08 March 2017
China’s cyber capabilities are continuously evolving in parallel with the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) ongoing military reforms and modernization drives. As the PLA invests in the development of comprehensive cyber capabilities, the character of future conflicts in East Asia will increasingly reflect cyber-kinetic strategic interactions.
In a potential conflict with Taiwan, for example, the PLA may put a strategic premium on denying, disrupting, deceiving, or destroying Taiwan’s Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems. This would be followed by the deployment of the PLA’s conventional air wings, precision ballistic missile strikes, and sea power projection platforms – all within the first hours of the conflict.
A key target for the PLA, for example, would be the highly-advanced US-made ultra-high frequency (UHF) early warning radar system located on top of Leshan Mountain near the city of Hsinchu. Activated in February 2013, the radar is reportedly capable of detecting flying objects up to 5,000km away, and provide a six-minute warning in preparation for any surprise missile attack from the Chinese mainland. The radar essentially tracks nearly every sortie of the PLA Air Force flying across China’s opposite coastline.
The Leshan Mountain radar also has capabilities to electronically jam China’s major signal intelligence station located at Dongjing Shan. Moreover, the radar is likely linked with the US Air Force’s Space Command Defense Support Program (DSP) that operates reconnaissance satellites for the US Satellite Early Warning System. The system is reportedly capable of providing comprehensive surveillance of North Korean missile launches.
… Michael Raska is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
GPO / IDSS / Online
Last updated on 10/03/2017