U.S. military is encircling China with a chain of air bases and military ports. The latest link: a small airstrip on the tiny Pacific island of Saipan. The U.S. Air Force is planning to lease 33 acres of land on the island for the next 50 years to build a “divert airfield” on an old World War II airbase there. But the residents don’t want it. And the Chinese are in no mood to be surrounded by Americans.
While the U.S. military insists that Air Sea Battle, and the military’s entire pivot to Asia, isn’t about China, these bases are indeed a check against any future Chinese expansion into the Pacific ocean, according to Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“China will be much more discreet throughout the entire region because U.S. power is already there, it’s visible; you’re not talking theory, you’re already there in practice,” he said.
The Pentagon’s big, new strategy for the 21st century is something called Air-Sea Battle, a concept that’s nominally about combining air and naval forces to punch through the increasingly-formidable defenses of nations like China or Iran. It may sound like an amorphous strategy — and truth be told, a lot of Air-Sea Battle is still in the conceptual phase. But a very concrete part of this concept is being put into place in the Pacific. An important but oft-overlooked part of Air-Sea Battle calls for the military to operate from small, bare bones bases in the Pacific that its forces can disperse to in case their main bases are targeted by Chinese ballistic missiles.
The People’s Republic of China has developed and possesses weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and nuclear weapons. The first of China’s nuclear weapons tests took place in 1964, and its first hydrogen bomb test occurred in 1967. Tests continued until 1996, when China signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). China has acceded to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) in 1984 and ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 1997.
The number of nuclear warheads in China’s arsenal is a state secret and is therefore unknown. There are varying estimates of the size of China’s arsenal. China is estimated by the Federation of American Scientists to have an arsenal of about 260 total warheads as of 2015, which would make it the second smallest nuclear arsenal amongst the five nuclear weapon states acknowledged by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; in terms of warheads, they are ranked 3rd in megatonnage. According to some estimates, the country could “more than double” the “number of warheads on missiles that could threaten the United States by the mid-2020s”.
Early in 2011, China published a defense white paper, which repeated its nuclear policies of maintaining a minimum deterrent with a no-first-use pledge. Yet China has yet to define what it means by a “minimum deterrent posture”. This, together with the fact that “it is deploying four new nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, invites concern as to the scale and intention of China’s nuclear upgrade”.
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It is known that the USA does not export the F-22, then why does Russia allow another country access to the latest technologies?
I think the first reason is that India poses no threat to Russia. Second, this aircraft’s design is still far from the desired level. The T-50 has on-board equipment but a lot has still to be created, for example, a digital data bus similar to the American 1553B. Russia lags behind in this area but France can share a similar technology with India if the Rafale fighter wins the tender.
So, India can consolidate the French and Russian military technologies in the new fighter. India has a special way of military thinking – it wants to get ready-made products not bothering to develop new ones.
India possesses weapons of mass destruction in the form of nuclear weapons and, in the past, chemical weapons. Though India has not made any official statements about the size of its nuclear arsenal, recent estimates suggest that India has 110 nuclear weaponsconsistent with earlier estimates that it had produced enough weapons-grade plutonium for up to 75–110 nuclear weapons. In 1999 India was estimated to have 800 kg of separated reactor-grade plutonium, with a total amount of 8300 kg of civilian plutonium, enough for approximately 1,000 nuclear weapons. India is not a signatory to the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which it argues entrenches the status quo of the existing nuclear weapons states whilst preventing general nuclear disarmament.
India has a well-developed biotechnology infrastructure that includes numerous pharmaceutical production facilities and bio-containment laboratories (including BSL-3 and BSL-4) for working with lethal pathogens. It also has highly qualified scientists with expertise in infectious diseases. Some of India’s facilities are being used to support research and development for biological weapons (BW) defence purposes. India has ratified the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and pledges to abide by its obligations. There is no clear evidence, circumstantial or otherwise, that directly points toward an offensive BW program. India does possess the scientific capability and infrastructure to launch an offensive BW program, but has chosen not to do so. In terms of delivery, India also possesses the capability to produce aerosols and has numerous potential delivery systems ranging from crop dusters to sophisticated ballistic missiles.
Then why can’t Russia sell these fighters to India? Why do they need this joint development?
In fact, the T-50 is still under development. Russia showed the fighter at the MAKS 2011 air show. It was clear that the aircraft’s design is “rough” with a lot of seams and joints. India’s participation can cover a significant share of funding for this project. Currently, India has to make the choice between the two European fighters – Typhoon or Rafale – to buy 126 fighters for the Air Force. Given the difficult economic situation in Europe, India can succeed in “extorting” technologies. For example, these aircrafts have very good avionics and India can become a “consolidator” of European and Russian technologies in the FGFA project.