Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Spratly Islands exposed China’s Weakness

China does not have long-range stealth strategic bombers and an aircraft carrier. This is the weakness hindering China to protect its interests in the South China Sea.

Within the sea, there are over 200 identified islands and reefs, most of them within the Spratly Islands. Ancient Chinese regimes had already put the islands into China’s territory several hundred years ago, although the islands were almost 1000 km away from China’s main land-territory. Because this area was found full of resources of oil, gas, and fishing, the confrontations between China and some countries near the islands always could be heard, especially after 1968.

China now has its modified H-6H long-range bombers, JH-7A fighter-bombers, and the battleships which are able to cruise out of its territorial waters. Because China has no heavy stealth bombers or aircraft carriers, China can only use these bombers and warships in the future conflicts in/near its land-territory. If China use them to fight for the islands which are 1000 km down in the South China Sea, the un-stealth H-6H and JH-7A will feel difficult to break through the anti-aircraft heavy defenses set up by the opponents, and more, China’s warships there will not be covered by the fighters which should come from a friendly aircraft carrier near them.

Turning back to see the wars Serbia, Iraq, and Afghanistan launched by the United States since 1990s, we could find the tactics were always: first, the Aircraft Carrier Battle Groups gathered on waters near the battle region. Then, B-2 stealth strategic bombers which took off from the stateside of the United States sneaked through the enemies’ extremely dense anti-aircraft defenses and destroyed opponents’ most important targets. Third, with the fighters covering the Aircraft Carrier Battle Groups in the air, the Aircraft Carrier Battle Groups launched enough cruise missiles to paralyse all of the enemies’ communication and combat systems.

From the combat-style above we know, China still has no ability to launch these modern Blitzkriegs the United States usually did. Before China has its heavy stealth bombers and an aircraft carrier, it has to argue on the table with some countries near the Spratly Islands with patience.