Sunday, 15 June, 2008

Defence Facilities

Under the 1990 National Defence Facilities Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), “defence facilities” include any buildings, sites, and equipments for military purposes. They include command & control posts, surface and underground command & control and operation facilities; military airfields, seaports and docks; barracks, training sites, and weapon test sites; military storage facilities and depots; military stations for communication, reconnaissance, and navigation; signs for survey, navigation, and flight assistance; military roads, railways; military communication and power cables; military fuel and water pipes; any other military facilities defined by the State Council and Central Military Commission.

Airbases. The PRC has developed an extensive network of airfield infrastructures across the country, with over 200 military airbases, 55 military-civil dual-use airports, and 147 civil airports. While many military airbases built in the Cold War-era have been transformed into civil or dual-use airports, the remaining airbases have been mostly upgraded, gaining soft unhardened hangers and hardened aircraft shelters. The number of civil airports in the PRC has been increasing drastically, increasing to 190 by 2010, and 244 by 2020.

Naval Bases. The PLA Navy has 15~20 major naval bases located in Qingdao, Zhoushan, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Zhanjiang, Yulin, and Xisha, as well as some 300 minor facilities. The Jianggezhuang Submarine Base built in 1988 was claimed to be the largest naval base in East Asia. A new submarine base with underground facilities to house SSN and SSBN was finished in Sanya, Hainan Island in 2007.

Space Facilities. The PRC’s space launch and tracking infrastructure is the most extensive and well-developed in Asia, and it can compete with the United States and Russia in both quantity and quality. The space launch sites and space tracking, telemetry and control network built in the Cold War-era for missile testing have been subjected to extensive modernisation upgrade in the 1990s in order to support the country’s manned spaceflight programme. A new space launch centre in Hainan Island is expected to be completed by 2012.

Nuclear Facilities. Although the PRC has stopped all nuclear weapon tests, most of its nuclear facilities are still operational to support the country’s nuclear power station projects.

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