July 09, 2015

China military will become independent of Russian technology by 2025

Robert Farley, assistant professor at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky, said China's dependence on Russian supplies and technology will come to an end in the next 10 years.

Despite the extraordinary steps that China’s defense industry has taken in the last decade, it remains depressingly dependent on Russian technology and Russian suppliers. Chinese weapons need Russian spare parts, and Chinese industry continues to require Russian advice. As of this writing, China continues to strongly consider the possibility of buying advanced Russian equipment off-the-shelf, including Su-35 fighters and advanced surface-to-air missile systems.

In the next decade, we should expect China to shed much of its remaining dependence. Russia itself seems to understand that it can no longer remain ahead of China on the technological frontier, and thus that it can relax its concerns about technology transfer. Chinese engines are improving, and the electronic components that it equips into its weapons increasingly come from China’s dynamic tech sector (abetted by intellectual property stolen from the West) rather than from Russia. The relationship between the Russian and Chinese military-industrial complexes has been long and deeply complicated, punctuated with several political and technological revolutions, but the next decade should see the final emergence of the Chinese military-industrial complex from the Russian shadow, along with the end of Chinese dependence on Russian supply and technology.

China will likely continue to grow its defense spending by 9-10% per year.

China will have cumulative defense spending from 2016-2025 in the range of US$2-3 trillion.
China will likely have 3 locally made aircraft carriers by 2025.
China will likely be producing decent fighter jet engines by 2025.

In the next ten years we probably should expect that China will break into the top tiers of the arms export business, possibly displacing Russia in a number of key technological areas. Chinese land vehicles, small naval vessels, fighters, and submarines have enjoyed considerable recent success in the international arms export market. The sale of these weapons does not necessarily win China close friends--Beijing has no interest in the sort of “generosity” that Moscow displayed in arms transfers during the 1960s and 1970s--but it almost certainly means the development of long-term political and economic connection between the PLA and military organizations around the world. The possible sales of submarines to Thailand or JF-17 fighters to Argentina brings with it the long-term need for Chinese maintenance, training, advising, and upgrade possibilities. Like the United States, Russia, and France, China can leverage those relationships for political, as well as economic, benefit.

SOURCE- National Interest, Defense.gov, IISS (International Institute for Strategic Studies)

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