Arms Buildup: A senior weapons developer tells Congress that Beijing's massive defense buildup, emphasizing precision-guided and other advanced weapons, has placed the U.S. and its shrinking military at serious risk.
The Chinese were paying attention to U.S. military dominance in the early 1990s after we won the arms race and the Cold War, he said. And they watched and analyzed our ability to project overwhelming power in Desert Storm after Iraq invaded Kuwait. "No one observed more carefully the dominance we demonstrated in 1991 than the Chinese," Kendall observed.
China quickly went to work on its own power projection capabilities and what is called asymmetrical warfare, the ability to disrupt an enemy's war plans without necessarily matching them tank for tank or ship for ship. Kendall says he became "alarmed as soon as I started seeing technical intelligence reports on China's modernization programs.
"What I'm seeing," he went on, "is foreign modernization, again particularly China's, in a suite of capabilities that are intended, clearly to me at least, to defeat the American way of doing power projection, (the) American way of warfare when we fight in an expeditionary manner far from the United States."
Among China's advanced weapons systems are:
Anti-satellite weapons: China has two ground-based anti-satellite weapon systems, advanced ground-based anti-satellite laser systems "and is developing dual-use co-orbital satellites that can monitor or attack U.S. satellites," says Rick Fisher, a China military affairs expert at the International Assessment and Strategy Center.
Anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCM): The first cruise missile is the YJ-12, which travels at three times the speed of sound and is designed to be launched from Chinese aircraft at ranges up to 300 kilometers. The second is a subsonic ASCM called the YJ-100 with a range of 800 kilometers.
"Such capabilities imply that, at least for the near future, U.S. forces may be 'outgunned' by China's emerging ASCM inventory," says Lyle J. Goldstein, an associate professor of Chinese maritime studies at the U.S. Naval War College.
Hypersonic glide vehicles: China has been testing a hypersonic glide vehicle known as the WU-14. It was designed to evade our missile and other defense systems, such as the Aegis sea-based missile defense guarding our Pacific fleet and carrier battle groups.
"The beauty of the HGV (hypersonic-glide vehicle) is that it can perform hypersonic precision strikes while maintaining a relatively low altitude and flat trajectory, making it far less vulnerable to missile defenses," says Fisher.
Carrier-killer ballistic missiles: The DF-21D, a road-mobile anti-ship ballistic missile, is designed to target and track aircraft carrier groups with the help of satellites, unmanned aircraft and over-the-horizon radar. Launched into space, the DF-21D re-enters the atmosphere and maneuvers at 10 times the speed of sound toward its target.
Stealth fighters: China is currently developing two stealth fighters. The first is the J-20, described in a report from the Jamestown Foundation as "a high-performance stealth aircraft, arguably capable of competing . . . with the U.S. F-22A Raptor and superior in most, if not all, cardinal performance parameters against the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter."
The second is the JF-31, which Chinese officials boast can "take down" the F-35 and may have been developed with stolen F-35 plans.
China is once again embarked on a "Long March," this time a military one, and with a determination that this century will not be an American one.
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