from greater distance and with more precision. Newer aircraft are also being equipped with advanced air-to-air missiles and electronic warfare technology that give these aircraft technological parity with or superiority over most potential adversaries," notes the report.
China has also continued to deploy dangerous first-strike missile systems designed to start and win a war. China has deployed some 650-730 mobile DF-11 and DF-15 short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) to garrisons opposite Taiwan. The PLA has plans to increase this force to over 1,000 missiles.
According to the U.S. Defense Department, "deployment of these systems is increasing at a rate of about 100 missiles per year. Newer versions of these missiles feature improved range and accuracy."
In addition, Chinese long-range nuclear-tipped missiles can currently target the entire continental United States. China is modernizing its longer-range ballistic missile force by replacing older systems with newer, more survivable missiles.
Over the next several years China will begin to bring into service a new road-mobile solid-propellant intercontinental-range ballistic missile (ICBM), the DF-31, an extended range DF-31A, and a new submarine-launched ballistic missile, the JL-2.
Many China apologists argue that the People's Republic is not aggressive and has never invaded another country. The U.S. Defense Department report noted, however, that China has invaded other nations in the recent past, taking military actions against India, invading Tibet and striking at Vietnam.
"Returning to the 1979 conflict with Vietnam, Beijing launched that invasion as a punitive measure to 'teach Hanoi a lesson' following its incursion into Cambodia. China used military coercion short of war when it launched missiles into closure areas off Taiwan in 1995 and 1996 to pressure Taipei," states the report.
China Is Unstable
The Defense Department report also noted that events inside China are not as stable as the PRC government would like the world to believe. The totalitarian regime already faces a great deal of internal trouble brought on by its rigid and brutal policies.
"Party leaders have relaxed their grip on the economic sphere and now allow greater public discourse on some issues, but continue to repress any challenges to their monopoly on political power," states the report.
"As documented in the latest U.S. Department of State report on human rights, independent trade and labor unions are suppressed, ethnic-Tibetan and Uighur minorities are repressed, and religious groups continue to face harassment. Since 1999, as many as 2,000 adherents of the spiritual movement Falun Gong have died in prison from torture, abuse, or neglect. By suppressing the sort of civil society that can provide stability in crises, the Party has become less susceptible to small impacts but remains vulnerable to larger perturbations," states the report.
"Domestic protests, mainly directed at local policies and officials, have grown violent over the past year, posing increasing challenges to China's internal security forces," states the Defense report.
"The number of these incidents in 2004 reached an all-time high of at least 58,000, according to official Chinese estimates. The rising number of protests reflects growing popular dissatisfaction with official behavior related to property rights and forced relocations, labor rights, pensions, corruption, and political reforms."
Monday, 19 May, 2008
The company said the project is of "strategic importance" to its investment in Jinzhou, a northeastern port city. It will further help Jinzhou to become an important port for oil products in the country.
Jinzhou is important for trade in oil products, bulk ore and coal shipping. CNPC had earlier become the third largest shareholder of Jinzhou Port Co Ltd with a 9.33 percent stake, or 98.475 million shares.
It got 83.475 million and 15 million Jinzhou Port shares respectively from CNPC Jinzhou Petrochemical Corp and CNPC Jinxi Refining and Chemical Complex, both wholly owned by CNPC.China's two oil majors, CNPC and Sinopec, have increased their pace in crude oil and oil product storage. Sinopec, Asia's top refiner, has set up a unit to manage its oil storage. The Sinopec Commercial Crude Reserve Center, the first of its kind in China, will manage the financing of oil purchases and their flows into and out of storage facilities.
Last year Sinopec's oil depot in Tianjin began commercial operation. The Nanjiang oil depot, located in Tanggu, has six oil tanks, each with a storage capacity of 100,000 cu m.The oil depot will supply crude to Sinopec's refining unit, Beijing Yanshan PetroChemical, through a 228 km crude pipeline, which has an annual designed capacity of 2 million tons, said the company.
The Tanggu-Beijing crude pipeline also came onstream last year.CNPC had earlier announced setting up an oil storage tank in Changde city, the first of its kind in Hunan province, with a capacity of 20,000 cu m.
The depot, covering 38,000 sq m, cost the company 52 million yuan and will receive oil supply from CNPC refineries in northeast and northwest China and ease Hunan's oil shortage.The company is now building a commercial crude oil reserve base in Shanshan county in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.The company plans to invest 6.5 billion yuan in the project, which will have a storage capacity of 8.1 million cu m, a company source had told China Daily earlier.
Approximately 20 Chinese weapons are deployed on missiles that can reach the continental United States. After developing its first nuclear weapon in 1964, China became a major supplier of sensitive nuclear and missile technology to the developing world. The United States and other countries have worked to draw China step-by-step into the international nonproliferation regime. Over three decades, these efforts have achieved important progress. Proliferation issues exist, but they are now a relatively minor aspect of the United States–China relationship.
China has not officially released details about the size or composition of its nuclear arsenal, making estimates difficult to develop. Much of the unclassified information compiled on China’s forces is from unverified media reports and occasional statements by intelligence or government officials. From these, it is possible to estimate that China fields approximately 152 warheads on land- and sea-launched missiles, 130 bomber weapons, and 120 weapons on artillery, short-range missiles, and other weapons.1 Beijing also maintains a fairly extensive nuclear weapons production and research complex. China has conducted 45 nuclear weapons tests, the first of which took place on October 16, 1964, and the last on July 29, 1996. China has signed but not yet ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Aircraft and Missile Capabilities
China is in the process of modernizing its strategic missile forces, although historically its progress has been slow and has lagged well behind foreign estimates. Although China deploys several types of ballistic missiles, only the DF-5 (13,000- kilometer range) is an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by Western standards and is capable of reaching the continental United States. Currently, China deploys approximately 20 DF-5 ICBMs and 12 DF-4 intermediate-range missiles (5,500-kilometer range).2 China is developing and may have deployed the DF-31, a mobile, three-stage solid-fueled ICBM with an estimated range of 8,000 kilometers. China conducted three flight tests of the DF-31, the last one on January 2002. One source concludes that 8 missiles were deployed in 2004. Plans to develop another land-based missile, the DF-41, a solid-fueled ICBM with a range of 12,000 kilometers, appear to have been canceled in favor of an extended-range version of the DF-31, the DF-31A. The U.S. Department of Defense estimates that the number of Chinese ICBMs capable of hitting the United States “could increase to around 30 by 2005 and may reach up to 60 by 2010.”
China’s medium-range ballistic missiles include an aging force of 40 DF-3As
(2,900-kilometer range) that it is phasing out after 30 years in service. China also has 48 DF-21As (1,800-kilometer range), but it has converted some to conventionally armed missiles. China is also developing the Julang-2, a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) based on the DF-31. China has only one ballistic missile submarine, however, which has never left coastal waters and is not operational. There are some reports that a new missile submarine may be ready to enter service in the next few years. China’s bomber force consists mainly of aging H-6 aircraft based on the Soviet Tu-16 Badger bomber, with a range of 3,100 kilometers. China purchased 24 Su-30 fighter aircraft and SA-20 surface- to-air missile systems from Russia in 2004, but these are not thought to have been modified for a nuclear role.1
Biological and Chemical Weapons Capability
China is believed by U.S. intelligence to possess chemical and biological weapons research and development programs, and some offensive chemical weapons. There is no publicly available evidence of such weapons. China is a signatory to the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and has denied having any biological warfare programs. It declared under the terms of the CWC that it previously had a chemical weapons program but that it destroyed those agents before joining the treaty.
In the past decade China's growing military capability has attracted a great deal of attention, but details about the current and likely near-future state of China's military power have been in short supply. While it is true that China is modernizing its forces and increasing defense spending, the prospective improvements in overall military capability need to be set against the very low-technology starting point of China's armed forces.
The article begins by looking at recent trends and likely future developments in China's nuclear and conventional forces. It then discusses potential military courses of action by China towards Taiwan, now and in the future.
CHINA'S NUCLEAR FORCES
According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and the SIPRI Yearbook 1999, the size of the Chinese nuclear arsenal is about 400 warheads. The Bulletin estimates that 20 nuclear-armed missiles are deployed in the intercontinental role, and another 230 nuclear weapons on deployed (or can be deployed) on aircraft, missiles, and submarines with regional capabilities. The 150 remaining nuclear warheads are believed to be reserved for "tactical" uses (short-range missiles, low yield aircraft-dropped bombs, and possibly artillery shells or demolition munitions).1
Nuclear weapons in China are under the control of the Central Military Commission, which is headed by the President. Other members of the commission are generals from the People's Liberation Army (PLA), who may also serve on the Politburo of the Communist Party.
Intercontinental Nuclear Forces
China currently maintains a minimal intercontinental nuclear deterrent using land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The Dong Feng-5 (DF-5) liquid-fueled missile, first deployed in 1981, has a range of 13,000 km and carries a single multi-megaton warhead. Twenty are believed to be deployed in central China, southwest of Beijing. Unlike China's earlier ballistic missiles, which were stored in caves and moved out for launch, the DF-5 can be launched directly from vertical silos—but only after a two-hour fueling process. In order to increase the survivability of the DF-5s, dummy silos are placed near the real silos. The DF-5's range gives it coverage of all of Asia and Europe, and most of the United States. The south-eastern US states are at the edge of the missile's range.
Two additional long-range ballistic missiles are in the development stage, the 8,000 km DF-31 and the 12,000 km DF-41. Both missiles are expected to be solid-fueled and based on mobile launchers. It is not known how many missiles China plans to deploy nor how many warheads the missiles may carry, but it is believed that China is hoping to deploy multiple nuclear warheads and penetration aids. These may be either multiple re-entry vehicles (MRVs) or the more capable, but technically difficult multiple independently-targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs). First deployment for the DF-31 could occur before 2005; the DF-41 is likely to follow, possibly around 2010.2
China's nuclear-armed naval forces are currently limited to one Xia Type 092 nuclear-powered and nuclear ballistic missile-equipped submarine (SSBN), which has a history of reactor and acoustic problems. The Xia can carry 12 Ju Lang-1 (JL-1) SLBMs with a single 200-300 kt warhead and a range of 1,700 km. Due to its technical limits, the Type 092 is never deployed outside regional waters.
China is reported to be planning to build four-to-six new Type 094 SSBNs. The Type 094 will introduce a safer, quieter reactor and better overall performance. It is expected to have 16 JL-2 missiles, capable of carrying up to six warheads per missile (probably MRVs that are not independently targetable). The initial launch date is supposed to be scheduled for 2002; but development of the JL-2 missile may take considerably longer because to date the land-based missile on which it based, the DF-31, has been test launched only once. If China were to employ a deployment rotation similar to that for US Navy SSBNs (three submarines for each one in target range, with one on station, one in transit, and one in refit), then six SSBNs would give China the ability to keep two submarines on station in the Pacific at all times, able to strike all of Asia, Europe, and North America.3 If the planned 6 submarines are built with the maximum number of warheads per missile, the number of total deployable submarine-based nuclear warheads will rise to 576. Even if the warheads were not independently targetable, the minimum number likely to be on station and capable of striking the United States would be 192—that is, enough to saturate the proposed light US national missile defense, which is now driving the Chinese strategic nuclear modernization and expansion program.
Regional Nuclear Forces
China also deploys three weapons in the intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) and medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) categories. These missiles are capable of posing strategic threats to countries in Asia, such as India or Japan, but represent a lesser threat to Russia, and are only a threat to the United States through the vulnerability of US military bases in Japan and South Korea.
The oldest nuclear missile deployed by China is the semi-mobile 2,800 km-range DF-3A. The estimated 40 liquid-fueled DF-3s still in service today are being phased out in favor of the DF-15 (see below) and DF-21. They were followed by the liquid-fueled DF-4, which has a maximum range of 4,750 km. About 20 DF-4s remain in service in fixed launch sights. Chinese regional ballistic missile capabilities advanced greatly with the introduction of the DF-21, the first solid-fueled medium-range missile. The solid-fuel design provides China with a faster launch time, because the lengthy and potentially dangerous fueling procedure of the earlier Dong Feng models has been eliminated. First deployed in 1986, the 48 operational DF-21s have a range of 1,800 km and are carried on mobile launchers. The DF-21 is the basis for the JL-1 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
The older liquid-fuel missiles carry single warheads with yields estimated at 3.3 MT. The newer solid-fuel missiles have single warheads with maximum yields of a few hundred kilotons each.
The Chinese bomber force is based on locally produced versions of Soviet aircraft first deployed in the 1950s. With the retirement of the H-5/Il-28 from the nuclear role, the H-6/Tu-16 remains the only nuclear-capable bomber in the Chinese inventory. First entering service with the Soviet Air Force in 1955, the Tu-16 was produced in China in the 1960s. The H-6/Tu-16 is capable of carrying one-to-three nuclear bombs over a combat radius of 1,800 km to 3,100 km. About 120 People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) H-6/Tu-16s are believed to be capable of nuclear missions. Another 20 H-6/Tu-16s are under the control of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and do not perform nuclear missions. There is no indication of a replacement for the H-6/Tu-16 in the near future. The J-7/MiG-21 and the newer Chinese-designed JH-7s and Russian-exported Su-27s are capable of performing nuclear missions, but they are not believed to be deployed in that role.
Short-Range, Low-Yield Nuclear Weapons
The PLAAF has 20-40 Q-5 Fantan attack aircraft that it uses in the nuclear role. Initially deployed in China in 1970, the Q-5 is a substantially upgraded version of the MiG-19, which was initially deployed in the Soviet Union in 1954 and later produced by China under the designation J-6. The Q-5 can carry a single free-fall nuclear bomb over a combat radius of 400 km. The very short range of the Q-5 limits its battlefield effectiveness, even with conventional armament.
Two types of short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) entered service with China’s Second Artillery forces around 1995: the DF-11/M-11, with a range of 300 km, and the DF-15/M-9, with a range of 600 km. (The ‘DF’ designation is used by missiles in service with China, while the ‘M’ designation is used for export versions.). In theory both missiles but could be fitted with small nuclear devices. As of 2000, a few hundred DF-15s and DF-11s may be deployed; but most if not all are believe to be equipped with conventional warheads.
CHINA'S CONVENTIONAL FORCES
China maintains one of the largest militaries in the world, based on its inventory of major weapon systems. 4 However, the bulk of China's holdings are old in both physical age and technology. Many weapon systems which came into service in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s remain in the inventory today; and all of those systems use 1950s-era technology originally imported from the Soviet Union. While China is modernizing its conventional forces, the new systems are entering are a low rate compared with the overall size of the older forces. As a result over the next decade, as the oldest weapon systems are fully retired, the size of China's conventional forces will shrink dramatically.
Ground Forces and Tanks
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) is moving toward an overall reduction and reorganization of personnel and equipment with the goal of creating a more modern and mobile army. In 2000, the total estimated personnel strength of the Chinese military is 2.5 million, of which 1.8 million are in service with the PLA (ground forces). The ground forces are divided into 7 military regions with 27 military districts. Within the 7 military regions lie 21 Group Armies, each containing about 60,000 personnel. The Group Armies contain among them 44 infantry divisions, 13 infantry brigades, 10 armored divisions, 12 armored brigades, 5 artillery divisions, 20 artillery brigades, and 7 helicopter regiments. In addition, 5 infantry divisions, 2 infantry brigades, 1 armored brigade, 1 artillery division, 3 artillery brigades, and 3 anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) brigades are independent elements of the PLA not assigned to any specific Group Army. There are also three airborne divisions, which are manned by the PLAAF. 5
There are also numerous reserve and paramilitary units, some of which do not fall under the direct control of the PLA. The PLA reserve component has about 1.2 million personnel divided into 50 infantry, artillery, and air-defense divisions. In addition, approximately 1.1 million personnel serve in the People's Armed Police, which includes internal security and border defense forces under the control of the Ministry of Defense. The People's Armed Police is organized into 45 divisions. The reserve forces and the People's Armed Police are expected to increase in size in the near future as active units are shifted to reserve status under China's modernization and restructuring plan. 6
China's tank inventory has numbered around 10,000 for three decades. IDDS estimates the size of China's tank force as of 1 January 2000 at 10,100. Over the past 30 years, most Soviet World War II-vintage tanks (the T-34/85 and the IS-2) have been retired. Initially, these were replaced with large numbers of Soviet T-54/-55s and Chinese-produced versions of the T-54/-55 (Types 59/69/79). Of these, the Type 59 was the most common, with over 8,000 built for the PLA. Production of the Type 59 began in the late 1950s and probably continued into the early 1980s. The subsequent models, Type 69 and Type 79, made their first public appearances in 1982 and 1984, respectively; but despite being produced nearly 30 years after the original Type 59, they were not much more capable than their predecessor.
In 1988, the Type 80 was ready for production. The Type 80 represented China’s first major break from the original T-54/-55 design. It features a computerized fire-control system, a laser range-finder, a gun stabilizer, better suspension and power plant, and night-fighting equipment. The tank currently in production is the Type 85-II/III, which was introduced in the early 1990s as a further development of the Type 80. In addition to the Type 80’s electronic and power plant improvements, the Type 85 has an automatic loading system, which reduces the crew to from 4 to 3. The most recent design to come out of China is the Type 90-II, first revealed in late 1991, which resembles the Russian T-72 and is believed to be similar in performance. The Type 90-II has yet to enter full production, and it is not expected to do so in the near future for PLA service. 7
China also has a nearly 2,000 light tanks. Again, these tanks are copies of old Soviet models: the Type 62 is a scaled down version of the Type 59, while the Type 63 is based on the Soviet amphibious PT-76. Both entered production in China in the early 1960s.
The active Chinese tank inventory may be smaller than the 10,100 holdings estimated by IDDS. With production having started before 1960, many of the 6,000 Type 59s still in service could be over 40 years old. Many are probably not operational due to poor construction and maintenance. In fact, China's history of poor maintenance may also put into question the operational status of some of its newer equipment as well. In any event, as a product of the new Chinese military strategy and the higher tank cost per unit, China seems to be replacing older systems on a less than one-for-one basis, moving slowly towards a much smaller, and somewhat more modern force. China may eventually mass produce the Type 90-II, instead of the Type 85-II/-III, for replacing the bulk of its older tanks. Alternatively, China may be working on an even more advanced tank model, which would further reduce the gap in technical capabilities compared with Western tank designs.
Air Forces and Combat Aircraft
The People's Liberation Army Air Force, PLAAF, currently possesses about 4,350 aircraft, of which the majority are combat aircraft. IDDS estimates that the inventory of Chinese combat aircraft on 1 January 2000 includes the following: 1900 J-6/MiG-19 (all roles and models: fighter, reconnaissance, trainer); 720 J-7/MiG-21 (all roles and models: fighter, reconnaissance, trainer); 222 J-8I/II/III; 55 J-11/Su-27SK; 440 Q-5 (modified MiG-19); 307 H-5/Il-28; and 142 H-6/Tu-16. 8 Small numbers of JH-7s (fewer than 12) and K-8s (10-15) may also be in service. Of these aircraft, the great majority (J-6 and J-7) are of types which began to be deployed before 1972 (See Chart 2.) With the exception of 10 Il-76s, the airlift capabilities of the Chinese Airforce are limited to old Soviet tactical airlift planes built under license or reversed-engineered in China, such as the Y-5/An-2, Y-7/An-24, and Y-8/An-12.
Much confusion exists as to the direction China will take in the future regarding combat aircraft acquisition. The Chinese government has made a priority of the development of a local aerospace industry capable of producing technologically advanced aircraft. However, the results produced by the Chinese aircraft industry to date have not been promising. Despite decades of work, the only original combat aircraft to be designed and produced in China are the J-8 and JH-7, both of which took so long to develop that by the time they entered service, they were already obsolete by Western standards. The newer J-10, which has been in development for twenty years, probably won't enter service for another five years.
China is by no means unique in this respect. Except for the five largest industrial arms producers (the USA, Russia, Britain, France, and Germany), other countries that have attempted to produce indigenously designed combat aircraft, such as Israel, South Africa, India, Taiwan, and South Korea, have abandoned these efforts and returned to importing systems from one of the five main producers. The basic reason is that the economies of scale required to finance research, development, and production of all the systems and sub-systems that make up today’s frontline combat aircraft are not available to smaller industrial countries nor to large developing countries with smaller GNPs and smaller industrial bases. (In fact, for this reason, Russia is lagging increasingly behind the West in most areas of military technology.) 9
As a result of the inability of the Chinese aircraft industry to produce indigenously designed, technologically advanced combat aircraft, the Chinese government has partially reversed its policy of relying on domestic arms production and has renewed imports of combat aircraft from Russia—specifically, Su-27s and Su-30s—in small numbers. Over the next decade, China will produce Su-27s, with the Chinese designation J-11, under license from Russia. Up to 200 Su-27s may be built, but the total may be curtailed if China obtains licensing rights to the Su-30, which offers several technological advances over the Su-27. China currently plans to buy 30–60 Su-30MKs. 10 In addition, China will continue to pursue its own aviation projects. Production of the latest model of the J-8 will continue in small batches. The JH-7 may also be produced in greater numbers, if PLAAF or PLAN can find a role for the aircraft in their inventories. The J-10 is scheduled to enter service around 2005 with initial reports of expected production up to 300 aircraft (depending in part on the progress of the Su-27 program). In any case, the J-10 and the J-11/Su-27 are expected to form the mainstay of the Chinese Air Force in the early 21st century.
Of great significance is China's plan to buy one-to-four AWAC aircraft from Israel. 11 If China purchases just one copy of the aircraft, which is an insufficient number for operational use, it will still provide an opportunity for the PLAAF to experience the use of airborne command and control. China is also making progress in in-flight refueling, and several H-6/Tu-16 bombers and Y-8/An-12 transports have been converted to tankers. As is the case for AWAC aircraft, more acquisitions of tankers will be needed if China seeks to obtain the capability to conduct combat aircraft operations at any distance from its own territory.
Submarines: China embarked on a large submarine building program in the 1960s, which tapered-off in the late 1980s, which included many diesel-electric patrol submarines and some nuclear powered submarines. Many of the diesel-electric submarines from that construction period are now in reserve. Recently, construction and acquisition of new submarines has begun to intensify. In the near future, China’s submarine fleet is expected to be smaller, but more modern.
For most of its history, the People’s Army Liberation Navy (PLAN) submarine fleet has consisted of small coastal patrol submarines and domestically produced versions of the Soviet 'Romeo' class sub. Initially lacking any real ASW capability, the Chinese 'Romeo' class (Type 033) is now outclassed by nearly every ASW system deployed by China's neighbors. In all, 73 Romeos were built for use by China between 1962 and 1987. 12 Of these about 38 remain in active duty, although they may only go out to sea a few days per year. Another 30 are in varying conditions of reserve status. One Romeo was modified to carry six YJ-1 (C-801) anti-ship missiles, but it must surface to fire them.
In the 1970s, China embarked on a program to domestically produce submarines of its own design. The first of these was the 'Ming' class (Type 035), produced from 1971 to 1979, with production resuming again in 1987. The Mings are not much better in capability than their Romeo predecessors, although they are of newer construction. Submarines of the Song (Type 039) follow-on class are slighter larger than the Ming and incorporate streamlined hull for better submerged performance. The first Song was commissioned in 1999, and two more are now under construction. Later models may incorporate design features from the Kilos. The Song class may be fitted with a version of the C-801 or C-802 anti-ship missile that is capable of submerged launch. In addition, China has purchased 4 Kilo class submarines from Russia. Additional purchases of Kilos or the newer 'Amur' class from Russia may depend on the progress of the Song class.
Like China’s effort with the Xia SSBN, China's first attempt to domestically produce a nuclear-powered attack submarine produced disappointing results. The 'Han' class (Type 091) first entered service in 1974. Again, power plant problems plagued the class, and the next ship in the class was not commissioned until 1980. The fifth and final ship did not enter service until 1990. Despite their problems, which may have been fixed, and the long delays in construction, China seems committed to deploying the five subs built. The follow-on Type 093 class is expected to build on the experience from the Han class and on assistance from Russian submarine builders. The class will be similar in capability to the Russian Victor III, first deployed in 1978. The first Type 093 is scheduled to enter service in 2004.
Surface Warships: Since the 1972, the number of ships and overall tonnage of China’s surface combatants has increased at a steady rate. The increase is expected to continue for the next five years, but may decline after that if no new construction or acquisition programs are undertaken. (See Chart 4.)The most recent additions to the Chinese Navy are two Russian-built 'Sovremenny' class destroyers. These ships, the first of which was delivered in February 2000, are the largest and most powerful surface warships ever operated by the Chinese Navy. Their most formidable weapon is the SS-N-22 Sunburn supersonic sea-skimming ASM, of which eight are carried. The Sovremenny is also armed with the SA-N-7 'Gadfly', which will give China a limited naval air-defense capability. Up to now, China has possessed only short-ranged SAMs of French or domestic design.The newest Chinese-built destroyers are two 6,000 ton 'Luhai' class. The first ship of the class entered service in late 1999, and the second is expected to enter service in 2000. Two more are planned with commissioning dates in 2002 and 2003. 13
China operates 18 other destroyers of two principle classes. The 4,200 ton 'Luhu' class was the basis for the 'Luhai' class. Two ships were built, with commissioning dates in 1994 and 1996, respectively, although they were originally ordered in 1985. (Construction was delayed to allow for completion of a frigate order from the Thai Navy.) The Luhus are armed with 8 C-802 ASMs, a domestically built Crotale SAM launcher, which France provided copies of in the 1980s, ASW torpedoes and mortars, and many guns. They are also capable of carrying 2 Harbin Zhi-9A helicopters, which are used for ASW and anti-ship missions.
The largest class of destroyers is the 16 'Luda' I/II/III class (3,670-3,730 tons). These ships are armed with 6 C-201 ASMs, ASW torpedoes and mortars, and a heavy gun armament. The Luda II replaces the aft-most 130 mm and 37 mm gun turrets with a helicopter pad and hangar. The sole Luda III carries the C-801 instead of the less capable C-201. Two of the class have been fitted with a Crotale launcher. Others may be fitted in due course, but priority is being given to the construction of additional ships.
The remaining major surface combatants comprise 37 frigates. As is the case for the destroyers, the frigates are designed mainly for anti-surface warfare and lack any significant self-defense (AAW or ASW) capabilities. The newest and most capable frigates are the 6 'Jiangwei' class ships (2,250 tons). Their armament is similar to the 'Luhu' class, but with fewer guns and missiles. They are capable of carrying a single Dauphin helicopter. The first of these ships was laid down in 1990. Three more are now under construction, with 2 more planned.
There are 31 units of the one other type of frigate in service, the 1,702 ton 'Jianghu' class. The class has four sub-groups: the Jianghu I (27 in service) carry 4 C-201 ASMs, 2-4 100 mm guns, plus varying numbers of lighter caliber guns; the sole Jianghu II replaces aft armament with a helicopter hanger; and the 3 Jianghu III/IVs replace the C-201 with 8 C-801 or C-802 ASMs.
Amphibious Assault Ships: China's amphibious assault capabilities are very limited. As of 1 January 2000, China has only 49 amphibious assault ships with full displacements of 1,000 tons or more (with three more ships under construction). (See Chart 5.) Of these, 42 are under 2,000 tons, and none is larger than 4,800 tons. Many are quite old, including 3 ex-US Navy LSTs built between 1942 and 1945.
This small fleet size excludes any possibility of China attempting to seize control of Taiwan by means of an amphibious assault. Moreover, there is no sign that China is building or planning to build the larger troop and cargo ships which would be necessary for a large-scale attack. Similarly, China's small force of marines (about 5,000) indicates that an expansion of amphibious assault capabilities is not expected.
Overall, the Navy is gaining the most from recent increases in Chinese military spending. Potentially the most ambitious naval program is the possible purchase or construction of aircraft carriers. If and when China acquires an aircraft carrier for active deployment, it will probably be a conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) type, since China does not have access to vertical and short take-off and landing (V/STOL) aircraft, such as the British Sea Harrier. The smallest CTOL carrier currently in service is the Brazilian Minas Gerais, at 20,000 tons. However, China would probably want to use its new Su-27/J-11 and possibly J-10 fighters on any carrier, which would require a flight-deck longer than that on the Brazilian ships. Current estimates place the size of the needed ship at 45,000 to 50,000 tons, which would put it in the same category as the Russian Kuznetsov or the French Charles de Gaulle. 14 Russian design assistance has been sought for the Chinese carrier program and China has studied the ex-Australian carrier Melbourne, which it was towed to China for scrap. 15 China also purchased the ex-Soviet carrier Kiev in May 2000. China is expected to deploy a carrier capable of carrying 24 fighter planes plus helicopters in the support role. The ship is likely to be conventionally powered, since China has limited experience with nuclear power in submarines only. According to press reports, the first Chinese carrier could be in service by 2005, with a second in service by 2009. Additional carriers could follow every three years. 16
China also plans to strengthen its surface fleet through the purchase of additional destroyer from Russia: In addition to the two "off the shelf" Sovremennys already bought, China plans to acquire two more Sovremenny DDGs with modifications. The delivery dates are unknown. 17
POTENTIAL CHINESE USES OF ARMED FORCE AGAINST TAIWAN
The West’s concern about China's military capability is focused mainly on potential military action against Taiwan. China has threatened to take military action if Taiwan declares independence from the mainland or indefinitely prolongs the unification process. While the modernization of China’s military forces currently under way may facilitate a potential attack on Taiwan, it does not make success a forgone conclusion for the foreseeable future. Reviewing potential uses of armed force by China, this section concludes not only that Chinese capabilities are limited now, but also that given the slow pace of modernization, China's capabilities for attack on Taiwan are likely to remain limited for the next 10-15 years.
Combined Arms Attack and Invasion
In theory, China could launch a combined arms amphibious and airborne assault on Taiwan. China’s current forces do not include enough transport assets to accomplish such a task, however; and there is no evidence that China is building up larger numbers of amphibious assault ships or large cargo aircraft. Current military doctrine calls for a 5-to-1 attacker to defender ratio for amphibious assaults. Today China can only transport 1 armored or 3 infantry brigades with its amphibious ships, which would be completely inadequate for an attack on Taiwan. The use of commercial and fishing vessels (for example, splitting a company of troops among 4 fishing trawlers) could not substitute effectively due to communication problems and the resulting inability to coordinate units. An amphibious assault would only be conducted with control the skies over the Strait, which the Chinese Air Force probably cannot accomplish. The weather and terrain of Taiwan favors the defender, with high waves and wind in the Taiwan Strait, combined with cliffs on the eastern part of Taiwan and expansive mudflats on the western coast. Finally, Taiwan and the United States could see an invasion coming many months before the event, because it would take that long to prepare if China did have the forces to attempt the effort.
China could attack Taiwan with a few hundred DF-15 and DF-11 conventionally armed missiles; but history suggests that such an attack would probably not force Taipei to capitulate (compare, for example, Britain in 1944-45, or Serbia in 1999). These missiles are not accurate enough to be precision weapons against airfields, radar, transport nodes, etc. They would have to be used more as a terror weapon, against cities and town. if only conventional warheads were used, damage would not be any more significant than that from a large natural disaster, such as the one Taiwan survived in 1999 (a major earthquake near Taipei). Since China only has a limited number of DF-15 and DF-11 missiles, a long-lasting missile siege would be difficult.
China's navy could attempt to blockade Taiwan, forcing ships to dock at Chinese ports before proceeding on to the island. If the number of China’s large surface ships (frigates and destroyers) continues to increase, such a blockade would be easier. China currently has more ships than Taiwan, and could attempt to enforce a blockade with a combination of naval vessels and mines. And despite the lack of sophistication of China's submarines, Taiwan has limited ASW assets to counter China's large submarine fleet. As with a missile attack, a blockade would bring international condemnation and, as a result, hurt China's economy, even if it were technically legal under international law (with Taiwan recognized as part of China).
China's military is modernizing, but there are distinct limits to the modernization program. First, the current force structure is so old that the rate of retirement will exceed the rate of acquisition in all major weapons categories, with the possible exception of major surface combatants. This means that the size of China’s armed forces will continue a recent pattern of decline, and to drop quite steeply in some cases, such as combat aircraft. The only exception may be China's surface combat ships. (See China versus Region charts.)
Second, the modernization is proceeding slowly and in a piecemeal manner. All military forces take a significant amount of time to integrate new weapon systems into its forces; for China the process seems to take longer than most.
Third, China is adding only a handful of modern systems to its inventory. New systems are purchased in small batches or singly, which is cannot dramatically change the balance of power. Moreover, while "modern" relative to existing Chinese systems, current acquisitions from Russia are not as capable as the comparable systems fielded by the United States or even Japan, South Korea, or Taiwan (in some areas).
Finally, China's military modernization plan has highlighted the inability of the indigenous arms industry in China to produce the advanced technology weapon systems that the military wants. The recent return to dependence on foreign assistance (specifically, aircraft and naval vessels from Russia, and technical assistance from Israel) runs contrary to the Chinese government’s desire to fully control its own military destiny.
China may eventually change its policies and invest more financial resources in military modernization; but for the foreseeable future, China's potential for military action in Taiwan and other areas will remain limited. China may take a more active military role in its region, but the overall balance of power in East Asia will remain unchanged.