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  • The Improvement of the PLA’s Close Air Support Capability

    In August 2020 the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) indicated that some of its units had made technological and procedural advancements in its capability to provide close air support (CAS). The PLA has been working to develop the systems and procedures to conduct CAS safely and effectively for more than a decade. While these and other recent
  • PLA's Science of Campaigns

         The “In Their Own Words” series is dedicated to translations of Chinese documents in order to help non-Mandarin speaking audiences access and understand Chinese thinking. CASI would like to thank all of those involved in this effort, especially the teams from our "big brother"/ 大哥 at the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI), Project
  • Air-to-Air Missiles: Capabilities and Developments In China

    “Good enough”, this is how I often describe China’s short-term ambitions. They don’t need to have a world-class / global-leader military, not yet; what they need is something that is ‘good enough’. This has implications for how China pursues its program of military modernization and its goal to increase its comprehensive national power. They don’t
  • In Their Own Words

    CASI has started a new project we are calling "In Their Own Words".  The CCP and the PLA think of Mandarin characters as their first cipher, their first line of defense, in keeping their thoughts and ideas concealed from the west.  CASI is helping English speaking audiences in accessing these documents.  With a mix of expert human inputs and
  • First PLA Rocket Force CJ-100 Unit Likely Identified

    There is a limited body of evidence that strongly suggests the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF) is equipping its 656th Brigade with the CJ-100 cruise missile (alternatively known as the DF-100). This assessment is based on an image of a probable CJ-100 transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) located at the 656th Brigade’s home garrison in
  • Command of the Air - the view of the PLAAF

         Although the 2004 white paper is the first of the PRC’s defense white papers to note what it calls “command of the air,” identified in the Chinese version as  zhikongquan (制空权), the concept for the PLAAF dates back to the 1960s.  Although the 2015 Defense White Paper, which focused on PLA strategy, did not have a single entry, the Academy of
  • China’s Navy Begins Fielding Newly Manufactured J-15 Carrier-Capable Fighters

    The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has likely received a new batch of J-15 carrier-based fighters. Recent video footage released on “Military Express” (军事快播) shows a J-15 with a tail number of “31” and another with either “33” or “35”. All previously known J-15 tail numbers fell within the “10” or “20” series, suggesting aircraft featuring a
  • China's Space Narrative

         Both China and the United States have created separate parts of their military dedicated to space. Commercial, scientific, and military endeavors in space are all intimately linked, and one must understand how they are viewed to better understand how a nation might proceed in one or all of those fields. In accordance with our charter to
  • CASI Conference-2020 PRC Space Activities

    China Aerospace Studies Institute 2020 Conference on Space activities in the People's Republic of China

  • A Case Study Of The PRC's Hypersonic Systems Development

         Great Power Competition necessitates understanding with whom one is competing. It also requires understanding the breadth and depth that competition and how your competitor is progressing. Hypersonic systems are an emerging area of military technology with potentially transformative effects. Although different types of hypersonic systems have
  • Chinese Views of All-Domain Operations

    Joint All-Domain Operations (JADO), the joint operational concept that has evolved from Multi-Domain Battle (MDB) and then Multi-Domain Operations (MDO), is intended to cope with the military capabilities of Russia and China. Therefore, how Russia’s and China’s defense establishments perceive JADO is important for two reasons. First, their
  • China’s Air Force Wraps Up Large Force Exercise- Likely “Red Sword 2020”

    Starting in June 2020, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) appears to have held a large force exercise in and around the Gobi Desert area in northwest China. This exercise seems involved multiple branches of the PLAAF, including PLAAF aviation, mobile radar, and surface-to-air missile (SAM) units. Based on our understanding of
  • In for the ‘Soft’ Kill? The People’s Liberation Army’s Discussion of U.S. Offensive Space Capabilities

    The U.S. “Defense Space Strategy” summary, released 17 June 2020, outlines the U.S. objective of space superiority and identifies space as “a distinct warfighting domain.”1 On 9 March 2020, the “first offensive weapon system in the United States Space Force (USSF), the Counter Communications System Block 10.2 (CCS B10.2), achieved Initial
  • China’s Air Force Preparing for Contingencies in the Skies Over Ladakh

         Although current clashes along the Line of Actual Control between India and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) are contained to hand-to-hand fighting as of mid-June 2020, the death of several dozen soldiers on 15 June reveals the potential for the skirmish to escalate in scale. As Indian and PRC soldiers continue to clash along the border,
  • China Achieves Full Global Satellite Coverage

    On 23 June 2020, China launched the final satellite from its Xichang Satellite Launch Center (XSLC) to be part of the BeiDou-3 constellation. The liftoff took place at 09:43 local time using a Long March-3 rocket as the launch vehicle. This marks the final piece in China’s first true Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). For over 60 years,
  • China's Military-Civil Fusion Strategy

    Military-Civil Fusion (MCF), this term seems like a counterpart to the American term civil-military integration (CMI), but in reality it is far deeper and more complex. Whereas, according to the U.S. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, America’s CMI is “cooperation between government and commercial facilities in research and development (R&D), manufacturing, and/or maintenance operations”, China’s Military-Civil Fusion strategy is a state-led, state-directed program and plan 
    to leverage all levers of state and commercial power to strengthen and support the armed wing of the Communist Party of China, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

    China’s Military-Civil Fusion program is not new. Every leader since Mao Zedong has had a program to compel the “commercial” and “civil” parts of Chinese society to support the PLA. It has gone by different terms, Military-Civil Integration, Military-Civil Fused Development, etc. General Secretary Xi Jinping has elevated the concept to Military-Civil Fusion. But is all cases, it is the “Military” that comes first. Whereas in the United States there is a partnership for spin-off and spin-on technologies, with a goal of assisting commercial companies as well as the military, this is simply a happy coincidence when, and if, it happens in China.

    Since Xi Jinping’s assumption of power, the role of the military, and the importance of MCF have markedly increased. General Secretary Xi has clearly switched the emphasis from Deng Xiaoping’s famous statement. While most remember the first part of Deng’s saying, “韬光养晦”, which is generally translated to “bide your time, and hide your capabilities”, most Americans, and westerners, seem to forget there was more in his dictum. The full quote is: “冷静观察, 稳住阵脚, 沉着应付, 韬光养晦, 善于守拙, 决不当头, 有所作为”  It is the last four characters that now seem to have the emphasis, loosely translated- and achieve some goals/ get something done. This explains China’s growing assertiveness and emphasis on the final piece of Deng Xiaoping’s “Four Modernizations”, the military.

    To date, most surveys and analysis of MCF have focused on concrete examples, of how it is or is not working. These are important aspects to understand and study. However, what this report does is focus on how Military- Civil Fusion fits in to the CCP’s and the PRC’s overall national strategy; how it fits in with the other pieces which the CCP uses to guide the development path of the PRC; and rather than “looking down” to focus on the implementation of the program, but rather to “look up” to the strategies and policies that form the connective tissues within the greater system.

    This report is intended for both policy makers and practitioners, to help them better understand how MCF is intrinsically linked to the other national strategic-level programs in China, and help them better compete in the long-term by understanding the nature of the system with which we are competing.

    Dr. Brendan S. Mulvaney
    Director, China Aerospace Studies Institute

  • "Private" Chinese Aerospace Defense Companies

         As the United States continues it shift away from the Post 9-11 era toward the era of Great Power Strategic Competition, it is important to understand with whom we are competing and the manner in which they are competing with us. Too often, we view things only though our own ‘lens’ and forget to look at how our competitors see the world and organize within it.

  • The People’s Liberation Army’s Academic Institutions

    The basis for any military is education and training. Without this foundation, we would just be armed groups of men, marauding our local areas. Education and training allow tactics, techniques, and procedures to be transmitted as lessons learned from one generation to the next. These eventually form the basis for the doctrine and strategy that guides modern militaries. To this end, CASI was tasked with investigating the academic system of the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Liberation Army.

    The PLA’s academic system has undergone a number of transformations through its history, not least of which occurred as a result of the 2015/16 PLA reforms. Each reform reveals how the PLA and the Communist Party view the world at the time, and where they need to place emphasis on educating their armed wing. This round of reforms is no different. 

  • China's Aeroengine Industry

         As we move further into the era of 21st century great power competition, it is important to understand with whom we are competing. This report is our second in a series of studies by the China Aerospace Studies Institute that seeks to lay the foundation for better understanding the Aerospace Sector of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).   
  • New Curriculum Improves Combat Readiness of Navy’s Rotary-Wing Units

    New Curriculum Improves Combat Readiness of Navy’s Rotary-Wing Units A cadet at the Naval Aviation University conducts a "solo" ship landing. Image Source: http://www.mod.gov.cn/topnews/2020-04/12/content_4863493.htmThroughout the week of April 12-18, 2020 the official news media of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) reported that four
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