China has built its arsenal of weaponry to the point that they now have the ability to hit their enemies with great precision. The Beidou 3 satellites have given the Chinese military the ability to navigate from space. This is the latest technological development from the People's Liberation Army. It's one more step in China's aims to dominate as a world power on the battlefield.
The Growing Chinese Military
China is progressing in increasingly complex military technologies such as quantum computing and artificial intelligence. This poses a very serious threat to the world stage. The head of the US military's Pacific Command issued a warning about the growing capabilities of the Chinese military. This American military commander feels that the increase in technologically superior military weapons could challenge the United States. The Chinese have made advancements in a number of ways, including the expansion of their naval presence by creating their first naval base and port in Djibouti, with the development of fifth-generation aircraft, and by making improvements in their missile systems.
The Chinese Military's Greatest Weapons
China is working on improving much of their military technology. A few of these developments are at the top of the list of concern for other countries. They include their electromagnetic railgun, hypersonic missiles, J-20 stealth fighters, underwater surveillance network, weapons that could involve a space conflict, soldier exoskeletons, and small drone swarms.
This "supergun" is the first experimental addition to a Chinese warship. It is a point of pride in the Chinese navy. This weapon would put China ahead of the United States in this type of technology which was first seen in a leaked photograph. The railgun works by using powerful magnets that can move warheads down the barrel of the gun and project them into the air. This allows ammunition to be fired at a faster rate and at further distances than existing cannons.
When this device is fully operational, it could destroy missiles and aircraft in flight with accuracy and at ranges that previously were only available with missiles. It can also be used to sink ships. The Chinese government is very proud of their advance in the field of electromagnetic research and boasts of this technology in their newspapers. They claim the cost is less than that of traditional guns, that they are more lethal, and also more accurate. The weapon would be part of their 055 destroyers, which would make it invincible once it is deployed onboard these ships.
Hypersonic missiles are in the works with the Chinese military. These missiles will have the capability to fly and maneuver while traveling over 3,000 miles an hour, or four times the speed of sound. This weapon would be able to penetrate most existing missile defense systems and drastically reduce response time for the nation under attack.
China continues to test the DF-17, their ballistic missile with hypersonic glide. A source has reported that it has been tested on two occasions to date. One of the missile's payload reached a range of 1,400 kilometers and impacted within meters of its target. These devices pose challenges for missile defense and early warning systems. It is expected that by 2020 the DF-17 will reach its operating capability. It is anticipated to have the capacity to deliver both conventional and nuclear warheads.
J-20 Stealth Fighters
The Chinese military has launched the J-20 stealth fighter in an attempt to gain superiority over the US. It offers an advantage for the People's Liberation Army in the sky, offering unprecedented air warfare options. It is believed that this design is superior to the new F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters being used in Australia and the US.
The J-20 stealth fighter' s two jet engines have more power than existing stealth fighters. The dual engine design gives it the ability to survive engine failure of a single engine. There are three weapon bays onboard, one large and two smaller. The large bay contains bombs and air-to-surface or anti-ship missiles. The smaller bays contain air-to-air or anti-aircraft missiles. The F-35 is equipped with only two small bays meaning it has the capacity to carry fewer weapons.
It is also believed that the J-20 is equipped with infrared electro-optic 360-degree detection. This would allow the pilot to have full views of the area and allow the aircraft to be used for imagery reconnaissance in addition to its war-fighting capabilities. The stealth profile of the J-20 uses radar cross-section reductions to make it invisible and undetectable on radar, giving it a significant advantage over their enemies.
There is concern about the number of J-20s now in production. It is estimated that there are at least twenty J-20s as of September 2018. Sources indicate that mass production will kick into gear in 2019 when a fourth production line is completed for building the stealth fighter planes.
Underwater Surveillance Network
The Chinese military has been asserting its naval power in the South China Sea. They have implemented and built missile shelters, radar systems, and sensor arrays in the region.
The network uses underwater gliders, satellites, surface vessels, and buoys to gather data about the conditions in the Indian and Western Pacific oceans and the China Sea. This data is sent in real-time to three different data centers to be processed and analyzed. The data is then used to improve their positioning and navigation, giving them the ability to track their targets with greater accuracy.
The direction and the speed of sound waves are affected by the salinity and temperature of the water, this ensures that attacks are accurate, according to a researcher. The submarines also have a powerful forecasting system onboard using algorithms to forecast conditions. This process lets the vessel know if there are any reasons it cannot surface to collect data from ground-based or satellite stations.
Weapons Involving A Space Conflict
According to US intelligence officials, in a few short years, China will possess destructive weapons that could be used in a space conflict. Anti-satellite weapons, such as ballistic missiles, may be used to damage space-based systems. Antisatellite weapons could reach operational capacity in the near future. The Chinese military has created specialized units and training for counter-space intelligence.
There is increasing concern about the continued testing of Chinese satellites. Even satellites such as those used for repair, refueling, and satellite inspection that appear to have no direct relation with warfare, could be used against their enemies in the future.
The Chinese military has the advantage of the exoskeleton technology used by their ground troops. These battery-powered suits allow soldiers to easily carry 100 pounds of weight that could include supplies, ammo, and weapons. This weight and strength-bearing capabilities of these second-generation suits have been improved and include biological and physiological sensors. To power the suit, there are actuators built in to act as "muscles."
A transparent, thin glass is included in the helmet that also contains a heads-up display and ballistic protection. Powered knee-joints allow the wearer to climb 100 flights of stairs while still in combat.
Small Drone Swarms
An official of the Chinese military stated that while testing a simulated mission he saw a group of drones operate as one unit. A launch of 119 drones was successfully launched and performed formations. This behavior indicates a breakthrough in autonomous flight control, behavioral intention prediction, and parallel perception. The Chinese sometimes run a hundred test flights per day.
Military artificial intelligence applications include electronic and cyber warfare. A member of the Chinese PLA was quoted stating that these drones might be used to target US aircraft carriers or other US weapon installations. The government has the goal of modernizing the Chinese military. They have stated that they want to lead the world in artificial intelligence and tap into uses for the military.
The Chinese Military's Greatest Platform
China is also working on improvements in the area of high-tech warships.
The Chinese military is working on beefing up their military presence in all areas. Last summer they launched the Type 055, which NATO refers to as "Renhi." It is expected to be fully operational this year. They designed it as an anti-submarine, anti-ship, anti-missile, and anti-aircraft warfare vessel. It is expected to play a large part in the country's aircraft-carrier future, getting significantly closer to having a world-traversing blue-water navy.
This announcement follows their launch of the aircraft carrier Type 001A. This is an improved version of the Liaoning, which itself was reverse-engineered from a Soviet Admiral Kuznetsov model aircraft carrier. It has become the second aircraft carrier in the fleet. It weighs 65,000 tons and should be able to handle 38 aircraft compared to 30 on the Liaoning. It could be fully operational by the end of 2018.
China is working on its third carrier, the Type002, weighing in at 80,000 tons. It will have the capacity for even more aircraft and is said to include an advanced catapult for quicker launches of heavier jets.
Experts are saying the country will probably need four or five vessels to achieve a minimally operational blue-water navy, compared to the US which has 10 to 11. However their efforts in the modernization of their naval strength is impressive.
China is rapidly being seen as a superpower in both technology and science. They may even be ahead of the US with some of their new innovations. The Chinese have been very boastful of their military abilities and are very proud of their achievements. They have mastered the art of reverse engineering technologies from around the world and developing similar technologies on their own. As tensions increase in the South China Sea and around the globe, the rest of the world will continue monitoring the increasingly sophisticated developments of the Chinese military.