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China’s 3rd-generation missiles shifts sights to new targets

China’s 3rd-generation surface- to-air missile system is combat-ready as the PLA prepares for a major upgrade in the range of missiles to counter deployment of sophisticated US THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea which Beijing views as a major security threat.  The new surface-to-air missile system will boost the attack ability of the military, a Chinese air force official said.

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force will use the home-developed, ground-based air defence and anti-missile system, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted Air Force spokesman Shen Jinke as saying.  “The system can cover from short-to long range and strike low- to high altitude targets,” Shen said.

“Air defence and anti-missile systems are critical parts of the air force’s strategic capability,” Shen said.

“The system consists of new missiles and launching systems. The air force is transforming from territorial air defence to being capable of both attack and defence,” he said.

“We will fully upgrade our strategic early warning, air strike, anti-aircraft and anti-missile, information countermeasure, air landing, strategic aerial delivery and comprehensive support,” he said.

His remarks follow China’s repeated protests against South Korea’s decision to deploy a US-developed anti-missile system, which Beijing says poses a serious threat to the nation’s security.

South Korea says the shield is needed to protect against North Korea’s pro-vocative nuclear weapons programme.

The Chinese defence official said the American Terminal High Altitude Area Defence, (THAAD) anti-missile system missile battery has a radar detection range of 1,000-2,000km and minimal firing range of 40km.  Given the geographical environment on the Korean Peninsula, the US and ROK’s claim that the deployment is to “deal with nuclear threat from DPRK” without “targeting any third country” is too lame and hypocritical, the Chinese Defence Ministry said elaborating on why China opposed to the deployment of the THAAD missile systems.  Earlier this month, Chinese Aero space officials said China’s next-generation cruise missiles will be developed based on a modular design, allowing them to be tailor-made for specific combat situations with high level of artificial intelligence.

“We plan to adopt a ‘plug and play’ approach in the development of new cruise missiles, which will enable our military commanders to tailor-make missiles in accordance with combat conditions and their specific requirements” Wang Chan-gqing, director of the General Design Department of the Third Academy of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp said.

“Moreover, our future cruise missiles will have a very high level of artificial intelligence and automation,” he said.

“They will allow commanders to control them in a real-time manner, or to use a fire-and-forget mode, or even to add more tasks to in-flight missiles,” he added. PTI

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