PLA building fleet of 100 large transport aircraft

China's Xian Y-20 large transportation aircraft. (Internet photo)


China is building a fleet of a hundred large transport aircraft that will be able to deploy troops all around the world, according to a Russian military expert.

In an article published Oct. 16 on the Russian Council website, Vasily Kashin, a China expert at the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow, says that the People’s Liberation Army hopes to complete the project by 2020.

To reach that goal, China is in the process of acquiring Il-76 multi-purpose four-engine strategic airlifters and Il-78 four-engined aerial refueling tankers from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, and is also developing its own Xian Y-20 large military transport aircraft.

According to Kashin, the quality of China’s military technology has reached a new level, such that the PLA is now a modernized force capable of fighting a technically advanced war. The new generation PLA has a blue-water navy and maritime force capable of operating across the deep waters of open oceans as well as a powerful strategic air force, he wrote.

The project is said to be part of a series of major programs designed to complete China’s transformation into a modern military power. One of the programs aims to build an army that can win wars through superior information technology by 2050. To this end, the PLA set a goal back in 2000 for 60% of all new recruits to be university graduates, though by 2009 the number had barely passed 30%. To entice more qualified soldiers, the PLA has also introduced comprehensive insurance schemes and higher compensation that has seen monthly salaries more than double between 2006 and 2011 to around US$840 a month.

Combat training now focuses primarily on the use of computerized systems for joint operations, and a greater emphasis has been placed on precision weapons such as 122mm artillery and 155mm extended range guided munitions. Air force pilots are also increasing their training hours by an average of 200 hours a year and focusing on their abilities to make decisions without ground support.

China is the second country in the world after the US to develop a warship equipped with a self-built multi-purpose weapons system. The Type 052D destroyer, currently undergoing sea trials, can launch various types of guided wapons such as anti-aircraft missiles, anti-ship missiles and anti-submarine missiles, as well as cruise missiles against ground targets. China is also the only country in the world with two fifth-generation fighter projects in place, with both jets currently in the test-flight phase.

Additonally, the China is building five Type 094 ballistic missile submarines equipped with JL-2 intercontinental-range submarine-launched ballistic missiles. The PLA has already deployed 35 DF-31A long-range road-mobile ICBMs and still has multiple warheads in development.

On the intelligence front, China is combining traditional electronic warfare with cyber warfare. The Fourth Department of the PLA’s General Staff Headquarters Department has been tasked with four main goals: expand staff, improve technological progress, establish more centers, and train more information warfare experts. Telecommunications and electronic intelligence is controlled by the Third Department of the PLA’s General Staff Headquarters Department, which has a total of about 130,000 staff.

Full article: PLA building fleet of 100 large transport aircraft (Want China Times)

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