A New Direction for China's Defense Industry

A New Direction for China's Defense Industry

Evan S. Medeiros
Roger Cliff
Keith Crane
James C. Mulvenon
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 330
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/mg334af
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  • Book Info
    A New Direction for China's Defense Industry
    Book Description:

    Since the early 1980s, a prominent and consistent conclusion drawn from research on China's defense-industrial complex has been that China's defense-production capabilities are rife with weaknesses and limitations. This study argues for an alternative approach: From the vantage point of 2005, it is time to shift the focus of current research to the gradual improvements in and the future potential of China's defense-industrial complex. The study found that China's defense sectors are designing and producing a wide range of increasingly advanced weapons that, in the short term, are relevant to a possible conflict over Taiwan but also to China's long-term military presence in Asia. Part of a larger RAND Project AIR FORCE study on Chinese military modernization, this study examines the current and future capabilities of China's defense industry. The goals of this study are to 1.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4079-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-vi)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Figures
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xv-xxiv)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-50)

    Since the early 1980s, a prominent and consistent conclusion of Western research on China’s defense-industrial complex has been that China’s defense R&D and production capabilities are rife with weaknesses and limitations.¹ In this study, we found that China’s defense sectors are producing a wide range of increasingly advanced weapons that, in the short term, are relevant to a possible conflict over Taiwan but also to China’s long-term military presence in Asia.² This core finding argues for an alternative approach: From the vantage point of 2005, it is time to shift the focus of research to the gradual improvements in and...

  9. CHAPTER TWO China’s Missile Industry
    (pp. 51-108)

    Analyzing China’s missile industry is critical to evaluating the changing nature of China’s defense-industrial capabilities as well as the PLA’s overall prospects for modernization. Ballistic and cruise missiles have assumed a central role in Chinese military doctrine and operational planning in the past decade. The Chinese military increasingly relies on all types of missiles for strategic deterrence, coercion, and warfighting. In addition, China’s missile industry has always been considered a leading sector in the defense industry, and its research and production capabilities serve as an important benchmark for the defense industry as a whole. To examine the missile sector’s capabilities...

  10. CHAPTER THREE China’s Shipbuilding Industry
    (pp. 109-154)

    China’s shipbuilding industry (SBI) is a large, geographically dispersed, and increasingly modern sector that sits at the nexus of China’s burgeoning civilian economy and its defense-industrial complex. The SBI is responsible for supplying China’s navy with warships, submarines, and related combatants as China strives to develop a more advanced naval force. In contrast to some of the moribund and perennially troubled parts of China’s defense-industrial establishment, the SBI is unique in many ways. In the early 1980s, as China was first exploring defense conversion, the SBI’s relatively rapid diversification into commercial shipbuilding, especially into international sales, and its sustained access...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR China’s Military-Aviation Industry
    (pp. 155-204)

    China’s military-aviation industry is in the midst of a transformation that appears to be resulting, finally, in significant improvements in military-aviation production capabilities. Although some manufacturers continue to produce airframes and engines that are obsolete by Western standards, many aviation firms are also beginning to produce military systems that are comparable to aircraft in service with the world’s advanced militaries. China’s aviation sector is finally realizing the fruits of a decade of civilian production, license-production of military platforms, and foreign assistance.

    Aviation industry leaders are making efforts to improve further the operations of the aviation sector by making individual enterprises...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE “The Digital Triangle”: A New Defense-Industrial Paradigm?
    (pp. 205-252)

    The Chinese military is in the midst of a C⁴ISR (command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence) revolution, characterized by the wholesale shift to digital, secure communications via fiber-optic cable, satellite, microwave, and encrypted high-frequency radio.

    The pace and depth of these advances cannot be explained by traditional Chinese defense-industrial reforms. Instead, they originate in a paradigm shift that could be called the “digital triangle,” the three vertices of which are (1) China’s booming commercial information-technology companies, (2) the state R&D institute and funding infrastructure, and (3) the military. The links among these three vertices are of long standing, given that...

  13. CHAPTER SIX Conclusions: Future Prospects of China’s Defense Industry
    (pp. 253-260)

    China’s defense industry has made gradual progress in improving the efficiency of its operations and the technological sophistication of its products. As measured by improvements in design and production processes and the quality of defense-enterprise output, defense-industrial reform and modernization are taking hold and appear to have accelerated in the past five years. These trends suggest that certain defense sectors are emerging from the doldrums of two and a half decades of systemic inefficiency, corruption, and neglect. At the same time, the improvements in China’s defense-production capabilities have been decidedly mixed within sectors and uneven across them.

    In examining improvements...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 261-304)