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The modernization of the Chinese army is happening faster than some analysts had anticipated.
Now, according to the experts of the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), it is China, and not Russia, the country to which the Look at the time of comparing the capacity of your military forces.
And this is especially true in terms of the air and naval force, which is where the Chinese government has focused its modernization efforts.
Although in terms of army, the Russian is still the point of comparison for the Pentagon.
Of course, the transformation of the Chinese army has been happening for some years.
But now an important point of equilibrium has been achieved -or is about to be achieved-, which has made it a “pair” of the United States.
Several analysts, not only of the IISS, who are the ones who elaborate the yearbook on military spending in the world since 1959, agree that the advances and technical skills of the Chinese army are remarkable.
Just look at some achievements: from your new ultra-long-range missile to your fifth-generation fighter aircraft.
Last year, to give an example, they presented their new wonder: the battleship Type 55 cruiser.
They are also building a second aircraft carrier and renewing the entire structure of their military command to create headquarters that involve all the key services.
In terms of artillery, air defense and ground attack, the Asian giant has enough weapons to overcome any attack by the US. want to unfold.
Since the end of the 1990s, when it received an influx of Russian advanced technology, the Chinese navy has recapitalized the size of its marine and submarine fleet.
In the air, its new combat aircraft, the J-20, is ready to go into operation, according to the Chinese government.
And it is said to be a fifth generation aircraft, which means it has technology to go unnoticed by radars, as well as supersonic speed and high integrated avionics.
However, IISS experts remain skeptical of this military advance.
“The Chinese air force still needs to develop sustainable tactics to operate this new type of jet and create doctrines to mix these fifth generation aircraft with those of the fourth generation,” says the IISS report this year.
” Now, China’s progress is evident, they can add to this fleet of aircraft a wide range of air-to-air missiles that are on a par with the Western arsenals,” he said.
The United States and its allies have waged air campaigns since the end of the Cold War and have lost very few aircraft.
But his domain, according to IISS, could be at risk.
China, for example, is developing an air-to-air missile with a real long range that can attack a tanker and a command-and-control aircraft, vulnerable devices, but which are usually outside the orbit of a confrontation and are fundamental to any operation
And for analysts this development, which should be ready by 2020, “is going to force the United States and its regional allies to reexamine not only their tactics , techniques and procedures, but also the direction of their own combat development programs in the air”.
On land the Chinese army does not show the progress that is noticed in other areas.
According to IISS, only about half of its equipment is in line with the current demands of modern combat.
But even in this field they have made several advances.
China has set a goal for 2020 to achieve “mechanization” and something they call “information”.
What this term means is not clear, but Beijing has been monitoring the advance of the role of information in combat and is seeking to adapt it to its own circumstances.
Keep to line
Now with all this military power, China’s strategy is obvious: in case of a conflict the idea is to keep the US military. as far as possible from its border, ideally in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
This strategy is known in military jargon as “the denial of access to the area”, sometimes known as A2AD.
In this way, as a military power, China has managed to enter the “League of Stars”.
But that is not their sole objective and not the end of their global impact at the military level.
It also wants to become one of the main arms exporters.
China is often willing to sell advanced technology to other countries that are not close allies of powers like the United States.
An example of this could be the drone market .
This type of technology is raising serious questions about the limits of war and peace.
The United States, which is a pioneer in this field, has refused to sell this type of weaponry to any government, with the exception of some NATO allied countries such as the United Kingdom and France.
China, which has no such objections, has deployed an impressive number of armed unmanned aerial vehicles at military exhibitions around the world.
According to IISS, China has sold its drones to several countries such as Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Burma.
This is a perfect example of consequences that have been sought.
The refusal of Washington to sell this type of technology prompted other countries that only had drones to perform intelligence activities, to seek an armed variant of them.
Of course, now the United States and the Western armies are seeing China as a commercial threat.
Compared to a decade ago, there is now a serious presence of the Asian giant in the market, with good quality in its products.
Also with an offer that is hard to refuse: Chinese weapons offer 75% of the same Western war technology capacity for half the price.
Most likely, European countries will never face China in an armed conflict, but they could certainly face the sophisticated weapons that China has sold to other countries.
And as the IISS report puts it: “The perception that exists now that there is a climate of low risk when fighting outside borders, must now be questioned and re-evaluated.”