A new study could help to cue American military planners to U.S. forces’ vulnerabilities in a war with China, as well as to China’s perceptions of its own weaknesses.
The National Interest
Date: November 24, 2018
By: David Axe
The Chinese air force aims not just to compete with the U.S. Air Force, but to defeat it. All in pursuit of a uniquely Chinese strategy. To do so, Beijing’s air arm buys technology where it can, steals or copies or it where it must and innovates new tech where there’s nothing available to buy or steal.
That’s the conclusion of a new study by Scott Harold , an analyst for the California-based think tank RAND.
Harold’s study could help to cue American military planners to U.S. forces’ vulnerabilities in a war with China, as well as to China’s perceptions of its own weaknesses.
“The [People’s Liberation Army] seeks to compete with the U.S. military not as a goal in and of itself, but rather as a means to achieving the political goals that the Chinese Communist Party sets for the PLA—goals defined by the CCP’s threat perceptions and policy ambitions,” Harold writes in ” Defeat, Not Merely Compete : China’s View of Its Military Aerospace Goals and Requirements in Relation to the United States.”
Harold lists the Chinese air force’s strategic goals as: the defense of Chinese airspace, the prosecution of a conflict over Taiwan and the projection of power in the East and South China Seas inside the first island chain in order to prosecute claims to disputed land features and maritime spaces.
To achieve these goals, Beijing’s air arms relies on new and old technology — some that the Chinese government legally acquired or developed on its own, others of which it copied or stole.
“Chinese military aerospace power is a mix of legacy capabilities derived from the Cold War era; hardware procured from Russia and Ukraine; copies and knock-offs of Russian airframes produced by kit or through reverse-engineering ; a small but growing number of fourthand fifth-generation fighter-bombers that appear to have been developed based in part on stolen designs for U.S. airframes; advanced, but nonstealthy, ballistic and cruise missiles; and a growing, largely indigenously developed portfolio of space and antispace capabilities,” Harold writes. [FULL STORY]