Cheap Defense

Cheap Defense

Cheap DefenseNever be afraid to change tactics

Never be afraid to negotiate
Never be afraid to retreat
Never be afraid to attack

–Mao Tse Tung

The thrifty Chinese have never liked to waste money on anything, especially their military. They built the Great Wall to keep people out. They have always preferred to stay inside their wall and avoid foreign adventures: too risky, too expensive.

So it comes as no surprise that China’s military is both defensive and cheap: China spends about the same on defense as France, or one sixth of the US military budget.

Yet China’s thrifty defense planners get a lot of bang for their buck. Some examples of thrift:

China Defense
Shore to ship missiles: China modified an existing intermediate-range ballistic missile to destroy ships up to 2,000 km from shore–which happens to be the operational range of the US Pacific Fleet. The range of the modified Dong Feng 21 missile (pictured) is significant in that it covers the areas that are likely hot zones for future confrontations between U.S. and Chinese surface forces. The missile carries a warhead big enough to sink or cripple a large vessel, providing the Chinese the capability of destroying a supercarrier in one strike.
Because the missile employs a complex guidance system, low radar signature and a maneuverability that makes its flight path unpredictable, the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased. It is estimated that the missile can travel at mach 10 and reach its maximum range of 2000km in less than 12 minutes. Ships currently have no defense against a ballistic missile attack. [US Naval Institute. There’s more…]
  • ICBMs: Rather than engaging in a ruinous–and futile–arms race with the USA, China has elected to field only few Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles. But these are mobile: truck-drawn on land, and submarine-based at sea.
  • Cruise Missiles: It also fields a pair of  formidable supersonic cruise missiles–the C602 Long-range Anti-ship Cruise Missile and the CJ-10 ground launched cruise missile –with ranges up to 2,000 km.
  • Invisible Submarines:  China has a fleet of Song-class diesel submarines that are invisible to American sub-detection methods.  A ship of this class surfaced in the midst of a US carrier battle group off the coast of China, causing what one NATO officer described “as big a shock as the Russians launching Sputnik”.

Read more:

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