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Thursday, May 31, 2007     

Pentagon: China spending big for weapons to check U.S. defense of Taiwan

China is investing vast sums of money in fielding weapons designed to strike U.S. aircraft carriers and ships at great distances, according to the Pentagon’s latest assessment of Chinese military power.

The objective is the capability to attack U.S. ships responding to any Chinese attack on Taiwan.

China’s military is engaged in a “a sustained effort to develop the capability to interdict, at long ranges, aircraft carrier and expeditionary strike groups that might deploy to the Western Pacific,” the Pentagon’s annual report on China’s military power said.

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“Increasingly, China’s area denial/anti-access forces overlap, providing multiple layers of offensive systems, utilizing the sea, air and space.”

The report, "Military Power of the People's Republic of China, 2007" identified China’s conventional precision strike weapons as including:

  • 900 short-range ballistic missiles opposite Taiwan that are increasing by more than 100 missiles per year.

  • Medium-range ballistic missiles, with ranges of between 620 and 1,820 miles that can be used against ships operating far from shores.

  • Land-Attack Cruise Missiles (LACMs) under development for standoff, precision strikes against hard-targets. First- and second-generation LACMs may be deployed in the near future.

  • Air-to-Surface Missiles (ASMs). China is believed to have a small number of tactical ASMs and precision-guided munitions, including all-weather, satellite-guided and laser-guided bombs, and is pursuing foreign and domestic acquisitions to improve airborne anti-ship capabilities.

  • Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles (ASCMs). PLA Navy has or is acquiring nearly a dozen varieties of ASCMs, from the 1950s-era CSS-N-2/STYX to the modern Russian-made SS-N-22/SUNBURN and SS-N27B/SIZZLER. Development and purchase of these missiles is accelerating.

  • Anti-Radiation Weapons. The PLA has imported Israeli-made HARPY UCAVs and Russian-made anti-radiation missiles and is developing an anti-radiation missile based on the Russian Kh-31P (AS-17) known domestically as the YJ-91.

  • Artillery-Delivered High Precision Munitions. The PLA is deploying the A-100 300-mm multiple rocket launcher with a range greater than 100 kilometers and developing the WS-2 400-mm MRL with a range in excess of 200 kilometers.
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