Surface Forces: Chinese Seek Transformation


November9, 2006: China has halted the building of some surface ships, and is instead building more experimental ships. Some of these look like the new American LCS (littoral combat ship), which currently comes in two competing designs. The Chinese apparently believe that, like a century ago (when the modern submarine, battleship and destroyer were developed), warship design is about to go through another transformation. So the Chinese don't want to spend a lot of money on ships that will rapidly become obsolete. Innovation and experimentation goes beyond new ship shapes. Chinese companies have been showing, at trade shows, new designs for combat ship control centers. These use lots of flat panel displays and snazzy graphics. For over a decade, China has been developing military software for use on inexpensive personal computers. The Chinese believe that the rapidly developing consumer electronics industry will be a major contributor of new ideas, and hardware, for the military, and especially the navy.


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