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28077
“China Prepares Formidable Military Advance”
by Tom Alago   
December 17th, 2015

How serious is China about achieving military supremacy? Might she ever dare to attempt an attack on the United States? Would expensive investments be made towards military advancement without any intent? If actions indeed speak louder than words, then the U.S has quite a few reasons to be concerned. 

China recently conducted a flight test of a new multi-warhead ballistic missile capable of reaching targets throughout the United States. The test of the new DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, took place Dec. 4. It was the second flight test this year of the new missile and the fifth since 2012. 

The FreeBeacon.com further explained that the DF-41 is a road-mobile ICBM with a range of up to 7,456 miles. It is viewed by the Pentagon as China’s most significant new missile that has been in development since the early 2000s. Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Bill Urban declined to comment on the latest test but admitted that the Pentagon does monitor Chinese military modernization carefully.

Mark Stokes, a former Pentagon official said that the DF-41 missile program appears to be in the advanced stage of research and development, and “could enter the Second Artillery’s operational inventory within the next five years.”

Chinese military expert Rick Fisher said the test of two warheads indicates that Beijing may be seeking to mask the full warhead load of the new missile. Fisher said testing the new missile with a small number of warheads allows Chinese missile engineers to expand the warheads’ trajectory. 

The test data can then be used in developing missiles with more warheads. His estimate for a missile deployment capability is two years.

This expansion on China’s part is said to be “a significant expansion of Beijing’s nuclear program” and “a large-scale nuclear forces build-up” from its current warhead stockpile, currently estimated to be around 300 warheads. Outfitting its large force of strategic missiles with multiple warheads is likely to increase the number of warheads sharply.

Little wonder that a congressional commission on China in 2014 stated that “Despite the uncertainty surrounding China’s stockpiles of nuclear missiles and nuclear warheads, it is clear China’s nuclear forces over the next three to five years will expand considerably and become more lethal and less survivable….”

In a related development, a spokeswoman for Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, confirmed this week that China has begun operational patrols with nuclear missile submarines.

So there’s valid cause for the U.S to be concerned. The NationalInterest.org recently reported on military aspects of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s (USCC) annual report. They came up with a number of highlights that corroborate the concerns expressed by U.S military experts. 

Here are the following 10 points excerpted from the report:

Point #1 - Chinese Nuclear Submarines Are Advancing: 

China launched three new Type 093 SHANG-class nuclear attack submarines in May, according to Chinese media reports...The increasing number of Chinese submarines and the growing range of Chinese submarine-launched munitions will greatly complicate the threat environment for U.S. ships operating near China.”

Point #2 - Chinese Diesel Submarines Are About To Get Even More Dangerous:

“… Because AIP-equipped diesel-electric submarines need to surface to recharge their batteries less frequently, this will allow China’s AIP-equipped submarines to operate for longer periods while limiting their chance of detection.”

Point #3 - Here Come Chinese 5th Generation Stealth Fighters: 

“Media reports suggest China has built two new fifth-generation J–20 fighters, bringing its J–20 fleet to six aircraft…China reportedly hopes to build 24 J–20s by 2020…The J–20’s stealth features and electronic warfare capabilities would degrade the ability of U.S. forces within the first island chain to detect and engage it.”

Point #4 - The Chinese Navy (PLAN) Wants to Sail Further Out To Sea:

“In late 2013, China began its first known submarine deployment to the Indian Ocean. Chinese officials have claimed these submarines support China’s anti-piracy activities in the Indian Ocean. The more likely purpose of these deployments, though, is to collect intelligence on U.S., Indian, and other forces in the Indian Ocean…”

Point #5 - China Purchases the S-400 from Russia (And Might Build Its Own):

“China will purchase S–400 air and missile defense systems from Russia, according to an April 2015 statement from the chief executive officer of Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport…China also is developing its own next-generation surface-to-air missile, the HQ–19, which likely will have capabilities similar to the S–400.”

Point #6 - Beijing Is Becoming Quite the Arms Dealer:

“China overtook Germany to become the third-largest arms exporter worldwide in 2015, according to a Stockholm International Peace Research Institute study…The surge and growing complexity in China’s arms exports reflect the maturation of China’s domestic defense industry after decades of significant Chinese government investment in defense research and development, as well as China’s efforts to secure foreign military technology through arms transfers and espionage.”

Point #7 - China Sees U.S. Satellites in Orbit as a Weakness It Could Attack:

“The PLA assesses U.S. satellites are critical to the United States’ ability to sustain combat operations globally. PLA analysis of U.S. military operations states that ‘destroying or capturing satellites and other sensors . . . will deprive an opponent of initiative on the battlefield and [make it difficult] for them to bring their precision-guided weapons into full play.’

Point #8 - China’s Conventional Missile Capabilities Will Keep Getting Better:

“…China could pursue an even greater extension of the Second Artillery’s conventional precision strike capability to 8,000 kilometers (4,971 miles) and eventually a global conventional precision strike capability, which Mr. Stokes estimates could take place by 2020 and 2030, respectively.”

Point #9 - When and How Would China Use Nukes?

“… China views the use of nuclear weapons…in the high-intensity political management of an escalating and perhaps unsustainable conflict.’’ According to this escalation philosophy, China would punctuate non-nuclear operations with tactical or theater-level nuclear strikes to seek de-escalation on terms favorable to China…Because their use does not invite overwhelming nuclear retaliation in the same way as would strategic nuclear strikes on a country’s homeland, tactical and theater nuclear weapons are considered to be a stronger deterrent and a more credible threat.”

Point # 10 - How Would China Use All Those Missiles?

“If deterrence fails, the Second Artillery would likely weaken key enemy targets with network attack and electronic warfare before launching conventional missile strikes. Potential targets for conventional missile strikes, which are outlined in authoritative publications, support this theme…these targets are both critical and vulnerable, and would, if destroyed, severely impede the ability of adversary forces to function and communicate smoothly. 

All in all, a formidable war China war-chest with strategies to match. Not to mention the fierce and persistent determination of China to tilt the military balance with the U.S in its favor. Indications are that the United States has over the past several years woken and smelt the coffee. 

What is not as clear though is whether U.S capabilities are able to decisively exceed those of China. From the consistent flow of news around China’s growing excellence in military prowess, one gets the impression that this is something Americans would be better off never having to find out for sure.

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