Beijing’s Transportation Weakness

07.01.13

Categorie: Air, China, David Axe, Logistics |
Tags: , ,

Y-20. <em>Photo: GeoEye</em>

Y-20. Photo: GeoEye

by DAVID AXE

Blog In from the Cold piles onto China’s new Y-20 transport plane and its ramifications:

It doesn’t take a strategist to understand that China views itself as the superpower of the 21st century. With an economy hitting on all cylinders; a rapidly expanding technological base and the money to fund an endless array of military projects, Beijing is accumulating the air, ground, naval and cyber assets considered necessary for global dominance.

In recent years, China has begun sea trials for its first fleet carrier (true, it was acquired from Russia and refurbished, but more are on the way); a fifth-generation fighter is undergoing flight testing, and new ballistic missiles and submarines are entering operational service as well. Couple that with improvements in ISR and air defense, and it’s clear that Beijing is building military forces that can exert influence on the world stage.

But projecting power means getting your forces to the right place — and in a hurry. And historically, that has been a weakness of the People’s Liberation Army and its various elements. One reason that Beijing has never followed through with an invasion of Taiwan is that it lacks the amphibious capability to ferry enough troops, supplies and reinforcements across the strait.

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