RAND: Chinese Arms Industry Improving
DID has covered RAND’s Project Air Force before, and their lessons learned from the F-22 and F/A-18 Super Hornet programs attracted a lot of reader interest here. Now they shift their focus to China’s defense production capabilities, which are beginning to address previous weaknesses and turn out a range of increasingly advanced weapons (for instance, the YJ-62 anti-ship cruise missile). This study examines the current and future capabilities of China’s defense industry, as part of a larger RAND Project Air Force look at Chinese military modernization.
The study’s goals and foci include recent trends in China’s long effort to reform its defense industry, the individual strengths and weaknesses its missile, aircraft, shipbuilding, and information technology sectors, a look at variations in performance and structure among different Chinese defense-industry sectors, and the overall prospects for China’s defense industry and its ability to contribute to military modernization. China’s growing electronics industry and its contribution to defense modernization is also covered. Readers can skip into the HTML page covering this research to see the overview and buy the book, read only the summary [PDF], or download the whole report [PDF].
RAND also recommends the related short brief, “China’s Defense Industry Is Emerging from Its Troubled Past.” DID, in turn, recommends the following pair of briefs as accompaniment:
- Richard D. Fisher, Jr.’s February 6, 2004 testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. It covers China’s military modernization programs, how its management of those programs has changed, and the role of various foreign suppliers. It’s a good way to get context on the roles played to date by the Russians, Europeans, Israelis, and American companies over the years. The Chinese have taken a less rigidly indigenous approach to their military modernization, China’s recent acceptance of both Project 636 advanced Kilo Class ultraquiet diesel-electric sub and a Project 956ME Sovremenny Class destroyer from Russia underline why understanding this dimension is important.
- Thomas J. Christensen’s outstanding “Posing Problems Without Catching Up: China’s Rise and the Challenge for American Security” [PDF]. Presented at the Johns Hopkins University SAIS (School of Advanced International Studies) Policy Forum in February 2001. His clear-eyed logic lays out driving forces, options and what ifs, and his explanation of why China doesn’t have to achieve parity with the USA is especially worth your attention.
Both of these items come from a compilation at Winds of Change.NET: “China’s Stresses, Goals, Military Buildups… and Futures.” It does not present a specific scenario for China’s future, but it does outline a number of the key trends and factors at play on the internal socio-economic, geo-political, and military fronts, with links to further sources of data and analysis.