Washington, Aug 17 (IANS) China is actively developing its fleet of long-range bombers and “likely” training its pilots for missions targeting the US, according to a new Pentagon report.
“Over the last three years, the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) has rapidly expanded its overwater bomber operating areas, gaining experience in critical maritime regions and likely training for strikes against US and allied targets,” CNN quoted the report as saying on Thursday.
The report, which is mandated by Congress, details Chinese military developments over the previous year.
It also says that China is pursuing a nuclear capability on its long-range bombers, saying the Chinese air force “has been re-assigned a nuclear mission”.
“The deployment and integration of nuclear capable bombers would, for the first time, provide China with a nuclear ‘triad’ of delivery systems dispersed across land, sea, and air,” the report said.
It says that in addition to the bombers Beining already operates, “China is developing a stealthy, long-range strategic bomber with a nuclear delivery capability that could be operational within the next 10 years”.
China is deploying “increasingly advance military capabilities intended to coerce Taiwan” in a bid to prevent self-governing Taiwan from declaring independence, CNN reported quoting the report as saying.
The document notes that China has established its first overseas base in Djibouti and that it “will seek to establish additional military bases in countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests, such as Pakistan, and in which there is a precedent for hosting foreign militaries”.
China continues to develop counterspace capabilities, “including kinetic-kill missiles,ground-based lasers and orbiting space robots” and also working “to expand space surveillance capabilities that can monitor objects across the globe and in space and enable counterspace actions”, the report added.