17 August 2010

Key Quotes from 2010 U.S. Department of Defense Report on China’s Military


“The PLA Navy has the largest force of principal combatants, submarines, and amphibious warfare ships in Asia.” (p. 2)

“Construction of a new PLA Navy base on Hainan Island is essentially complete. The base is large enough to accommodate a mix of attack and ballistic missile submarines and advanced surface combatants. The base, which has underground facilities, provides the PLA Navy with direct access to vital international sea lanes, and offers the potential for stealthy deployment of submarines into the South China Sea.” (p. 2)

“While remaining focused on Taiwan as a primary mission, China will, by 2020, lay the foundation for a force able to accomplish broader regional and global objectives. By the latter half of this decade, it is likely that China will be able to project and sustain a modest sized force—perhaps several battalions of ground forces or a naval flotilla of up to a dozen ships—in low-intensity operations far from China. It is unlikely, however, that China will be able to project and sustain large forces in high-intensity combat operations far from China until well into the following decade.” (p. 29)


“China may field up to five new SSBNs.” (p. 3)

“The first of the new JIN-class (Type 094) SSBN appears ready, but the associated JL-2 SLBM appears to have encountered difficulty, failing several of what should have been the final round of flight tests. The date when the JIN-class SSBN/JL-2 SLBM combination will be operational is uncertain.” (p. 34)

“China’s probable plans to base the Type 094 SSBN (JIN-class) at Hainan Island raises the potential that the PLA Navy would consider conducting strategic patrols in the waters of the South China Sea requiring Beijing to provide for a more robust conventional military presence to ensure the protection of its sea-based deterrent.” (p. 39)

“…two new SHANG-class (Type 093) nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN)” have entered service. “China… may add up to five advanced Type 095 SSNs to the inventory in the coming years.” (p. 3)

“China has 13 SONG-class (Type 039) diesel-electric attack submarines (SS) in its inventory. …

The follow-on to the SONG is the YUAN-class SS, as many as four of which are already in

service. China may plan to construct 15 additional hulls for this class” which may “include a possible air independent propulsion [AIP] system. The SONG SS, YUAN SS, and SHANG SSN will be capable of launching the new CH-SS-NX-13 ASCM, once the missile completes development and testing.” (p. 3)

“China has deployed some 60 of its new HOUBEI-class (Type 022) wave-piercing catamaran hull missile patrol boats.” (p. 3)

Deck Aviation

“China has an active aircraft carrier research and development program. The PRC shipbuilding industry could start construction of an indigenous platform by the end of this year. China is interested in building multiple operational aircraft carriers with support ships in the next decade.” (p. 2)

“The PLA Navy has reportedly decided to initiate a program to train 50 pilots to operate fixed-wing aircraft from an aircraft carrier. The initial program, presumably land-based, would be followed in about four years by ship-borne training involving the ex-VARYAG….” (p. 2)

“Analysts in and out of government project that China will not have an operational, domestically produced carrier and associated ships before 2015. … The PLA Navy is considering building multiple carriers by 2020.” (p. 48)


“By December 2009, the PLA had deployed between 1,050 and 1,150 CSS-6 and CSS-7 short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) to units opposite Taiwan.” (p. 2)

“The PLA Navy has or is acquiring nearly a dozen ASCM variants…. The pace of ASCM research, development and production within China and procurement from abroad—primarily Russia—has accelerated over the past decade.” (p. 31)

“China is upgrading its B-6 bomber fleet… with a new variant that, when operational, will be armed with a new long-range cruise missile.” (p. 4)

“China may also be developing a new road-mobile ICBM, possibly capable of carrying a multiple independently targeted re-entry vehicles (MIRV).” (p. 2)


“…PLA doctrine does not appear to contemplate space operations as an operational ‘campaign’ on its own; rather, space operations form an integral component of all campaigns.” (p. 25)

“Currently, the PRC uses the U.S. global positioning system (GPS), Russia’s GLONASS, and its own BeiDou-1 system for navigation. The BeiDou-1 consists of three satellites and serves both civil and military purposes, but its orbital configuration covers only the East Asian region. The BeiDou-1 system will be replaced by a more capable, but still regionally constrained, BeiDou-2 system that is expected to become operational in 2011. The initial BeiDou-2 constellation will become part of a more advanced BeiDou-2/Compass system with global coverage, expected in the 2015-2020 timeframe.” (p. 36)

For key ASBM-related content from the 2010 Department of Defense report on China’s military, click here.

Click here for the latest analysis and sources on Chinese anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) development and testing.

A full-text copy of “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2010” is available here.