The Chinese military has been busy building new systems using platforms produced by Russia and improved by incorporating refinements stolen from the US. The new YUAN-class submarine is diesel-powered, but can stay submerged for long periods using a self-contained air supply obviating the need to snorkle.
They have installed a new weapon system called the Squall rocket torpedo and have installed a ring-laser guidance system stolen from the US. This torpedo uses a cavitation to produce an air-bubble around it allowing speeds under water approaching 600 kts. It can be launched 500 miles off shore, cruise through the water at 300 kts., dump the rocket, and then go cruise-missle mode to its target detonating a 50 kt nuclear warhead within 10 feet of its target.
Read the summary of two white papers on Chinese military power below:
Concern has grown in Congress and elsewhere about China’s military
modernization. The topic is an increasing factor in discussions over future required
U.S. Navy capabilities. The issue for Congress addressed in this report is: How
should China’s military modernization be factored into decisions about U.S. Navy
Several elements of China’s military modernization have potential implications
for future required U.S. Navy capabilities. These include theater-range ballistic
missiles (TBMs), land-attack cruise missiles (LACMs), anti-ship cruise missiles
(ASCMs), surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), land-based aircraft, submarines, surface
combatants, amphibious ships, naval mines, nuclear weapons, and possibly highpower
microwave (HPM) devices. China’s naval limitations or weaknesses include
capabilities for operating in waters more distant from China, joint operations, C4ISR
(command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and
reconnaissance), long-range surveillance and targeting systems, anti-air warfare
(AAW), antisubmarine warfare (ASW), mine countermeasures (MCM), and logistics.
Observers believe a near-term focus of China’s military modernization is to field
a force that can succeed in a short-duration conflict with Taiwan and act as an antiaccess
force to deter U.S. intervention or delay the arrival of U.S. forces, particularly
naval and air forces, in such a conflict. Some analysts speculate that China may
attain (or believe that it has attained) a capable maritime anti-access force, or
elements of it, by about 2010. Other observers believe this will happen later.
Potential broader or longer-term goals of China’s naval modernization include
asserting China’s regional military leadership and protecting China’s maritime
territorial, economic, and energy interests.
China’s naval modernization has potential implications for required U.S. Navy
capabilities in terms of preparing for a conflict in the Taiwan Strait area, maintaining
U.S. Navy presence and military influence in the Western Pacific, and countering
Chinese ballistic missile submarines. Preparing for a conflict in the Taiwan Strait
area could place a premium on the following: on-station or early-arriving Navy
forces, capabilities for defeating China’s maritime anti-access forces, and capabilities
for operating in an environment that could be characterized by information warfare
and possibly electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and the use of nuclear weapons.
Certain options are available for improving U.S. Navy capabilities by 2010;
additional options, particularly in shipbuilding, can improve U.S. Navy capabilities
in subsequent years. China’s naval modernization raises potential issues for
Congress concerning the role of China in Department of Defense (DOD) and Navy
planning; the size of the Navy; the Pacific Fleet’s share of the Navy; forward
homeporting of Navy ships in the Western Pacific; the number of aircraft carriers,
submarines, and ASW-capable platforms; Navy missile defense, air-warfare, AAW,
ASW, and mine warfare programs; Navy computer network security; and EMP
hardening of Navy systems. This report will be updated as events warrant.
Several significant developments in China’s national strategies and military capabilities in the last two years relate to the questions posed by the Congress in Section 1202 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000 (P.L. 106-65). These developments include:
Grand Strategy, Security Strategy, and Military Strategy
• In December 2004, Beijing released China’s National Defense in 2004 (hereinafter, Defense White Paper), the fourth such paper since 1998. The paper explains China’s public views on security and provides information on military-related policies, organization, and regulations. Although a modest improvement over previous years, this newest Defense White Paper provides only limited transparency in military affairs.
• China continued its strategic focus on building “comprehensive national power,” with an emphasis on economic development. This year, China will complete its 10th Five Year Plan and finalize preparations for the 11th Five Year Plan (2006-2010).
• State President and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Hu Jintao replaced Jiang Zemin as Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) in September 2004. This transition is unlikely to produce significant change in China’s strategy for military modernization, or in its approach to the United States, or Taiwan.
• The CMC expanded from eight to eleven members and added the commanders of the PLA Air Force, Navy, and the Second Artillery (or Strategic Rocket Forces). Air Force and Navy officers were also appointed Deputy Chiefs of the General Staff, reflecting China’s emphasis on joint capabilities and inter-service coordination.
• In 2004, China began to express increased concern over a perceived technology gap between modern Western forces and its own. The 2004 Defense White Paper identifies the “technological gap resulting from the Revolution in Military Affairs” as a development that will have a “major impact on China’s security.” China’s increased emphasis on asymmetric, non-linear, and “leap ahead” technologies through the 1990s – and for the foreseeable future – will, in our judgment, help it to close or mitigate this gap.
• 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. 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.