Aided by Russia, China Expands A2/AD Range

Plus, Russia’s Navy is growing at an unprecedented rate. Thursday defense links.

Some Thursday defense links:

China is expanding the range of its anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) strategy with Russian assistance, Defense News reports. According to the piece, China’s air defense range will expand its air defense range of 250 kilometers to 400 kms by acquiring S-400 surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems and Sukhoi Su-35S multirole fighter jets from Russia.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Navy will receive an unprecedented 36 warships over the course of 2013, the Navy’s Deputy Commander-in-Chief Vice Admiral Alexander Fedotenkov told reporters this week.

“This year, 36 combat ships, fast attack crafts and support vessels will join the Russian Navy. This has never happened before,” Fedotenkov said.

According to Bloomberg News, a Pentagon Intelligence report has concluded that China has the “most active and diverse ballistic missile program” in the world, including a growing arsenal of nuclear-capable missiles that can reach the United States.

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Speaking of the U.S., on Wednesday the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) made its first arrested landing on an aircraft carrier… twice. The event marks a huge milestone as the U.S. Navy tries to integrate its manned and unmanned operations.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who was on hand for the event, told reporters afterwards: “It isn’t very often you get a glimpse of the future. Today, those of us aboard USS George H.W. Bush got that chance as we witnessed the X-47B make its first ever arrested landing aboard an aircraft carrier. The operational unmanned aircraft soon to be developed have the opportunity to radically change the way presence and combat power are delivered from our aircraft carriers.”

South Korea’s Navy Chief, Adm. Choi Yun, is visiting China this week in a sign of the growing ties between the militaries of those two countries. Last month, for instance, the ROK chairman of the joint chiefs of staff visited China.

Also out of Seoul, the country has suspended bidding on its US$7.31 billion next-generation jet program after all three competitors failed to submit bids meeting South Korea’s stated price requirements.

Over at The Japan Times, Michael Richardson wonders if the Asia-Pacific region can avoid a nuclear arms race.