In recent decades, the Chinese armed forces represent one of the most powerful forces in the Asian region. Ideological differences with neighbors and superpowers that have their own interests in Asia, forced Beijing to actively develop its defense industry and army. It is noteworthy that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was the main initiator of this development, as well as the masses of other areas, as well as the “helmsman” of the entire economic and political life of the country. As a matter of fact, it is this organization that, thanks to certain advantages of the public approach to work, as well as the enthusiasm of citizens, has become the main guiding and motivating force in the construction of industry, the economy, etc. Of course, Chinese social, political and economic methods often cause complaints from foreign countries. However, China itself continues to pursue its own policies. In particular, the CPC almost directly to date has the leadership of the army.
On the eve of the main celebrations, which took place on the first of August, a solemn reception was held. It was once again noted that the PLA and the CCP are two interrelated "organisms" that complement and help each other. As usual at such events, a lot was said at the reception about the development and modernization of the armed forces and the defense industry. At the same time, one of the speakers, General U Sihua, admitted that the People’s Liberation Army had not yet become the leading armed forces of the world. The defense potential of several countries is now above Chinese. For this reason, the Celestial Empire is forced to continue to improve its army. For example, the military budget for the 2012 year is reportedly more than ten percent higher than in the 2011 year.
China’s plans for the development of its army cause a number of claims. And it is not only immediate neighbors. Most often at the hearing are the words of the representatives of the United States. There are several reasons for discontent of this North American country. First, China intends to expand its presence in Southeast Asia, where the Americans have their own interests. Secondly, in combination with a number of economic features, the strengthening of the PLA is considered to be a rather serious threat for some large countries. Finally, Beijing is often referred to as the so-called. unreliable modes. High-ranking officials openly about this, we have to admit, do not speak, but often this is what is meant. But the Chinese army has several dozen intercontinental ballistic missiles. The range of the most advanced means of delivery of the Dongfeng family makes it possible to strike at any of the NATO countries, not to mention the eastern hemisphere. It is obvious that such weapons will not remain without foreign attention.
As for non-nuclear weapons, the PLA is not the weakest military organization in the world. First of all, it is worth noting human "resources". Currently, more than 2,2 million people are serving in the Chinese army. Because of such a large number of troops, China ranks first in the world in terms of army size. More about 800 thousands are in reserve, and the total mobilization potential of the country (citizens aged from 18 to 49 years) exceeds half a billion. It is unlikely that anyone will be able to with China in terms of the mass character of the armed forces.
The basis of the PLA, as well as other armies in the world, is the Ground Forces. The overwhelming number of military personnel - 1,7 million - serve in them. The Chinese ground forces consist of 35 armies, which in turn have 118 infantry, 13 tank, 33 artillery (including air defense) divisions. In addition, the 73 divisions of the border troops belong to the PLA. Such a huge number of troops requires an appropriate number of weapons. It is noteworthy that most weapons and China is trying to produce military equipment independently, having developed from scratch, having bought a license or copied foreign samples. Such an approach allows equipping the army with a large number of types of weapons. Only small arms in service consists of more than 40 models. In the warehouses of infantry, motorized infantry, etc. units can be found as licensed Soviet pistols TT-33 (Chinese designation "Type 54"), as well as modern machines of its own design QBZ-95.
PLA Soldiers with QBZ-95 Guns
Type 59 and Type 69
With armored vehicles in the PLA, the situation is similar. In tank units there is a certain amount of medium tanks "Type 59-II", which is a deep modernization of the old Soviet T-54/55. Shortly before the Type 59-II, the Type 69 tank was developed. It is a direct continuation of the ideology laid down by the Soviet tank builders. It is worth recognizing that China is able to make new equipment. So, at the beginning of the two thousandth troops began to receive tanks "Type 99". These machines are also not wholly owned by the Celestial Empire: the project is based on the Soviet T-72. Nevertheless, the characteristics of the latest Chinese tanks are considered quite sufficient to fulfill their tasks. Over the past couple of years, rumors have circulated about work on a new tank, which, allegedly, has no obvious resemblance to existing foreign models. If these conversations are based on real facts, then China could finally raise its tank construction to a level at which it is able to create its own vehicles from scratch. In total, the PLA has about 6500 tanks of all types.
The main Chinese infantry fighting vehicle for several decades remains the "Type 86", which is the licensed version of the Soviet BMP-1. During production and service in China, these armored vehicles have been repeatedly upgraded, during which they were equipped with new weapons, communications equipment, etc. According to the directory The Military Balance, in 2010, at least six hundred such vehicles remained in the ranks. Other Chinese BMPs, such as "Type 91" or "Type 97" (mistakenly considered a copy of the Russian BMP-3) are available in much smaller numbers. The total number of infantry fighting vehicles in the PLA does not exceed fifteen hundred. The seemingly insufficient amount of infantry fighting vehicles is to some extent compensated by the armored personnel carriers used. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of vehicles of this type and at present the Chinese military have 4-5 thousands of armored personnel carriers. The main models of this class of vehicles are tracked “Type 63” and “Type 89”. Despite the resemblance, these armored vehicles are quite distant "relatives".
The artillery of the People’s Liberation Army has about 18 thousands of weapons. The caliber of the guns ranges from millimeters 100 (“Type 59”) to mm 155 (“Type 88”). Artillery units have their own and foreign weapons. As an example of the latter, Russian-made Nona-SVK self-propelled guns can be cited. In addition, a considerable part of the types of Chinese cannons, howitzers and mortars is based on the development of Soviet designers. In addition to cannon artillery, the Chinese Ground Forces have about two and a half thousand units of multiple launch rocket systems. In some parts, towed launchers "Type 81" caliber 107 millimeters are still preserved. However, the bulk of such weapons has long been owned by self-propelled MLRS. Some of them were purchased abroad or developed independently, taking into account foreign experience. The "crown of creation" of the Chinese MLRS developers are the WS-2 / 3 complexes. The claimed range of rockets of caliber 400 millimeters exceeds 200 km. For this reason, the WS-2 and WS-3 systems have been nicknamed “strategic MLRS”.
Strategic MRLS WS-2
Separately it is worth staying at the so-called. The second artillery building. The name implies that this unit is subordinate to the command of the Ground Forces, but this is not the case. In fact, the Second Artillery Corps is directly subordinate to the Central Military Council of the PRC. The fact is that this corps is in charge of nuclear warheads and the means for their land-based delivery. According to Western intelligence reports, China has 240-250 nuclear warheads, 175-200 of which are on duty. Western intelligence also claims that at present, China has an order of 90-100 intercontinental ballistic missiles. These are Dongfeng missiles: DF-5 and DF-31. In addition, in the arsenals of the Second Artillery Corps there are ballistic missiles of medium and short range. Thus, this military unit is in fact the guarantor of the security of the entire state, implementing the doctrine of nuclear deterrence.
According to the views of the Chinese military command (the military sets of other countries agree with this), the Ground Forces should not go into battle on their own, but with the support of the Air Force. About three hundred thousand people serve in this branch of the Chinese forces, most of which are technical and service personnel. The quantitative and qualitative composition of the PLA Air Force is heterogeneous, there are aircraft designed and assembled with a difference of several decades. As an example of the "old people" often cited Xian H-6 bombers, made on the basis of the Soviet Tu-16. The Chinese Air Force has between 80 and more than 100 such aircraft. The difference in data is due to the fact that some of these bombers are in storage or in reserve. Fighter Park aviation The People’s Liberation Army has a large number: about 1100-1200 units of equipment. The vast majority of Chinese fighters are Chengdu J-7 and Shenyang J-8 aircraft of various modifications. More than seven hundred of these fighter jets are already in operation and about eighty more will be delivered to units in the coming years. In second place in terms of number is the Chengdu J-10 fighter-bomber (at least 250 pieces). Next are the Soviet / Russian Su-27 and Shenyang J-11, as well as the Su-30MKK. In addition, the PLA Air Force has separate aviation units armed with aircraft for attacking ground targets in front-line conditions. These are the Xian JH-7 and Nanchang Q-5 aircraft. Finally, to ensure the reliable operation of its aviation, the Chinese air forces have about ten KJ-200/2000 long-range radar detection and control aircraft.
The second major part of the PLA Air Force is military transport aviation. At the beginning of 2012, the total number of transport aircraft was estimated at the 350-400 aircraft. The most massive of them - Shijiazhuang Y-5 (licensed copy of An-2) was built in 300 series of machines. In addition, the Chinese Air Force has eight other types of transport and passenger aircraft, in particular Soviet Il-76 and Tu-154. The latter are used for transportation of high authorities.
It is worth noting that Ilyushin machines are used not only for transport purposes. At the time, China received from the Soviet Union eight air tankers IL-78. In addition to them, the Celestial Air Force has a dozen H-6 bombers, converted to the configuration of tankers. The presence of two different aircraft tankers at the same time is due to the peculiarities of in-flight refueling systems. The fact is that all the new technology - fighters and interceptors - refuel through the "hose-cone" system. Outdated H-6 bombers, in turn, use the “wing-wing” method, which was not widely used and was massively used only on Tu-16 / H-6.
The helicopter fleet of the Chinese Air Force includes 11 type vehicles, four of which are combat vehicles. These are Harbin WZ-9, Changde Z-11W, CAIC WZ-10 and Aerospatiale SA 342 Gazelle. The first three are produced or produced in China. However, only the WZ-10 and Gazelle are fully adapted for combat work, and not converted from multi-purpose helicopters. The total number of combat helicopters does not exceed 100-120 units. The fleet of helicopters is several times larger. It is estimated that more than two hundred Mi-8 helicopters in China alone are more than two hundred. Other helicopters are available in smaller quantities. As for the European or American technology, its quantity is insignificant - no more than a couple of tens of all types.
Aerospatiale SA 342 Gazelle
For the training of pilots of the PLA Air Force there are a number of specialized training aircraft and helicopters. This aircraft Nanchang CJ-6 (development of the Soviet Yak-18), Hongdu JL-8 and L-15, as well as helicopters Harbin HC-120. The total number of training equipment is within 200-250 units.
The People's Republic of China has one of the most powerful navies in the Asian region. At the same time, it cannot be called completely modern. So, the most massive submarines as part of the PLA Navy are Type 035 diesel-electric ships - at least fifteen units. This project was developed in the USSR in the 50s of the last century and had a numerical designation “633”. For its needs, the Soviet Union collected only two dozen such submarines, and then sold the production license to China. The PLA leadership plans to gradually phase out Type 035 boats fleet. One of the candidates for replacement was the boats of the Soviet project 636 Varshavyanka, of which 12 units were purchased. Further in the plans of the command appeared “Type 039” of a similar purpose, but already made in China. To date, 13 boats have been built. Only nine boats of projects 091 and 093 have the ability to carry nuclear warheads. Moreover, due to their considerable age, some of them are regularly spent on repairs, and therefore not all submarines can carry out simultaneous duty.
In the near future, the Chinese naval forces will be replenished with the first aircraft carrier Shi Lang, the former Soviet "Varyag". In the meantime, the main strike force of the PLA Navy is the destroyers of the projects “Type 51” and “Type 52”, as well as their modifications. The total number of these ships is 25, not counting those that are currently being completed or undergoing tests. Frigates have a slightly lower combat potential, but they win in number - almost fifty of them. These are the ships of the projects "Type 53" and "Type 54". The armament of all destroyers and frigates consists of barreled artillery, anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles. The list of large warships is closed by the landing craft of the 071 project. Two such BDK are already serving and two more are being built.
For coastal operations, China has a “mosquito fleet” of an 91 missile boat. In addition, during the 037 project, about two hundred patrol boats were built. The total number of combat boats in the Chinese Navy exceeds 300 units. Finally, at the naval bases there are over one and a half hundred landing craft, "classic" and air cushion, mine-sweepers and about 220-230 auxiliary vessels.
In general, the People’s Liberation Army of China is a well-equipped and trained force. At the same time, one of its main problems is a certain technical backwardness. Figuratively speaking, the qualitative aspect of the material part of the PLA looks like a kind of "squeeze" from the Soviet army in the period from the sixties to eighties of the last century. It is obvious that with such equipment now it is hardly possible to claim a leading position in the world. The leadership of the Chinese armed forces, the Communist Party and the state as a whole are well aware of this. The consequence of this understanding is the constant and systematic increase in the country's military budget. Judging by the latest newsconcerning the production of weapons and military equipment, Beijing has begun to implement a rather useful strategy: first of all, money is invested in new projects and programs. It seems that in the very near future the amount of news about the successful completion of the construction of ships, the supply of new aircraft, etc. will increase.
Against the background of the renewal of the material part, a fair question arises: why is all this necessary? One of the most popular versions (for several decades) is the impending landing on Taiwan. However, until now, such an operation has remained at the level of rumors. Recently, the coastal waters of Southeast Asia, as well as some islands at a distance from the Asian coast, have been added to the list of potential theaters of military operations. Yes, and the American bases on the island of Guam have long been a concern of the Chinese leadership. Regardless of the goals, the last years of the 85-year-old People’s Liberation Army of China’s life evoke mixed feelings. Of course, the pace of renewal and the size of the armed forces, at least, command respect. On the other hand, the presence of such a serious army literally at the side of Russia cannot but be disturbed. It remains only to continue updating our army and wait for news regarding the Chinese military plans.
The Military Balance 2010 Handbook
Magazines "Foreign Military Review"