Intelligence findings of new weapon technology currently being tested by China have fuelled concern as to what the People’s Liberation Army–the world’s largest military–might be capable of, once fully modernized.Today, images surfaced of China’s new stealth fighter jet–the J-20–manoeuvring in a test flight. China now joins the United States as the only countries to have developed such technology. Images of the J-20 test flight appeared just as U.S. defence Secretary Robert Gates finished his visit in Beijing in an attempt to smooth military relations. “We knew that they were working on the stealth aircraft” said Gates, “What we’ve seen is that they maybe are somewhat further ahead in the development of that aircraft than our intelligence had earlier predicted”.
Also within the year, China has made significant progress in launching its first aircraft carrier, which is scheduled to become active later in 2011.
Perhaps the most worrisome though of all the new developments in Chinese warfare technology is the creation of the Dong Feng 21D. This land-based ballistic missile is capable of sinking a moving aircraft carrier up to 2,000 miles offshore, making this weapon the first of its kind in the world. When active, the presence of these missiles along China’s coastline, will wreak havoc on the minds of U.S. and Japanese naval commanders, whose ships often patrol pacific waters.
China's military is the largest in the world with 2.3 million active personnel, and an additional 1.2 million in reserve. By comparison, the U.S. Armed Forces have just under 3 million in total active and reserve personnel.
China says it spent $98.8 billion on its military in 2009, although analysts estimate spending may be more than 3X that amount. By comparison, the United States spent $663.2 billion on its military in 2009.
China's Ground Force In Numbers: 1.9 million personnel, 14,000 tanks, 14,500 artillery units, 453 helicopters.
China's Strategic Missile Force In Numbers: 100,000 personnel, 140 nuclear missiles, 1,000 conventional theatre missiles.
NEW WEAPON: The Dong Feng 21D is a land-based missile capable of striking an aircraft carrier as far as 2,000 miles offshore.
China bought the rights to licence and reproduce the Sukhoi-27 fighter jet from the Soviet Union, after its collapse.
By 2020 China is expected to have a fleet of carriers, fitting of a 'great naval power'. It will have its first this year.
Pentagon officials believe that China has secretly built a base, capable of housing up to 20 nuclear submarines, on Hainan Island.
China has now developed and tested its first stealth fighter jet, the J-20. The U.S. is the only other country in the world to have a stealth fighter.
China knows it could not win in a conventional war against the U.S., but little is known of its cyber-warfare programs that may give it an edge.
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