Tags: The | Rise | Chinese | Military | Power

The Rise of Chinese Military Power

Wednesday, 01 December 2004 12:00 AM

While many pundits show mock concern that the Russian bear is re-awakening after years of hibernation, the fact is that the former superpower is still in decay.

The indication is that Putin is referring to a maneuvering nuclear-tipped missile warhead designed to avoid the latest U.S. anti-missile defenses. The bold words from Moscow are also filled with falsehood.

The U.S. has had a maneuvering warhead missile system since the early 1970s. The U.S. nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles are capable of avoiding interception by the aging Russian A-135 Galosh anti-missile system as well as the newly revamped R-300 and SA-18 Giant anti-missile systems.

Moscow is reliant on an aging nuclear force and is actually trying to find ways to extend the lifetime of many missiles that have long been rendered obsolete.

On November 29, 2004, Russia test-fired the Galosh anti-missile system. The test was hailed as a success by Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov. The A-135 Galosh test was conducted at the Sary-Shagaz military range in Kazakhstan.

According to the Russian military press corps, "the missile accurately hit the training target."

"All the tactical and technical performance characteristics of the missile were confirmed, which enables us to make a positive decision on the extension of the service life of this type of missile systems."

The A-135 Galosh missiles have been in service since the beginning of the 1950s. The missiles are stationed in a ring around Moscow to protect and defend the Russian capital.

The recent test of the A-135 is simply one more indication of the inability of Moscow to improve or update its armed forces.

For example, last year the Russian air force took possession of one new aircraft. Currently, plans are to stand down over 10 percent of the total Russian armed forces in the next year to save money. The Russian air force is slated to lose squadrons of bombers, fighters and reconnaissance aircraft.

The Russian navy is in an even worse condition. The last major naval exercise conducted by Russia was centered on its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. However, in order to participate, the Russian carrier had to be towed to the exercise area.

In addition, the Russian navy has announced it will retire the last of its Typhoon-class ballistic missile submarines, leaving the service with virtually no strategic missile forces.

On land, the Russian have deployed the new SS-27 Topol M missile, but the total number is very limited, to no more that two dozen. The deployment of the new missile is proceeding at a glacial pace because of high development costs.

Meanwhile, the Russian strategic missile forces have test-launched an aging SS-20 Satan ballistic missile in order to determine if the 30-year-old missile can be extended for another decade. The successful test indicates the Russian missile force will remain reliant on missiles built in the 1970s and 1980s for the next 20 years.

While the Russian military is in severe decay, the Russian defense industry has grown reliant on foreign military sales to stay alive. The reliance on sales to China has greatly improved the Chinese military capability and may very well pose a danger to Russia in the long term.

Russian companies have been working closely with the Chinese air force and the Chengdu aircraft corporation to develop the new J-10 multi-strike fighter. Moscow, however, is not the only nation to help the Chinese air force with its latest jet fighter.

Despite denials, the J-10 design received considerable help from Israel. The J-10 strongly resembles the canceled Israeli Lavi project.

Yet the lion's share of technical help on the advanced J-10 has been provided by Russian firms. The aircraft's power plant is widely reported to be a version of the Saturn-Lyulka Al-31 engine developed for the SU-27 Flanker.

Most defense analysts view the new J-10 as a candidate for large-scale production to replace most of the Chinese air force J-7 (MiG-21), J-6 (MiG-19) and Q-5 jet fighters. The J-10 is also likely to be a major export item for China – in direct competition with Russia.

The Russian fighter firm of MiG is already gearing up to compete with the Chengdu on the international sales market. MiG is reportedly pulling out all the stops to gain a major market share before China can begin full-scale manufacturing of the J-10.

Recent sales by MiG of advance MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters to the African market have reinforced the view that Moscow may have created its own competition in China. The Chinese have reportedly countered by applying deep discounts on exports of the J-7 fighter to African nations.

The Chinese J-7 is an illegal copy of the Russian MiG-21. The export sales of the J-7 are considered to be an area of friction between Moscow and Beijing. The J-7 is popular with many nations that operate the venerable MiG-21 because most of the parts are interchangeable, thus reducing overall maintenance costs.

Russian design bureaus such as missile maker Raduga, tactical weapons designer Zvezda-Strela and air-to-air producer Vympel have been involved in joint Chinese ventures. Raduga is currently finishing off a deal to provide the Chinese navy with an upgraded version of the 3M-80 Moskit (SS-N-22 "Sunburn") supersonic cruise missile.

The Sunburn is fitted to the Sovremenny-class destroyers sold to the Chinese navy. Raduga is committed to providing China with an extended-range version of the Sunburn, the 3M-80MVE. Raduga is also reportedly working with China to develop a new class of supersonic cruise missiles.

And Raduga is working with China on the Kh-59M anti-radar missile for the Chinese air force. Raduga has provided China with an improved power plant for the strike missile, which increases its range to nearly 200 miles.

Zvezda has also been working with the Chinese air force on its long-range ramjet Kh-31 strike missile. The Zvezda program known as Kitai-Rossikaya (China-Russia) has provided the Chinese air force with an optimized version of the Kh-31.

Meanwhile, China is on the verge of deploying its DH-10 long-range cruise missile. The subsonic missile appears to be in the final stages of development. It is to be deployed on a three-launcher road mobile platform. The DH-10 has a 930-mile range.

Its guidance system is reportedly based on U.S. technology obtained by the Chinese during the Clinton administration, using GPS navigation with electro-optical digital scene mapping for terminal strike.

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet empire have been good news for Beijing. The Chinese military has integrated former Soviet weapons technology with advanced Western manufacturing.

The next two decades will see China move from weapons buyer to weapons exporter – in direct competition with the former Soviet military industry. The rise of Beijing's military power and its expanding global ambitions pose a risk to the West and to Moscow.



Charles Smith will be on:

The Jerry Hughes Show on Friday, 12/3/04, at 3 p.m. Eastern time. Show information at http://www.cilamerica.com.

The Charlie Smith Show on the American Freedom Network on Monday, 12/6/04, at 11 a.m. Eastern time. Show information at http://www.americanewsnet.com.


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While many pundits show mock concern that the Russian bear is re-awakening after years of hibernation, the fact is that the former superpower is still in decay. The indication is that Putin is referring to a maneuvering nuclear-tipped missile warhead designed to...
Wednesday, 01 December 2004 12:00 AM
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