Pentagon Reports on China’s Fighter Fleet

( – Each year, the Department of Defense (DoD) compiles a report for Congress detailing the current state and progress of China’s national, economic, and military strategy. The information is essential to help the government stay on top of the People’s Liberation Army’s current capabilities, activities, and where it may be headed. Recently, the DoD submitted its annual report to Congress for review.

On October 18, a senior defense official from the department provided a brief about the China Military Power Report, covering 2022 and some early 2023 information. The DoD rep started off by saying the US National Security Strategy recognized that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is America’s only viable “competitor with the intent and…capability to reshape the international order.” The official noted the report showed China’s increasing military capabilities, stating it was presenting a challenge for the DoD.

As such, the department’s report stated the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and PLAN Aviation increased the number of fourth-generation aircraft fighters by 600. The Chinese Air Force has also dipped its toe into fifth-generation fighters, operationally fielding its J-20 stealth fighter in 2021 and preparing for upgrades. The DoD predicts the Chinese military will be a major fourth-gen force within several years.

Other key takeaways from the report included the PRC’s intention to expand its power and strengthen the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) nuclear, space, and counter-space capabilities. The fact sheet from the report also listed some of the PLA’s capabilities observed throughout 2022 into 2023, including developing the means to strengthen its Army, exploring intercontinental-range missile systems that could reach the US, and developing its military capabilities in space and cyberspace. The DoD also estimated the PRC could have more than 1,000 operational nuclear warheads by the end of the decade.

A few other noteworthy pieces of information included the assessment that China increased its pressure against Taiwan throughout the year and strengthened its ties to Russia by supporting its war efforts against Ukraine.

~Here’s to Our Liberty!

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