I wanted to switch your attention to other areas but China keeps surprising us with more and more interesting systems and plans almost every day.
Here is a quick scan through the latest developments in China and their implications to the whole region.
Chinas has a formidable missile force. Located on it’s vast land masses they guard the approach waters. Further more the newly constructed islands are also being armed with missiles which could potentially push US Navy and USAF as far as Guam if it would like to stay on the safe side. The recent information’s is provided by Kanwa Defense Review and quoted by Kyodo News in Japan. According to the sources China is pushing the development of hypersonic weapons which could potentially make Japanese an Korean systems basically useless. It is assumed that those weapons could potentially be flying with 10 times the speed of sound and maneuver in the edge of the atmosphere and be difficult to destroy. Chinese hypersonic tests are well known to the defence community and if we look at their outcome it’s quite impressive. Six out of seven recent tests were successful.
Reuters reported quoting Xinhua agency that China has won a big export deal for it’s drones. This could be seen as a milestone. The systems are good enough for the home defense and also seen as worth buying for other countries. This indicates some sort of maturity and stabilization in their development.
The interesting part is that the order was put for the Wing-Loong II even before it took off to it’s first flight. If we have a closer look at it it looks very similar to the MQ-9 Reaper. The first flight took place on the 27th of February and lasted 31 minutes. Wing-Loong is a MALE class UAV with both reconnaissance and strike capabilities. It can fly for 20 hours and carry up to 480 kg of ordnance / systems on it’s external hard points.
What does the Navy think of it?
Andrew S. Erickson from the Naval War College updated the Congress on the state of China’s military capabilities. He point’s out the importance of China’s ASBM (anti-ship ballistic missiles) systems and highlights a urgent need to develop efficient electronic countermeasures.
Here comes the Cherry
Recently I’ve been writing a lot about lasers and here is a response from China. At IDEX China presented it’s Low Altitude Laser Defending System (LASS) named Silent Hunter. As reported by Jane’s Defence Weekly it was already used during the G20 Summit in September 2016. It might be not very powerful and targets small drones but still it is a huge step forward and puts Chins in par with USA in the area of laser development.
What to think of it?
At some point we have to come to a conclusion that the military advantage of the so called western countries might soon be over. Defense analysts still claim that their technology is behind the one form USA but the question is for how long? How can we determine that Wing-Loong II is better or worse than the MQ-9 Reaper? Of course you can argue that this is old technology but we don’t know what China is working on in it’s secret facilities. Sharp Sword showed us that they can move very fast with their work. J-20 also is a huge step forward.
It seems that the only reasonable way to counter all that equipment would be to jam it. Fighting the tactical anti ship missiles, J-20, long endurance stealthy drones has no sense. There are to many of them and those systems pop out very fast.
It looks like the reign of U.S. Navy in the region comes to an end and we might see it sooner than later. China is developing a complex system that pushes USA back and allows to reclaim the near waters and the regional hegemony, but USA has a few aces left and a few more in works.