China is a missile powerhouse that intends to beat the United States in a future conflict.

In the past two years, much attention has been paid to the development of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLAN) Navy.

It has recently undergone extensive upgrading and is currently the largest naval force on the planet. Last summer, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) debuted its third aircraft carrier. China will be able to show its strength in the Indo-Pacific and beyond as a result.

Likewise, much speculation has been about China’s efforts to develop a fifth-generation fighter jet and a medium- and long-range stealth bomber. In a very short time, Beijing has finally taken the leap to become a great world power.

Chinese missiles matter

However, China’s efforts to increase its missile capabilities are largely dwarfed by ships and planes. The fact that Beijing appears to be engaged in many projects in a way that seemed unthinkable just a decade ago does not mean that these efforts have been ignored.

As a study by RAND Corp. pointed out, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has grown from a large but outdated force to a capable and modern army. What should worry Washington is how quickly China is closing the gap, as this poses a genuine threat of Beijing surpassing the United States.

At full speed

A report from the US Department of Defense (DoD) in 2020 expressed concern over the rapid growth of China’s land-based conventional missile capabilities over the preceding two decades. Short-range and moderately accurate were the norm for China’s missile forces in the early 2000s.

In the years since, however, China has developed the world’s “largest and most diverse” ground-launched cruise and ballistic missile arsenal, deploying multiple new missile systems in recent years. Many of those missiles can carry conventional and nuclear payloads.

The Success of red capitalism

China has been able to finance these multiple projects thanks, in large part, to the boom in its economy. Because of this meteoric rise, defense funds have expanded dramatically, creating numerous new military systems, including cruise and ballistic missiles.

Despite fast growth, China’s missile forces remain vastly inferior to those of the United States. Beijing has fewer nuclear-armed and conventionally-armed missiles than Washington, DC.

Nonetheless, Chinese medium- and intermediate-range ground-based ballistic missiles have outperformed their American counterparts.

The United States and the Soviet Union signed the Treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Weapons after the Cold War, making this form of weapon illegal. According to the 1987 Missile Treaty, the United States and Russia were prohibited from developing these types of missiles.

hypersonic missiles

Another area in which the United States has already lagged behind China – as has Russia – is the development of hypersonic missiles. Last August, China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic vehicle that could circle the globe in low orbit.

Although it missed its target by about two dozen miles, experts warned that China had made astonishing progress in the field of hypersonic weapons and, at this point, its efforts are much further along than the United States thought.

China is a missile powerhouse that intends to beat the United States in a future conflict.

New missile silos

Newly published satellite imagery shows China constructing a second field of nuclear missile silos, which is very worrisome. There are already 120 missile silos being constructed in the area surrounding Yumen, Gansu province. The second missile silo field can be found in eastern Xinjiang, close to the prefectural capital of Hami, about 380 kilometers north-northwest of the Yumen field.

The silos are reportedly for the DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile, which is believed to be capable of carrying several nuclear warheads, perhaps as many as ten. The missiles can travel as far as 7,000 kilometers, making them capable of striking targets in the United States.

Researchers in the United States have cautioned that China is increasing its nuclear capability in order to keep a deterrent that can withstand a first strike from the United States and even retaliate in large enough numbers to overwhelm American missile defenses.