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[infowar.de] Pentagon: Chinese Military Power Report 2003
Der Bericht ist gerade veröffentlicht worden. Anbei die im weiteren
Sinne Infowar/C4ISR-relevanten Abschnitte. Eine rein auf IW fokussierte
Zusammenstellung findet sich unter
- Toshi Yoshihara: Chinese Information Warfare: A Phantom Menace or
Emerging Threat? (November 2001),
- Timothy L. Thomas: Like Adding Wings to the Tiger: Chinese Information
War Theory and Practice, Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort
- Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui: Unrestricted Warfare (Beijing: PLA
Literature and Arts Publishing House, February 1999),
28 July 2003
Report to Congress
Pursuant to the FY2000 National Defense Authorization Act
ANNUAL REPORT ON
THE MILITARY POWER OF THE PEOPLE?S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
SECTION I: INTRODUCTION
B. Key Developments
Over the last few years, DoD has identified improvements in China?s
military capabilities in a significant number of areas. Recent
developments with regards to China?s military power include:
Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I).
o C4I modernization and automation has been a Chinese priority for
nearly 25 years. China has constructed a command network capable of
rapidly passing orders and information up and down the chain of command
and moving intelligence to decision makers at the national and war zone
o China is steadily improving its C4I capabilities by leveraging
commercial information technologies to advance ambitious state plans to
create a high-tech electronic environment capable of supporting a modern
military in peacetime and wartime.
o However, despite remarkable progress in the late 1990s, China still
lags behind western standards for integrating and controlling complex
joint military operations and has not adequately assimilated new C4I
architectures into the plans and operations required to train and fight
in a modern battlespace.
Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR). China?s
development and deployment of state-of-the-art intelligence,
surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities is uneven. China may
have as many as three over-the-horizon (OTH) sky-wave and two
surface-wave OTH radars.
Information Operations/Information Warfare (IO/IW).
o China?s application of IO/IW stresses control, asymmetry, computer
warfare, network warfare, temporal-spatial analysis, knowledge warfare,
information protection, and electronic security. It also includes an
unusual emphasis on a host of new information warfare forces instead of
the information superiority and ?system of systems? approaches popular
in the United States.
o Specialized IO/IW reserve units are active in several cities
developing ?pockets of excellence? that could gradually develop the
expertise and expand to form a corps of ?network warriors? able to
defend China?s telecommunications, command, and information networks,
while uncovering vulnerabilities in foreign networks.
o China has made electronic warfare (EW) a key component of the CMC?s
Three Attacks and Three Defenses initiative to meet requirements of a
?local warfare under high-tech conditions.? Beijing is focused on
technology and design development mainly through cooperation with
Western companies and by reverse engineering. China?s latest systems are
significantly improved over their predecessors.
o China is procuring state-of-the-art technology to improve its
intercept, direction finding, and jamming capabilities. It also may be
developing jammers, which could be used against Global Positioning
System (GPS) receivers.
o The PLA is experimenting with new EW units to field test the latest EW
systems and new operational concepts.
Laser Weapons. China is pursuing a robust research and development
program for laser weapons. In 1995, China exhibited a man-portable laser
weapon called the ZM-87 that was advertised for blinding human vision
and electro-optical sensors. In 1999, the Chinese displayed a probable
laser-based, anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) countermeasure on its Type
90-II tanks. In addition, Beijing produces a laser false-target
generator intended as a decoy against laser semi-active homing
Radiofrequency Weapons. Chinese scientists have written about -- and
China probably has in place -- a program to develop explosively driven
radiofrequency (RF) weapons technology that potentially could be used in
missile warheads or aircraft bombs.
o Beijing may have acquired high-energy laser equipment that could be
used in the development of ground-based anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons.
Radiofrequency Weapons. Chinese scientists have written about -- and
China probably has in place -- a program to develop explosively driven
radiofrequency (RF) weapons technology that potentially could be used in
missile warheads or aircraft bombs.
PRC MILITARY MODERNIZATION
A. PRC Operational Doctrine
Evolution of PRC Operational Doctrine
The evolution of PLA operational doctrine has mirrored changes that have
taken place in PRC security and military strategy since the mid-1980s.
Effect of the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA).
China?s more forward-looking strategists note the 1991 Gulf War?s role
in bringing the emerging RMA into sharp focus for the PLA. In
particular, PLA observers witnessed how quickly the force, equipped with
high-tech weapons systems, defeated the Iraqi force that resembled the
PLA in many ways. The force and capability displayed by the coalition
during that conflict prompted PLA theorists to alter their perceptions
of the character of future wars, highlighting the role of air and air
defense operations, electronic and information warfare, and long-range
At the same time, the PLA observers judged that the technological
advances surrounding the RMA also increased the demands on military
forces in other areas, to include greater emphasis on C4ISR, combined
arms and joint service operations, the need for professional,
technically qualified personnel to operate and maintain advanced
equipment, and the need, especially, for a professional corps of
non-commissioned officers. The PLA has been trying to improve all these
U.S. observations of the RMA also have migrated into PLA thinking on the
impact of the RMA on future warfare. Over time, the internalization of
U.S. and other foreign concepts of RMA will be manifested in actual
changes in doctrine, strategy, tactics, and equipment.
China?s military planners are working to incorporate the concepts of
modern warfare attributed to the RMA and have placed a priority on
developing the technologies and tactics necessary to conduct rapid
tempo, high-technology warfare in Asia.
On balance, PLA authors assess that the current RMA holds the potential
for producing radical new forms of warfare, enhanced information
warfare, networks of systems, and ?digitized? combat forces. At the same
time, however, based on observations and lessons learned from the Gulf
War and Operation ALLIED FORCE, Beijing perceives certain weaknesses in
what it considers U.S. over-reliance on technological advances offered
by the RMA. Consequently, revised PLA doctrine, in addition to
incorporating RMA advances, emphasizes measures to target and exploit
Evolution Since the 1991 Gulf War. Operation ALLIED FORCE in 1999
appears to have had at least as much impact on PLA thinking as the Gulf
War, although more as a validation of earlier assessments of the trends
of modern warfare than as a catalyst for change. PLA commentary on
NATO?s Kosovo air operation concluded that a superior enemy?s
situational awareness and precision-strike systems could be stymied
through effective, and often low-tech, counter-reconnaissance measures
such as camouflage and concealment, simple decoys, dispersion, and
frequent movement of forces. NATO air operations reinforced the PLA?s
focus on the use of underground facilities, landline communications, and
well-concealed supply depots.
The Serbian military?s survival in a modern battlefield against a
superior force reportedly impressed PLA observers. These observers,
however, also noted that the Serbs suffered from inferior equipment,
inadequate defense of civilian installations, and poor logistics.
The PLA implemented lessons from Operation ALLIED FORCE in the
restructured Three Attacks and Three Defenses air defense training
regime. Three Attack and Three Defenses concentrates on attacking
stealth aircraft, cruise missiles, and helicopters, while defending
against precision strikes, electronic warfare, and enemy reconnaissance.
Many PLA training events also now incorporate this new training regime.
Although it is still too early to tell what lessons the PLA has learned
from the U.S. operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Chinese media have
highlighted the use of U.S. Special Operations Forces and mobile warfare
in the Afghan conflict.
Operational Considerations Against Technologically Superior Adversaries
The relative technological inferiority of the PLA has led to the
exploration of asymmetric methods enabling ?the inferior to defeat the
PLA writings suggest that China?s armed forces remain relatively
confident of their ability to defeat a regional military force of
comparable technological development with traditional battles of
annihilation, or operations that rely on mass and attrition to attack
the enemy forces, formations, and troops directly. The PLA also is
convinced that this traditional approach to campaigns will not suffice
against an enemy with advanced technologies. Consequently, there is an
emphasis on conducting operations that will paralyze the high-tech
enemy?s ability to conduct its campaign, including operations to disrupt
and delay the enemy campaign at its inception and operations that are
highly focused on identifying the types and locations of enemy high-tech
weapons that pose the greatest threat. After identifying those weapons,
the PLA must then attempt to neutralize them, either through hard-kill
methods, e.g., firepower and special operations, or soft-kill methods,
also termed technological interdictions. Degrading a high-tech
adversary?s ability to process or gather information is viewed as an
absolutely essential task if the weak is to defeat the strong,
especially if that high-tech adversary is perceived to be overly
dependent upon information systems to enable its own operations.
Captain Shen Zhongchang from the Chinese Navy Research Institute, for
example, envisions a weaker military defeating a superior one by
attacking its spaced-based communications and surveillance systems. ?The
mastery of outer space will be a requisite for military victory, with
outer space becoming the new commanding heights for combat.? He also
noted that ?lightning attacks and powerful first strikes will be more
widely used in the future.? In future wars, Shen highlights radar, radio
stations, communications facilities, and command ships as priority
targets vulnerable to smart weapons, electronic attack, and
electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons.3
Ultimately, the PLA seeks to level the technological playing field at
the outset of a campaign in order to enhance its chances of operational
success. Consequently, PLA operational theory calls for operations aimed
- Destroying the enemy command system;
- Crippling the enemy information systems;
- Destroying the enemy?s most advanced weapons systems;
- Crippling the enemy support (logistics) systems; and
- Disrupting the critical links in the enemy?s campaign systems (i.e.,
denying the enemy the synergies that accrue from its technological
According to the Chinese military publication Junshi Wenzhai, China
already has an "Assassin?s Mace" or ?Trump Card? doctrine to counter US
air superiority in the Western Pacific. One article specifically
identifies five major "assassin?s maces," including fighter bombers,
submarines, anti-ship missiles, torpedoes, and mines to destroy aircraft
carriers. China is acquiring these weapons from Russia or developing
them itself. The last paragraph of the article claims that China can
coordinate all these five weapons to attack an aircraft carrier
simultaneously from several directions and leave it "in flames."
D. Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR)
China is enhancing its battlespace awareness for a Taiwan Strait
conflict. The acquisition of modern ISR systems remains a critical
aspect of Beijing's military modernization. China is developing its ISR
capabilities based upon indigenous developments, supplemented by foreign
technology acquisition and procurement of complete foreign systems. Its
procurement of new space systems, AEW aircraft, long-range UAVs, and
over-the-horizon (OTH) radars will enhance its ability to detect,
monitor, and target military activity in the Western Pacific Ocean.
Space-based ISR Development
Exploitation of space and acquisition of related technologies remain
high priorities in Beijing. China is placing major emphasis on improving
space-based reconnaissance and surveillance, including electro-optical,
synthetic aperture radar, and other satellite reconnaissance systems.
These systems, when fully deployed, will provide a robust and versatile
space reconnaissance capability with regional coverage.
China launched its first oceanological satellite on 15 May 2002.
According to the Chinese press, this satellite will collect precise data
about the ocean?s color and temperature. Beijing claims it will launch a
constellation of oceanic satellites to form its own stereoscopic
observation system by 2010 to monitor the ocean's environment.
China has begun to embrace new satellite architecture emphasizing common
satellite buses. This approach to satellite construction is based on the
use of a standard, versatile satellite bus module, with minor
modifications to accommodate various payloads. In addition to indigenous
development, China will continue to use commercial satellite imagery and
may seek to join an international consortium-owned constellation. China
is cooperating with a number of countries, including Russia, Ukraine,
Brazil, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and South Korea in order
to advance its objectives in space.
Airborne ISR Development
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). China?s armed forces have operated the
Chang Hong (CH-1) long-range, air-launched autonomous reconnaissance
drone since the 1980s. China developed the CH-1 by reverse-engineering
U.S. Firebee reconnaissance drones recovered during the Vietnam War. An
upgraded version of the system was displayed at the 2000 Zhuhai air show
and is being offered for export. A PRC aviation periodical reported the
CH-1 can carry either a daylight still, TV, or infrared (IR) camera. It
likely is not equipped with a data-link, which would allow remote
control operation, nor is it capable of providing real-time payload
feedback to the remote operator.
The PLA also operates other UAVs, primarily for battlefield
reconnaissance or electronic warfare. Currently in use are more advanced
UAVs such as the ASN-206 and the ASN-207. The ASN-206 can carry a 110 lb
payload, has a range of 148 km, and an eight hour endurance. The larger
ASN-207 has twice the payload and endurance as the 206, and has been
advertised as being capable of operating in tandem with another ASN-207
that would act as a data-link relay, extending its range to 602 km. The
ASN-206 can carry visible and IR cameras as well as an electronic
warfare payload. The Chinese claim the ASN-207 can be fitted with
visible and IR cameras, a forward-looking infrared sensor, a
side-looking airborne radar system, communications intelligence,
electronic intelligence (ELINT), jamming, or decoy payloads. In August
2003, China plans to enhance its surveillance of the Taiwan Strait with
the introduction of a tethered aerostat fitted with the Sea Dragon radar
along the southeast coastline.
Manned Aircraft. In addition to the Y-8 AEW and efforts to procure and
produce an AWACS capability, China has several other aircraft that can
perform ISR missions, such as the Tu-154 multi-role special mission
aircraft equipped for ELINT collection missions and possibly electronic
warfare. The PLAAF reportedly also has several aircraft -- both fighters
and bombers -- capable of performing an imagery reconnaissance function.
Ground-based ISR Development
Over-the-Horizon Radar (OTHR). China is assessed to have Over the
Horizon Sky-Wave Radars that could be used to target aircraft carriers.
These systems also could be used in an early warning capacity. China
also may have deployed several surface-wave OTHRs.
Aerostats. China is planning to purchase surveillance aerostats from
Russia with projected delivery in late 2003. The systems will be used to
monitor air and surface activity across the Taiwan Strait.
Sea-Based ISR Development
China may have developed passive acoustic sensors for use in an
underwater acoustic range and possibly for coastal surveillance. This
range could be used to track torpedoes during training exercises.
Because of China's continuing interest in improving its antisubmarine
warfare capabilities, development and deployment of additional
underwater sensors is probable in the next decade and will expand
through 2020. Some of these future systems may be installed out to the
edge of the continental shelf. Passive sensors would provide only a few
miles of coverage against quiet submarines, but could detect merchant
shipping and noisy combatants at greater distances.
E. Battle Management/Command, Control and Communications
Theater-level Weapons Management
PLA joint battle and weapons management processes in the war zone are
still accomplished manually. The commander determines which weapons will
best satisfy combat objectives and communicates these decisions to
subordinate weapons controllers. Commanders and controllers participate
in an iterative process involving feedback loops and courses of action.
However, the PLA recognizes that fielding automated battle management
systems is critical at all echelons of command.
China?s ongoing development of a common, joint C4ISR system recognizes
the importance of accurate sensors. China also aims to improve the
characteristics of its sensors in terms of all-weather capability,
miniaturization, artificial intelligence, survivability, and integration
with other sensors.
China is expected to acquire a significant AWACS capability within the
next ten years. The technical ability could exist for these aircraft to
display a coordinated air picture, with the capability to command and
control airborne assets. With the enhancement of an air refueling
capability, this air capability could extend into the South China Sea
and beyond. In the interim, China reportedly has leased several
A-50/MAINSTAY aircraft from Russia. China also may be negotiating with
the Belarusian firm Agat to produce C4I software and equipment capable
of performing joint battle management.
China has an extensive network of hardened, underground shelters and
command and control (C2) facilities for both its military and civilian
leadership. Fear of a possible war with the former Soviet Union in the
1960s and 1970s prompted Beijing to expend considerable resources
constructing national-level command posts, civil defense facilities, and
associated communications. These facilities are intended to ensure
survival of China's leadership and provide a refuge from which it can
maintain control over the country's military forces.
China?s national leadership and C2 facilities are connected to military
and civilian communications networks. The military communications
network is separate from the civilian telecommunications network. It
supports all levels of the military and civilian leadership. The
military communications network provides the backbone support to China's
national military command and data network. PLA national level C2 is
carried over multiple transmission systems to include coaxial and fiber
optic cable, satellite communications, microwave radio relay, and
long-range high frequency (HF) radio. China?s military and civil
communications networks are critical to the PLA?s peacetime and wartime
operations. China's communications networks, both civil and military,
would be capable of supporting a wide range of military operations.
The Chinese media reported in October 2002 that Beijing had signed a
contract with a French company to build the Apstar-6 communications
satellite, which is scheduled to be launched by a Chinese booster in
late 2004. Apstar-6 would be China's first foreign-made satellite with
all its parts made in Europe. Israeli media have reported that Israel
will supply China with two military communications satellites to be
delivered in 2005-2006.
F. Information Operations/Information Warfare (IO/IW)
Chinese concepts of information operations/information warfare (IO/IW)
include elements such as combat secrecy, military deception,
psychological warfare, electronic warfare, physical destruction of C2
infrastructure, and computer network warfare. China views IO/IW as a
strategic preemptive weapon for use outside of traditional operational
boundaries. IO/IW is to be used substantially as an unconventional
weapon at the beginning of a conflict. China is particularly sensitive
to the potential asymmetric applications IO/IW can have in any future
conflict with a technologically superior adversary.
The Academy of Military Science, the National Defense University, and
the Wuhan Communications Command Academy have published several books
addressing this subject. These writings suggest a growing sophistication
in the PLA's understanding of all aspects of IO. In addition to
developing wartime applications for its robust information control and
perception management capability, China is pursuing IO/IW development as
part of its overall military modernization.
The PLA has increased the amount and complexity of IO/IW components in
military exercises. Efforts initially focused on increasing the PLA's
proficiency in defensive measures, most notably against the threat of
computer viruses. Recent exercises have incorporated the concept of IW
between the opposing command posts at the start of a conflict. Special
information warfare units could attack and disrupt enemy C4I, while
vigorously defending PRC systems. While the enemy is blinded or
disrupted, PRC military forces would attack. Defensive concerns
apparently are driving anti-viral and network security research and
development within the PLA and military-supported academia. The research
is facilitated by the dual-use nature of information technology (IT) and
the growth in China's technology base. Increases in network defense
likely will enhance China's understanding of virus propagation and
behavior, creating a solid knowledge base not only for computer network
defense (CND), but potentially also for computer network attack (CNA).
In an effort to improve its skill base in the IT field, the PLA has been
setting up recruiting programs for technical specialists. Specialized
IO/IW reserve units are active in several cities developing "pockets of
excellence" that gradually could develop the expertise and expand to
form a corps of "network warriors" able to defend China's
telecommunications, command, and information networks while uncovering
vulnerabilities in foreign networks.
China has the capability to penetrate poorly protected U.S. computer
systems and potentially could use computer network attacks to strike
specific U.S. civilian and military infrastructures. This anti-access
strategy is centered on targeting operational centers of gravity,
including C4I centers, airbases, and aircraft carrier battle groups
located around the periphery of China.
Role of Nationalistic Hacking
Nationalistic hacking is likely to occur during periods of tension or
crises. Chinese hacking activities likely would involve extensive web
page defacements with themes sympathetic to China. Although the extent
of Chinese government involvement would be difficult to ascertain,
official statements concerning the leveraging of China's growing
presence on the Internet, and the application of the principles of
"People's War" in "net warfare," suggest the government will have a
stronger role in future nationalistic hacking.
G. Electronic Warfare
China's electronic warfare (EW) efforts are focused on technology and
design development, accomplished mainly through cooperation with Western
companies, through reverse-engineering efforts, and through the
procurement of foreign systems. The inventory of Chinese EW equipment
includes a combination of 1950s-1980s technologies, with only a few
select military units receiving the most modern components. China?s
newer designs, offered for sale at air and trade shows, show significant
improvements over older systems.
China is procuring state-of-the-art technology to improve its intercept,
direction finding, and jamming capabilities. In addition to providing
extended imagery reconnaissance and surveillance and electronic
intelligence collection, Beijing's UAV programs probably will yield
platforms for improved radio and radar jammers. Additionally, existing
earth stations can be modified to interfere with satellite
communications. The PLA also is developing an electronic countermeasures
(ECM) doctrine and has performed structured training in an ECM
H. Counterspace Development
Publicly, China opposes the militarization of space and seeks to prevent
or slow the development of U.S. anti-satellite (ASAT) systems and
space-based missile defenses. Privately, however, China?s leaders
probably view ASAT systems -- and offensive counterspace systems, in
general -- as well as space-based missile defenses as inevitabilities.
In addition to passive counterspace measures -- such as denial and
deception -- China is said to be acquiring a variety of foreign
technologies which could be used to develop an active Chinese ASAT
China probably has a thorough knowledge of U.S. and foreign space
operations, based, in part, on access to open-source information on U.S.
space systems and space operations. Beijing already may have acquired
technical assistance that could be applied to the development of laser
radars used to track and image satellites and may be seeking an advanced
radar system with the capability to track satellites in low earth orbit.
It also may be developing jammers that could be used against Global
Positioning System (GPS) receivers.
In addition, China already may possess the capability to damage, under
specific conditions, optical sensors on satellites that are very
vulnerable to damage by lasers. Beijing also may have acquired
high-energy laser equipment and technical assistance, which probably
could be used in the development of ground-based ASAT weapons. Given
China's current level of interest in laser technology, Beijing probably
could develop a weapon that could destroy satellites in the future.
Although specific Chinese programs for a laser ASAT system have not been
identified, press articles indicate an interest in developing this
China is believed to be conducting research and development on a
direct-ascent ASAT system that could be fielded in the 2005-2010
timeframe. Scholarly articles published by Chinese scientists in
technical journals have reported indigenous research on "space
interceptors," which they say can be used to destroy targets in space.
June 2002 Chinese magazine article suggested that China should
?concentrate on intensifying research of the key technologies in
anti-satellite weapons that attack ground and space bases (especially
ground bases), and as quickly as possible develop one or two
anti-satellite weapons that are useful as a deterrent against enemy
space systems, in order to gain the initiative in future space wars.? A
Hong Kong newspaper article in January 2001 reported that China had
developed and tested an ASAT system described as a ?parasitic
microsatellite.? Although this claim cannot be confirmed, a number of
countries, including China, are developing and proliferating
microsatellite (10- to 100-kg mass) and nanosatellite (1- to 10-kg mass)
J. ?New Concept? Weapon Systems
China is pursuing research and development programs to introduce
so-called "new concept" weapon systems into the PLA inventory. Key
weapon systems in this category include kinetic energy, laser, and
China is pursuing a robust research and development program for laser
weapons. The Chinese have openly stated that their scientists have ?laid
a firm technical foundation? in laser technology and are capable of
developing laser weapons. China reportedly is focusing its laser weapon
development on anti-personnel, counter-precision guided munitions air
defense, and ASAT roles.
China?s research into laser weapon technologies already has resulted in
the development and fielding of several systems. In 1995, China North
Industries Corporation, a military trading company, introduced the ZM-87
laser weapon at defense exhibitions in Manila and Abu Dhabi. A maritime
version of the ZM-87 laser may be used for purposes of blinding foreign
Since that time, Chinese writings indicate a continuing effort to
develop additional laser systems. A second system was unveiled at the
50th anniversary military parade in 1999, when the Chinese displayed a
probable laser-based ATGM countermeasure on its Type 90-II tanks.
Additional Chinese ground combat systems include laser pointers, laser
range finders, and laser target designators. These devices are routinely
marketed at defense exhibitions. In the future, China can be expected to
continue to develop and field military weapon and non-weapon laser
systems. Using a combination of indigenous capabilities and foreign
assistance, China could emerge as a leading producer and exporter of
military lasers by 2020.
China reportedly has placed a priority on the development of
radiofrequency (RF) weapons. PRC officials have indicated publicly that
the PLA will need RF weapons that would defeat enemy electronics in the
21st century. Although the PLA most likely does not have an RF weapon at
this time, it is developing the high-power RF technologies that could
form the basis for some types of RF weapons. In addition to indigenous
research, China is working closely with foreign scientists and is
seeking foreign technology associated with high-power RF generation.
Chinese scientists have published on efforts to develop explosively
driven RF weapons technology that potentially could be used in missile
warheads or aircraft bombs, and are studying the effects of RF pulses on
electronics and the propagation of RF energy through the atmosphere.
China may choose to attempt development of air defense RF weapons
intended to defeat missiles or aircraft by targeting the electronics in
guidance, altimeter, fire control, communications, navigation, or other
critical subsystems. Beijing may consider working with Russia to support
research and development on a high-powered microwave system (HPM),
referred to as Ranets-E, which would target the electronics onboard
China is known to be conducting research on explosively driven RF
weapons. However, even if China could produce significant amounts of RF
energy by means of an explosive driver, it is still not clear whether it
is possible to build an RF warhead that will be competitive with a
conventional warhead of the same size. China is unlikely to possess
effective RF warheads in the near term, even if such weapons do prove to
Finally, China may consider RF weapons with an ASAT capability. An ASAT
mission is undoubtedly one of the most stressing RF weapon applications.
For a ground-based system beaming RF energy into space, HPM sources
operating at very high power levels, as well as large transmitting
antennas having high gain would be required. For an RF weapon delivered
via a direct-ascent missile or deployed as an orbital system, there are
severe constraints on system size and mass and the question of
competitiveness with other ASAT systems that also must approach the
target. Even if the Chinese commit resources to a major ASAT RF
development program, they likely will be unable to deploy such a weapon
for at least ten to fifteen years.
Low Observable Technologies
China reportedly embarked on an extensive national effort to understand
and develop low observable (LO) technology in the 1980s. Indigenous
efforts likely have grown in maturity and understanding so as to allow
analysis of foreign capabilities and to attempt to duplicate past
research. Chinese scientists are said to have an excellent theoretical
understanding of LO technology, but apparently lack practical experience
that comes with decades of applied research. China appears to have begun
multiple programs to apply basic signature reduction technologies to its
fighter aircraft programs and reportedly is developing new fighter
aircraft that will incorporate LO technology.
K. Technology Acquisition
Collection of Technical Information
In 1991, the China Defense Science and Technology Information Center
(CDSTIC) --then the information arm for the Commission on Science,
Technology and Industry for National Defense -- published an S&T
collection manual titled ?Sources and Techniques of Obtaining National
Defense Science and Technology Intelligence.? The manual suggested that
80 percent of China?s defense S&T needs are met through open and gray
source (purchase/subscription) materials. This manual provided detailed
information on foreign open sources on defense technology and noted that
as of 1991 there were roughly 4,000 individual intelligence
organizations operating in China. Many of these organizations are
associated with state-owned enterprises, research institutes, and
academies affiliated with China?s defense industrial base.
The collection of technical information probably continues to be
orchestrated by the CDSTIC, which now is subordinate to the PLA?s
General Equipment Department (GED). The GED reportedly oversees a
complex web of factories, institutes, and academies that are subordinate
to China?s nuclear, aeronautics, electronics, ordnance, shipbuilding,
and astronautics industries. Each of these institutions has an
import/export corporation to facilitate the import of technology and
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