China’s parade showed off military hardware that leaves Pentagon antsy

China’s parade showed off military hardware that leaves Pentagon antsy

The guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer transits through a lightning storm in the South China Sea on October 1 (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Rawad Madanat)

WASHINGTON — The parade thrown by China’s leaders to celebrate 70 years of Communist rule was designed not just to espouse the virtues of their system but also to show the U.S. and other adversaries how much more advanced they are militarily, a new analysis says.

Among the weapons on display this week were nuclear missiles crafted to elude U.S. but defenses, supersonic attack drones that mock defenses, hypersonic glide vehicles and a near stealth-like underwater drone. Those were some of the “formidable weapons systems that demonstrate the growing capability of the Chinese military, the erosion of U.S. military superiority, and the need for continued action by Washington and its partners,” according to the analysis.

“The U.S. military has struggled to receive the timely, sufficient, and predictable funding necessary to support current operations, maintain readiness, and modernize the force,” according to the analysis by The Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

“Meanwhile, Beijing has studied how America fights and has modernized its military accordingly. As a result, in some areas, U.S. military superiority has eroded or vanished,” it said.

The warning was familiar to many Pentagon officials who have often stated similar concerns in private briefings and conversations.

For example, DARPA officials have conceded that the Chinese have focused resources – and intellectual theft —on key 21st century systems such as hypersonic, edging ahead of the U.S. and Russia in such targeted areas.

DARPA is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon’s innovation wing.

The Foundation’s analysis warned that without timely, sufficient, and predictable funding from Congress to modernize and compete, “the security of the American people will further erode, and U.S. troops may find themselves in a future conflict they will struggle to win against an increasingly capable Chinese military.”

Such U.S. advances must include a space-based hypersonic and ballistic missile tracking sensor system to track and confront Chinese advanced weapons, the Foundation said.

Among the Chinese weapons cited by the Foundation: the Dong Feng (DF)-17, a ballistic missile booster and hypersonic glide vehicle, the DF-21D anti-ship or “carrier killer” ballistic missile; DF-26 ground mobile intermediate-range ballistic missile; DF-41 a ground-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile with a maximum range of 9,300 miles; JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile; GJ-11 “Sharp Sword,” a stealthy underwater drone or unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) ; HSU-001, a large UUV featuring dual screws to enhance cruising speeds, and WZ-8, a rocket-powered, high-altitude reconnaissance vehicle.

Some of the weapons come with maneuverable warheads, decoys, chaff, and jamming techniques, the Foundation noted.

It said that these systems extend Beijing’s near-precision strike capability as far as Guam and could enable Beijing to target ships and bases in the region, “potentially creating no-go zones for the U.S. military and its partners.

“If successful in this effort, Beijing may conclude it could successfully undertake military aggression, for example against Taiwan,” the Foundation said.

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