50 SUBS OPERATIONAL, AIR POWER INCREASED, HUNDREDS OF NEW INTERCONTINENTAL MISSILES BEING DEPLOYED
RUMSFELD PENTAGON CAUGHT OFF GUARD BY CHINA'S RISE TO A FIRST WORLD MILITARY POWER
From The Jakarta Post : U.S. military planners and analysts are becoming increasingly concerned at China's programs to counter the long established dominance of American aircraft carriers and their naval escorts in the western Pacific. These flotillas are a key component of U.S. global power, enabling Washington to position a powerful maritime strike force in seas around the world to support a wide range of missions from intervention to humanitarian assistance.
In Asia so far, there has been little to threaten the U.S. leviathans and their combat planes. Just over a decade ago, when China fired ballistic missiles into waters around Taiwan to deter possible moves towards independence, U.S. President Bill Clinton sent two aircraft carrier battle groups into the region to protect the island.
China is now deploying its latest generation of short range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) in southeast China, across from Taiwain.
It's alleged to be adding some 100 surface to surface missiles every twelve months, with a ready stock of SRBMs and cruise missiles numbering an estimated 700.
China is also focusing its strategy of sea denial, particularly important since it wants to ensure such shipping routes as the Malaka Straits stay open and free to keep energy supplies from Australia and Iran (among other countries) coming in. For this reason, China is rapidly expanding its fleet of submarines, diversifying across four different classes, both nuclear and deisel.
Russia is supplying the last eight of a 2002 order armed with 300 km range cruise missiles for land attack and torpedoes capable of whipping through the water at speeds of 200 km/h.
The Jakarta Post claims "China is getting most of its foreign military equipment from Russia, with former Soviet states such as Ukraine providing some advanced systems. Russia is evidently selling advanced arms and technology to fund its next generation weapons development."
In 2001-2002, China brought four Sovremenny-class destroyers from Russia, armed with Sunburn, Club and Yakhont missiles. The Russian shopping list also included at least two dozen Il-76 planes, which can be used for airborne control and warning as well as air-refueling for the Russia supplied squadrons of Su-27 and Su-30 multi-role fighters.
The Jakarta Post also claims China plans to "upgrade its long-range strike capability by acquiring Tu-22M-3 Backfire bombers from Russia. The Backfire uses a range of supersonic and subsonic precision-guided munitions that would greatly enhance China's ability to carry out sea denial or sea control operations. Should Beijing get the Backfire bomber, U.S. carrier battle groups and forward bases will face a significantly increased threat.
"With a combat radius of over 2,000 miles, the Backfire could reach U.S. military bases on Okinawa and on Guam..."
China now has at least 50 submarines at operational capacity. At least 25 of these are regarded as "highly lethal."
To the shock of U.S. intelligence, and the Rumsfeld Pentagon, China suddenly shifted from being something a bit beyond a Third World military power in 2004, and is rapidly closing the gap to be able to compete militarily with United States.
A stunning development, virtually un-mentioned in the world's press, but causing great concern for the United States, and US Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, in particular.
Rumsfeld wrote an editorial for France Le Figaro, published in early May, where he said : “Some aspects of the Chinese attitude are worrying and complicate our relations. A notorious lack of transparency (on military spending) is of course worrying for China’s neighbours.”China's defence budget has climbed in recent years to more than $35 billion in 2006. In comparison Australia's defence budget for 2006-2007 is almost $20 billion. The US, meanwhile, has a defence budget spiralling into the hundreds of billions of dollars a year, as it makes plans to expand its War On Terror.
Commander of US Pacific Forces Given Week Long Tour Of Chinese Military Installations