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Open Access Publications from the University of California

China’s Evolving Space and Missile Industry


The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is improving its ability to research, develop, and field innovative military capabilities and advanced weapon systems. Perhaps more than other sectors of its defense industrial complex, the Chinese space and missile industry is the most capable of absorbing and diffusing advanced technology for the purposes of research, development, manufacturing, and maintenance of advanced weapon and space systems. International cooperation and expanded collaboration between the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), defense industry, and civilian universities has the potential to create synergies that could result in significant advances in key areas of defense technology. Organizational changes within the space and missile industry are significant and also could permit rapid advances. More effective and efficient defense industrial management could allow China to emerge as a technological competitor of the United States in certain niche areas, such as long-range precision strike capabilities.

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