China’s defense industry has come a long way, but it could still use a little help from its friend.
Times have changed. Russia, China’s exclusive arms supplier for more than twenty years, is now rumored to be interested in Chinese arms. The visitation of a Chinese naval task force to the Black Sea, including a modern Type 054A frigate, has sparked rumors Russia may buy a batch of the frigates to stave off a ship shortfall.
Such a sale, even if it does come off, may turn out to be a fluke of history. For all of China’s extensive efforts to build an all-encompassing domestic arms industry, there are still blind spots in her weapons production capabilities.
Mother Russia’s industry and design bureaus still crank out plenty of weapons China desires. From tanks to submarines, Russia is still a leader in weapons technology… and still the only one that will sell to China.
The sale of Russian weapons to China has always been a win-win for the two countries. China receives some of the newest and most advanced weapons systems in the world, without the cost and hassle of research and development. Russia in turn gets much-needed hard currency. As long as Russia has something to sell, this relationship won’t change any time soon.
Here’s three weapons China should purchase from Russia.
Armata class of heavy combat vehicles
For perhaps the first time in history, China has secure land borders. Large ground forces, backed up by air and naval forces, effectively deter virtually every other state in the world from picking a fight with the People’s Liberation Army.
Ironically, this has meant the PLA — compared to the other armed services — has benefitted the least from Chinese research and development. China’s main battle tank, the Type 99, is still a derivative of the old Soviet T-72 main battle tank, with a design that stretches back to the mid-1980s.
The adoption of the Armata family of heavy combat vehicles would transform the PLA. The T-14 Armata main battle tank is a clean break from the T-72/80/90 series of main battle tanks, using a new, longer hull. Incorporating a 125-millimeter main gun and remotely operated 7.62-millimeter machine gun, the unmanned turret is controlled by a three man crew. Active and passive protection systems, as well as a new modular armor system, incorporates the latest Russian technology.Follow