by DAVID AXE
The bizarro China Military Report blog highlights eight future weapons that it claims will allow Beijing to “maintain strategic balance against the United States.” Along with my comments, they are:
1. Lasers. Over-rated. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency spent billions developing a missile-killing chemical laser mounted to a 747, only to discover its range was too short for practical military use.
2. Photino radar. Um, I think they made this one up.
3. Gravitational-wave passive radar. Yeah, this one, too.
4. Nuclear submarines. Here, CMR isn’t wrong. But to maximize its subs’ utility, China needs to improve their reliability and crew training and get them out to sea on longer, more frequent cruises.
5. “Electro-magnetic” submarines, propelled by “silent” pump-jets. Small subs are indeed potent weapons, but they need not feature fancy propulsion systems. Just build lots of them, to a modern design, and train the crews hard.
6. Ultra-high-speed missiles. By traveling inside gas bubbles — a technique called “super-cavitation” — projectiles such as torpedoes can reach very high speeds, but at the cost of truncated range. This tech ain’t exactly new. Russia mastered it in the 1990s. The U.S., Germany and Iran are also actively researching super-cavitation, and nobody’s going to lose any sleep if the Chinese decide to pursue it, too.
7. Stealth fighters, supposedly including the J-10, the J-13 and the F-14. Problem is, the J-13 and F-14 are “paper” airplanes that have never appeared in public. Only the J-10 is in service, and it’s clearly a non-stealthy contemporary of the defunct Israeli Lavi, and to a lesser extent the Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale.
8. Aircraft carriers. Okay, but unless China builds 12 of them, builds them bigger than it currently plans and quickly designs several new aircraft to fill out the air wing, then any Chinese carrier is more for show than it is for actually controlling the seas. That’s a job best left to submarines.
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