China's View of Its Military Aerospace Goals and Requirements in Relation to the United States
Nov. 23, 2018
As China develops its armed forces, what role does competition with the United States play in shaping the military aerospace capabilities development of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)?
The U.S. Air Force (USAF) vision statement lays out a goal of “global vigilance, global reach, and global power,” a set of ambitions that PLA authors appear to be mimicking with their “bright eyes, strong fists, and long arms” slogan for the PLA Air Force (PLAAF).
Similarly, Chinese authors treat the quest for the capacity to “simultaneously be able
to conduct offensive and defensive integrated air and space operations” in ways that appear to mimic the thinking of the U.S. armed forces on military aerospace.
This study examines how the PLA, in seeking to accomplish the Chinese Communist Party’s missions, strives to match or exceed the capabilities of the United States in military aerospace.
It also explores how, in benchmarking its ambitions against the U.S. military, the PLA approaches the question of whether to copy from a leading foreign aerospace power or to develop a new and innovative approach to accomplishing a mission or fielding a capability.
The study reviews the drivers for Chinese military aerospace development and identifies instances when China has copied or innovated in military aerospace development over the past two decades while also noting those areas where China has chosen not to compete.
The research reported here was commissioned by the USAF and conducted within the Strategy and Doctrine Program of RAND Project AIR FORCE as part of a fiscal year 2017 project focused on the growing reach of Chinese aerospace capabilities.
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