(Photo: Global Times)
The year 2019 has been a year of harvest for China's military equipment, as the country revealed and showcased a massive selection of the latest, advanced and powerful weapons that operates on land, sea and in the air.
These displays of China's new weapons showed transparency in the country's military development, Chinese experts said on Sunday, and sent a message to the world that China was determined to safeguard sovereignty and peace.
China will not be invaded and robbed of the fruits of development and countless lives like a hundred years ago, but China will also not use them to seek hegemony, the experts said.
China launched the country's sixth Type 055 10,000 ton-class destroyer and the 23rd Type 052D destroyer in Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning Province on Friday, news portal wenweipo.com reported on Friday, which analysts said was a high note to mark the end of 2019.
In retrospect, China's first Type 055 Nanchang made its debut at the fleet review in celebration of the founding anniversary of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in April.
The Type 055 destroyer has high firepower with 112 vertical launch missile cells.
Experts said the ship was one of the world's largest and most powerful destroyers and capable of leading a high sea fleet or becoming the "pillar in an aircraft carrier battle group."
Launched September 25 from Shanghai, China's first amphibious assault ship Type
075 is comparable to the US Wasp-class amphibious assault ship and fills a blank in China's large warships development, experts said.
Thanks to its large displacement and flight deck, the Type 075 can carry more helicopters and amphibious assault vehicles farther, making it an important asset for the Marines.
China's second aircraft carrier entered naval service on December 17 in Sanya, South China's Hainan Province, making China one of a few countries with two or more carriers.
The Shandong is expected to be based at the doorstep of the South China Sea and expand China's tactical and strategic options in carrier operations, analysts said.
China's Air Force received a new strategic bomber, the H-6N, which debuted at the National Day military parade on October 1.
The bomber gained an in-flight fuel-receiving probe compared to its predecessor H-6K, allowing it to conduct aerial refueling, significantly extending its operational range, according to experts.
The WZ-8 high-altitude, high-speed reconnaissance drone and GJ-11 stealth attack drone also made their first public appearances at the National Day parade. Both drones are believed to be only of their kind in the world to be in active service and boast advanced designs that can gather information and lead to surprise attacks without enemies noticing.
The long-expected domestically developed utility helicopter Z-20 also entered service.
Experts said it can adapt to different weather and terrains including plateaus, and can be used in many missions including personnel and cargo transport, search and rescue, reconnaissance and anti-submarine.
The Army Type 15 light tank debuted at the National Day parade. Together with the Type 99 main battle tank and other armored vehicles, China can launch armored assaults on all terrains including water-dense, muddy, rugged and high altitude.
At the National Day parade, China revealed its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile: the DF-41, a weapon that can carry multiple independently targetable nuclear warheads capable of hitting anywhere on Earth, with reports saying it was the world's longest range mobile missile.
One surprise at the parade was the DF-17 conventional, short- to medium-range missile.
Experts said it was a hypersonic boost-glide weapon with a high defense penetration capability, making it extremely difficult to intercept for any air defense system.
The Global Times Chinese edition held a poll Tuesday and invited internet users to choose favorite new Chinese weapons in 2019.
The Shandong aircraft carrier topped the list with more than 21,000 votes, or 11 percent, as of press time, followed by the DF-41 with 10 percent and DF-17 with 9 percent.
Commenting on China's weapon development in 2019, Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian told the Global Times at a routine press conference on Thursday that "in recent years, China independently and innovatively developed its own weapon system and promoted the modernization of its equipment system. By far, China has built a modernized equipment system with full functions and elements."
Naval expert Li Jie told the Global Times the concentrated introduction of Chinese weapons in 2019 registered the global emergence of China's arms industry.
From import and copying in the past to domestic development and innovation at present, China can now fully independently and systematically develop all kinds of weapons and equipment, Li said.
Through world-class talent and technologies, "no one in the world can stop China from developing top-tier weapons anymore," he said.
Air defense expert Fu Qianshao told the Global Times that China's basic science and technology industries have been growing in the past 70 years, laying the foundation for today's explosive growth in the arms industry.
China's development of weaponry and equipment did not target any country or region nor pose a threat to other countries and regions, Wu said.
All arms efforts aimed at safeguarding China's sovereignty, security and development interests and contributing to world peace, stability and prosperity, Wu asserted.
China suffered more than 470 invasions by foreign powers from the sea alone between 1840 and 1949, and China must have a strong armed forces to accomplish the mission of never letting this happen again, Fu said.
"Only with advanced weapons can China deter wars," Fu said.
More to come
Military experts said 2019 will not be the end of China's military equipment development. More weapons are expected in 2020 and beyond.
Military enthusiasts said they hoped to see more warships in 2020, including more destroyers, the third aircraft carrier, and the second Type 075.
The 2020 Airshow China in November might also reveal more aerospace equipment., they said.
Li said China still has to catch up in many fields like aero engines, large strategic bombers and more advanced aircraft carriers.
While the third, more advanced aircraft carrier is reportedly under construction in Shanghai, information remains limited on China's H-20 stealth bomber and domestically developed WS-15 and WS-20 engines for fighter jets and transport aircraft.
Fu said China was also expected to develop an aircraft carrier-based stealth fighter jet to replace the current J-15.