China Preparing for Drone Warfare | Washington Free Beacon http://freebeacon.com/national-security/china-preparing-for-drone-warfare/ The Chinese military, once a backward, ill-equipped force, is rapidly becoming a very sophisticated high-technology military organization that is focused on developing asymmetric warfare capabilities that will allow it to defeat the United States or other advanced militaries in a future conflict. The new capabilities include anti-satellite weapons, including a high-earth orbit missile capable of hitting strategic satellites as high as 22,000 miles in space, and cyber warfare capabilities. But the major weapons systems that receive the most attention in Chinese defense spending, estimated by the Pentagon to be more than $175 billion annually, are missiles. China’s Second Artillery Corps, as its nuclear and conventional missile service is called, is building several new classes and upgrades of offensive missiles, including hypersonic vehicles. More than 1,200 short-range missiles are now deployed within range of Taiwan, with which China has vowed to reunite, with force if necessary, since the island broke away at the end of the 1940s civil war against the Communists. “China is increasing the lethality of its conventional missile force by fielding a new ballistic missile, the CSS-11 (DF-16), which possesses a range of 800-1,000 km [500 to 620 miles],” the report said. “The CSS-11, coupled with the already deployed conventional variant of the CSS-5 (DF-21) medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM), will improve China’s ability to strike not only Taiwan, but other regional targets.” Additionally, deployment of another new weapon, the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile, continued last year. The missile has a maneuverable warhead and can attack ships at ranges of up to 930 miles in the western Pacific Ocean. Numerous long-range precision-strike cruise missiles also are deployed or nearing deployment. Its 50 to 60 long-range missiles include multi-warhead variants, and three road-mobile ICBMs also are deployed or in development. “A new generation of mobile missiles, with warheads consisting of MIRVs and penetration aids, are intended to ensure the viability of China’s strategic deterrent in the face of continued advances in U.S. and, to a lesser extent, Russian strategic [intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance] ISR, precision strike, and missile defense capabilities,” the report said. China asserts its policy on nuclear war is not to be the first to use nuclear arms in a conflict, but the report said there is “ambiguity” about whether or not China would be the first to fire nuclear missiles. The military, unlike most other nations’ armed forces, remains an arm of the ruling Communist Party and its top priority is not to defend the nation but preserve the power of the party, the report said. Four ballistic missile submarines, known as the Jin-class, have been deployed and another is under construction. The submarines will carry JL-2 missiles and their first patrols are expected this year. The People’s Liberation Army is also developing military “information operations” for a future conflict that will involve cyber attacks to create an “information blockade using both military and non-military attacks against space satellites.” “China’s investments in advanced EW systems, counterspace weapons, and cyberspace operations—combined with more traditional forms of control historically associated with the PLA and CPC systems, such as propaganda and denial through opacity—reflect the emphasis and priority China’s leaders place on building capability for information advantage,” the report said.