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Military playing catch-up in modernization
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08:11, September 22, 2009

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Some of China's most advanced weaponry is already being utilized by soldiers – a sign of the country's stepped-up efforts to modernize its military by 2050, according to the defense minister.

Military analysts say China is striving to create a weapon system that compares to those of the United States, Russia and European nations.

China has drawn up a three-step development strategy, starting with laying "a solid foundation by 2010" for the upgrades, Minister of National Defense Liang Guanglie told the Xinhua News Agency for a story yesterday.

According to the blueprint, the army will give priority to nationwide mobility instead of regional defense, the navy will be armed with strong coastal defense capabilities, as well as means of warfare farther out to sea, the air force will be updated from mere territorial air defense to the combination of offense and defense, and the missile force will become an effective strategic force capable of both conventional and nuclear launches.

Liang disclosed that the Chinese military has been armed with a series of sophisticated weapons, including a third-generation main battle tank, the country''s indigenous third-generation fighter aircraft J-10; early warning aircraft; cruise missiles; destroyers and strategic nuclear missiles.

"Our capabilities in waging defensive combat under modern conditions have taken a quantum leap," Liang was quoted as saying.

"It could be said that China has basically all the kinds of equipment possessed by Western countries, much of which reaches or approaches advanced world standards.

"This is a very remarkable achievement which not only reflects the level of modernisation of our army, but also tremendous changes in national science and technology strength."

Many of the specifics are classified, but military fans speculated that China is adding Type 99G and the Kongjing-2000 (KJ-2000) to its arsenal.

The Type 99G is said to provide the Chinese army with a tank similar to the Leopard 2 and M1A1 tanks of Western countries. It will be equipped with a 125mm smoothbore cannon with autoloader.
The latest early warning aircraft in China is the KJ-2000, which is comprised of domestically designed electronics and radar installed on a modified Ilyushin IL-76 airframe, sources said.

Source:Global Times

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