Military Review

Strengths and problems of the PLA

26
Strengths and problems of the PLA
Parade crew of the Dongfeng-26 missile systems. The development of the PLA missile forces is most active. Photo Globalsecurity.org


The People's Liberation Army of China is one of the largest, most developed and powerful armed forces in the world. It has a number of important advantages over other armies - but not without its drawbacks. To get rid of pressing problems, various measures are being taken, the effect of which should fully manifest itself in the future.

Indicators and plans


In recent decades, China has been actively developing and building its army, which has led to well-known results. Currently, the PLA is considered one of the most powerful armies in the world. Thus, in the rating of the military potential of Global Firepower, for many years in a row, China has consistently ranked third, behind only the United States and Russia.

Several years ago, the Chinese leadership launched a large and lengthy PLA modernization program, affecting all major aspects of military development. Work on this program will continue until the early thirties and is expected to lead to a significant increase in combat capability.


The main tank "Type 96B" is one of the current vehicles of the ground forces. Photo: Vitaly V. Kuzmin, Vitalykuzmin.net

In the future, it is expected to launch a new similar program with an eye on several decades. By the middle of the XXI century. The PLA must take the lead in the world. So, already now, the country's leadership is talking about the need to ensure parity with the US armed forces - in all areas, including the most complex and advanced ones.

Strengths


The main advantage of the PLA is traditionally the highest number of personnel. The total number of military personnel is at the level of 2-2,2 million people. The theoretical reserve for mobilization is more than 600 million people. Thus, in terms of human resources, China has no equal. Only India can compete with him in this respect, but the indicators of its army are much lower.

Strategic nuclear forces make a decisive contribution to national security. To date, a nuclear triad has been created with a wide range of missile and aviation complexes of different classes. Using such weapons, the PLA can control most of the Asia-Pacific region and more distant regions. Among other things, the PLA's strategic nuclear forces are responsible for key objects of the potential enemy - the United States and its allies.


"Light" tank "Type 15", designed for operations in mountainous areas. Photo Bmpd.livejournal.com

The PLA has large and well-developed ground forces. They have over 3200 tanks and approx. 35 thousand different armored vehicles of other classes. The total number of cannon and rocket artillery is at least 5,5 thousand units. High combat effectiveness is ensured not only by the number, but also by the equipment of the troops. Modern models are being created and put into service, in terms of their characteristics approaching the world's leading developments. In addition, specialized samples are being developed to work in special conditions.

To date, the PLA naval forces have come out on top in the world in terms of numbers. They include approx. 350 pennants, incl. over 130-140 surface ships of the main classes. The construction of aircraft carriers is being mastered, and ships of other classes are being built in significant numbers with a reduction in terms. Due to this, it is possible to increase its presence in the nearest seas and make plans for full-fledged work in remote regions.

The PLA Air Force also has advantages in terms of numbers. They have more than 3200 aircraft of all classes. About half of this number are tactical aircraft. Armed with modern samples of its own and foreign development; deliveries of the latest 5th generation fighters have begun.


Project 094 strategic missile submarine. Photo News.usni.org

The re-equipment and modernization of the armed forces is provided by a developed defense industry. Over the past decades, on its own and with the help of friendly countries, China has been able to create a powerful defense-industrial complex covering all major areas. The level of our own products is gradually increasing. At the same time, dependence on imports is decreasing, and its share on the international market is increasing.

Problems and solutions


Despite all the growth of recent decades, the PLA's strategic nuclear forces still lag behind the nuclear forces of other developed countries in terms of quantitative and qualitative indicators. There has been significant progress in land-based missile systems, but other components of the nuclear triad cannot boast of similar successes.

Thus, the naval component of the strategic nuclear forces so far has only six Type 094 submarines with intercontinental ballistic missiles. The basis of the air component is still made up of bombers of the H-6 family. Despite all the modernizations, such an aircraft has long been outdated and cannot fully participate in the processes of nuclear deterrence.


Corvette "Hengshui" pr. "054A" is a typical representative of modern Chinese shipbuilding. Photo by US Navy

Measures are being taken to remedy this situation. The construction of modern Type 096 submarines, capable of carrying ICBMs, has already started. In addition, a fundamentally new strategic bomber H-20 is being developed with a number of important features. In parallel with this, the development of the ground component of the strategic nuclear forces continues, and new complexes of a number of classes are being put into service.

The main problems of the ground forces are connected with the fact that quantity cannot be converted into quality. The high number of troops imposes restrictions on their modernization and re-equipment. Because of this, in particular, a mass of long-obsolete tanks and other models remains in service. Over time, all this leads to disunification and increased costs for maintaining the state of the troops.

According to known data, no radical solution to this problem is foreseen yet. The PLA orders a new material part to replace the obsolete one, but an equal number of re-equipment is no longer possible due to the high cost of modern samples.


Bomber H-6K, the newest modification of the obsolete vehicle. Photo Wikimedia Commons

The further development of the Navy is of particular importance in the current PLA modernization program. The fleet receives all the necessary resources, which allows you to get rid of a lot of problems and get record results. At the same time, such records have their own specifics. The main part of the increase in numbers comes from the construction of medium-sized and uncomplicated ships.

Thus, more than 60 Type 056 (A) corvettes have been commissioned, but they have a displacement of only 1500 tons and carry a limited range of weapons. Larger and more powerful ships, such as Type 054A frigates or Type 052D destroyers, are built in much smaller series. However, the existing pace of construction and commissioning suits the PLA command, and the situation, most likely, will not change.

The PLA Air Force faces the same problems as the ground forces. With its large size and strength, this type of armed forces cannot boast of a high proportion of modern and advanced models. In addition, several types of aircraft of the same class with significant technical and operational differences are simultaneously in service.


Fighters of the 5th generation J-20. Photo Wikimedia Commons

Nevertheless, the necessary measures are being taken. So, fighters of generations "4+" and "5" are being developed and built, new bombers, transport vehicles and a number of samples for other purposes are being created. In the future, they can have a significant impact on the potential of the Air Force. At the same time, it should be expected that the new models will not allow getting rid of the bloated nomenclature of types and maintaining the required size of the aircraft fleet.

On the eve of the future


The results of the PLA's development in recent decades are obvious. China managed to build not only a large, but also a powerful army with all the necessary structures and capabilities. However, it should be noted that, in its current state, the Chinese army has noticeable problems in many areas, limiting its development potential. They are being systematically fought against and getting positive results, although not everything will be able to be eliminated completely and on time.

The modern PLA is quite capable of performing strategic deterrence, repelling foreign aggression, or advancing China's interests with military force. In the future, it is planned to build up this potential, up to achieving parity with the leading countries. Whether the Chinese army will be able to fulfill these plans on time is unknown. However, it is clear that every effort will be made to accomplish such tasks, and the list of benefits and challenges will gradually change.
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  1. The comment was deleted.
  2. Semenov
    Semenov 19 January 2021 08: 36
    +18
    Surprisingly, for all its military and economic might, China is not in the G7, whose countries are for some reason considered the most influential.
    1. Tuzik
      Tuzik 19 January 2021 08: 42
      +8
      Maybe the Chinese understand that r7 is without a useful dead organ?
    2. Civil
      Civil 19 January 2021 08: 44
      +4
      1. The Communist Party of the PRC has consistently first brought the economy and living standards to the fore, and then powerfully began to modernize the army.
      2. What is in open sources about the nuclear triad of the PRC is only speculation and rumors.
      3. The question of time, when the communists of the PRC will tighten up the weak points, if any, are still in their army.
      4. And so the PRC entered the 3st century by all indicators. In contrast to one feudal capitalist country, the world's XNUMX is in decline.
      1. Sidor Amenpodestovich
        Sidor Amenpodestovich 19 January 2021 09: 10
        +4
        Quote: Civil
        1. The Communist Party of the PRC has consistently first brought the economy and living standards to the fore, and then powerfully began to modernize the army.
        2. What is in open sources about the nuclear triad of the PRC is only speculation and rumors.
        3. The question of time, when the communists of the PRC will tighten up the weak points, if any, are still in their army.
        4. And so the PRC entered the 3st century by all indicators. In contrast to one feudal capitalist country, the world's XNUMX is in decline.

        1. If Western countries had not pumped China with money and technology for several decades, then the Chinese economy would have been no more developed than the Indian one.
        2. Share your thoughts on China's nuclear triad.
        3. Did you read only the title of the entire article? A good half is devoted to the weak points of the Chinese army. Or are you not interested in it because you don't like it?
        4. Well, how can you not kick your own country! If you hate modern Russia so much, go live in Belarus. There, according to rumors, is still socialism. What are you saying? Won't you go anywhere? So in Russia you are not so bad, it turns out, right?
        1. Ka-52
          Ka-52 19 January 2021 11: 48
          +5
          There are opponents who write on the merits, based on an objective assessment. There are those who write in slogans and templates. Your interlocutor from the last. Therefore, do not expect an answer from him.
          1. Sidor Amenpodestovich
            Sidor Amenpodestovich 19 January 2021 11: 57
            +3
            Quote: Ka-52
            Therefore, do not expect an answer from him.

            Well, why not? He put a minus. Comes down for an opinion when instead of thoughts there is a stick.
      2. businessv
        businessv 20 January 2021 19: 49
        0
        Quote: Civil
        In contrast to one feudal capitalist country, the world's 3 is in decline.
        Unlike many feudal - capitalist countries, the 3 worlds are in decline. wink The PRC is one of the few countries that follows its own, measured, planned in advance, studying and taking into account the mistakes and mistakes of other states, for which special research institutes are being created. This development is mainly due to their mentality and enormous hard work. They take advantage of the achievements of Western civilization, but do not worship them. We all remember how the attempt at a flower garden in Hong Kong ended, and we also remember our Yeltsin flower garden with the shooting of the elected Parliament. A country in which a change in its internal structure takes place twice within one century cannot be strong by definition. We had a flourishing state from 1930 to 1965, when we achieved unprecedented results and became the world's foremost power, but our constant "striving for the best" and the eternal question "what to do?" haunts our poor country! It's not even worth remembering about fools and roads - with the roads, it seems, it is getting better, the matter remains small. wink
    3. Sergej1972
      Sergej1972 19 January 2021 09: 06
      0
      There, obviously, there are requirements for the political structure.
    4. Nigilist666
      Nigilist666 20 January 2021 18: 50
      +1
      When Russia withdrew from the G8, America and its six remained
  3. Doccor18
    Doccor18 19 January 2021 10: 08
    +4
    The main advantage of the PLA .. is the highest number of personnel. The total number of military personnel is at the level of 2-2,2 million people. The theoretical reserve for mobilization is more than 600 million people ...

    This was an advantage 100 years ago ...
    1. Eroma
      Eroma 7 March 2021 17: 48
      0
      60s of the 20th century, meeting at the General Staff of the PLA soldier a plan for a surprise attack on the USSR is being developed bully
      - Chinese troops under cover of night, in small groups of no more than a million people, will penetrate the enemy's territory and attack him from the rear! good during the attack we will be supported by aviation!
      - Aviation will not be able to support the ground forces! repeat
      - Why ?! belay
      - The pilot got sick wassat
  4. Hermit21
    Hermit21 19 January 2021 10: 28
    0
    Incidentally, trained China has less reserve than Russia
    1. Vadim_888
      Vadim_888 22 January 2021 07: 45
      0
      It's just enough for them to come somewhere, and you won't have enough ammo ... laughing
  5. A1845
    A1845 19 January 2021 11: 16
    0
    Thus, more than 60 Type 056 (A) corvettes have been commissioned, but they have a displacement of only 1500 tons and carry a limited range of weapons. Larger and more powerful ships, such as the Type 054A frigates or the Type 052D destroyers, are built in much smaller series.

    poor Chinese
    whether it's with us! (especially with destroyers sad )
  6. smaug78
    smaug78 19 January 2021 12: 10
    +2
    Quote: Hermit21
    Incidentally, trained China has less reserve than Russia

    Where is the droushka?
  7. dzvero
    dzvero 19 January 2021 15: 05
    -2
    The main problem for China is the impossibility of creating breakthrough technologies, respectfully, weapons. Why is not entirely clear. Either the costs of the mentality, or the official orientation is only to copy ... But, despite their numerical growth, their weapons or direct copying or "based on". They have no Armata, no Zamvolts, LCS and other F-22 / 35s (in the sense of an attempt to create something new). Yes, there will be no rake, but there will not be a school of its own and its own creative staff. If they do not change the policy, they will be catching up for a very long time.
  8. CommanderDIVA
    CommanderDIVA 19 January 2021 15: 25
    -2
    It makes no sense for the Chinese to have a large number of ground forces, they need to be reduced, with whom to fight then? It is unlikely with us, we are their strategic partner, on the border with India it is enough to have mountain infantry units, there is Tibet, you cannot disperse strongly with tank wedges, the Chinese need to develop their early warning systems, strategic nuclear forces, the Navy and aviation, to contain a potential enemy and protect their merchant marine ways, this is a vulnerable spot in the export-oriented economy of the PRC
    1. Николаев
      Николаев 19 January 2021 18: 09
      +2
      Exactly. Such "strategic partners" in the common people are called "friend-footcloth". And, no matter how we flatter ourselves to the opposite, it is so: starting with the surrender of Damansky in 69 and ending with throwing a jacket over the shoulders of a Chinese shmonka. To clearly understand, I recommend that the Shapkazakidonians look through Govorukhin's "The Great Criminal Revolution in Russia", everything is visible there. Wars are played out long before the start, mentally .... And Russia has ALREADY lost the war with China. I lost because it was not Chinese women in Russian brothels, but Russians in Chinese, that it was not the Chinese who were playing in Russia, but the Russians were working for the Chinese (both in China and in Russia) .... The Russians could not recover after the 1985+ disaster.
      1. CommanderDIVA
        CommanderDIVA 19 January 2021 21: 05
        0
        You probably write such nonsense from abroad, you can immediately see foreign training
        1. Николаев
          Николаев 20 January 2021 05: 18
          +1
          And here is the "preparation", I would like it not to be so, but, unfortunately, it is.
      2. Diverter
        Diverter 19 January 2021 21: 09
        -1
        We defeated them 7528 years ago, and we will win now! The Russians never gave up. They fought desperately to the last. I am sure we will not disgrace our ancestors.
        1. onstar9
          onstar9 22 January 2021 07: 32
          0
          Quote: Saboteur
          We defeated them 7528 years ago, and we will win now! The Russians never gave up. They fought desperately to the last. I am sure we will not disgrace our ancestors.

          And who to fight with? Who is there to "win"? Russia has nowhere to go without China. It remains only to "join" ... Or rather, "join" ... And no one in Russia will object to this. They have order, normal medicine, legality. There are no bribe-takers or bribe-takers, everyone was shot. So the Russians will even be happy to "join" China ... Tired to the limit of their "landowners" and the dog's life ...
          1. Diverter
            Diverter 1 February 2021 23: 48
            0
            who's stopping you from changing your dog's life?
  9. Diverter
    Diverter 19 January 2021 21: 26
    0
    I think that the article is one-sided. It does not take into account three important facts.
    1. Economy. The times when the Chinese economy grew by 20% or more per year are over. This means that the financial resources for new weapons have become much less.
    2. Population. In the near future, the state will face a huge problem. Over 40% of the population are old people. Plus a sharp decline in numbers. These are the consequences of birth control. This is again a reduction in money for the army.
    3. And most importantly. There is no such people - the Chinese. We also have such an example. There is no such people - Dagestanis. There is a republic but no people. So China is like our Dagestan, only they have many nationalities who do not really like each other. Also, almost everyone has a different language. This is a historical fact. How the combined unit will behave in battle is a very big question.
    And further. In World War II, the Chinese showed themselves very badly as warriors. And there was no more experience.
    China today is a bubble. Yes. Not soapy. But not a steel ball either.
    PySy. China is our historical enemy. Insidious and cruel. And it is necessary to prepare for war with him.
    1. evgen1221
      evgen1221 23 January 2021 10: 18
      -2
      How will the multinational army behave in battle? -And how did the multinational army of the Soviet Union behave in 1941-1945? It all depends on how the authorities organize the life of an ordinary person. They will do it well - he will go to die for this power without talking and will break off a line of a horn, make the army below the plinth, that is, a person will spit on this understatement and happily hang bourgeois with other silverware, and he will be right, because for a new bottom himself and the yacht of the master is more foolish than him to fight. And the stoned moment will be knocked out in the first two clashes. Hence, the conclusion is that the will to resist, the fighting efficiency and motivation to defend largely depends on how the protected power organizes life for the majority. You do not believe that the same silverware, singers and other top managers with machine guns in the forefront will rush to protect their power from a foreign invader? So I do not believe. And seeing how the same Chinese live, and how simple Vanya do you think Vanya will go to die for the sake of further deteriorating his life? The Soviet government pulled him out of the dugout, taught him, gave him work and light at the end of the tunnel, for this they went to die. The current temporary workers are driven into dugouts, they are deprived of education, they are driven to work for free and put out the light and faith in the future - well, yes, weighty arguments for the sake of her death.
  10. Kerensky
    Kerensky 21 January 2021 20: 45
    0
    I believe that all the warehouses are already clogged and fuel has been poured under the neck. And not only among the Chinese. It can't end well ...