Yesterday afternoon at the Pentagon, "senior defense officials" unveiled the latest China Military Power report, now called by the much snappier name "Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China" report.
The officials (who spoke on background), said there are "no surprises" in the report, yet acknowledged the Chinese are continuing to build up their arsenal. Here's a run down of some of the report details:
"China's long-term, comprehensive transformation of its military forces is improving its capacity for force projection and anti-access and area-denial," says the report, calling China's the "most active land-based ballistic and cruise missile program in the world."
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) is amassing cruise missiles, upgrading the lethality of its short-range ballistic missiles and developing an anti-ship ballistic missile with a targeted range exceeding 900 miles.
The country is also modernizing its nuclear forces and "may also be developing a new road-mobile ICBM, possibly capable of carrying multiple independently targeted re-entry vehicles."
China's naval forces include about 75 principal combatants, more than 60 submarines, 55 medium and large amphibious ships and roughly 85 missile-equipped patrol craft. A Navy base on Hainan Island is nearly complete and will accommodate a mix of attack and ballistic missile submarines and advanced surface combatants.
Production continues on the JIN-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) and the country may field as many as five new ones.
The Air Force is upgrading its B-6 bomber fleet (adapted from the Russian Tu-16) and expanding its inventory of long-range, advanced SAM systems, and now possesses one of the largest such forces in the world, according to the report.
The PLA has 1.25 million troops, and is upgrading its ground force units with modern tanks, armored personnel carriers and artillery.