Aircraft carriers, stealth fighters, anti-satellite weapons, drones, cyber attack technology and a growing arsenal of ballistic missiles are all among a series of Chinese weapons said to present serious concerns for Pentagon leaders and weapons developers, according to DoD’s annual China report.
The Pentagon 2018 report, called “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China,” details a broad spectrum of risks to include global economic expansion, massive military modernization and breakthrough weapons technology able to threaten US superiority.
While of course the report emerges within the context of a complicated, multi-faceted and stressed US-China relationship which includes growing tensions, military rivalry and some measure of cooperation as well. A recent DoD news report, for instance, was careful to mention China as a potential “adversary,” not “enemy.”
Nevertheless, the Pentagon assessment is quite detailed in its discussion of the fast-growing military threat posed by China. A few examples, for instance, include the report’s discussion of China’s short, medium and long-range ballistic missile arsenal. China is believed to possess as many as 1,200 short-range missiles and up to 300 intermediate range missiles, according to the report. With this in mind, the report specifies that some of China’s longer-range, precision-guided ballistic missiles are able to reach US-assets in the Pacific region.
The Pentagon report, along with previously released Congressional assessments of China’s military, catalogue information related to China’s nuclear arsenal and long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles - such as the existing DF-31, DF-26 and DF-31A along with the DF-41. In fact, the Pentagon report specifically cites the DF-26 as presenting a particular threat; the intermediate range ballistic missile, the report says, can carry both conventional and nuclear explosives out to ranges of 4,000 kilometers.
The Chinese are believed to already have a number of road-mobile ICBMs able to carry nuclear weapons, the report says. The DF-41 is reported to have as many as 10 re-entry vehicles, analysts have said.
China is known to have conducted several hypersonic weapons tests. Not surprisingly, US Air Force leaders are currently accelerating prototyping, testing and development of hypersonic weapons.
China's rapid development of new destroyers, amphibs, stealth fighters and long-range weapons is quickly increasing its ability to threaten the United States and massively expand expeditionary military operations around the globe, according to this years’ Pentagon report as well as several previous Congressional reports from the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
Russia has today announced it will hold its largest war games since the Cold War in a massive military exercise that will also involve the Chinese and Mongolian armies.
Some 1,000 aircraft, 300,000 troops and two naval fleets will take part in the drills in central and eastern Russian military districts next month.
The war games, called Vostok-2018 (East-2018), will also involve all of the country's airborne units, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said.
It will be the country's biggest war games since 1981, when some 150,000 Soviet troops took in Zapad-81.
The manoeuvres will take place at a time of heightened tension between the West and Russia, which is concerned about what it says is an unjustified build-up of the NATO military alliance on its western flank.
NATO says it has beefed up its forces in eastern Europe to deter potential Russian military action after Moscow annexed Ukraine's Crimea in 2014 and backed a pro-Russian uprising in eastern Ukraine.
The Vostok-2018 exercises will be carried out from September 11 to 15 with China and Mongolia joining Russian units at the Tsugol training range in the Trans-Baikal region.
'This will be something of a repeat of Zapad-81, but in some senses even bigger,' Sergei Shoigu said of the 1981 war games in Eastern Europe, in comments reported by Russian news agencies.
He said 'more than 1,000 aircraft, almost 300,000 troops and almost all the ranges of the Central and Eastern military districts' would be involved in the exercises.
'Imagine 36,000 pieces of military equipment moving together at the same time - tanks, armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles. And all of this, of course, in conditions as close to combat as possible.'
The war games are likely to displease Japan which has already complained about what it says is a Russian military build-up in the Far East.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is due to attend an economic forum in Vladivostok during the same period.
According to Russian News Agency Tass, the size of the Russian Armed Forces stands at 1,902,758 personnel, including 1,013,628 servicemen.