Experts fear that China’s official stance of strategic neutrality may not last long, with the EU finding “reliable evidence” that Xi Jinping is secretly sending weapons to Russia. This comes amidst reports that Beijing has already sent a massive arms shipment of sophisticated anti-aircraft systems to Serbia in a veiled operation. Media and military experts warned that six Chinese Air Force Y-20 transport planes carrying HQ-22 surface-to-air missile systems, touched down at Nikola Tesla Airport, Belgrade, earlier this month.
If China does decide to join the fight, here are five terrifying weapons that Xi could deploy to Putin’s aid.
J-20 Stealth Fighter Plane
The Chengdu J-20, nicknamed the Mighty Dragon, is China’s answer to the F22 and F35, both US-made stealth fighters.
While China’s take on a fifth-generation stealth fighter cannot go completely off the radar, it has some properties that allow it to avoid detection.
The aircraft possesses improved radar, advanced sensors, and better avionics compared to other Chinese fighters, and can fire both short and long-range air-to-air missiles, along with laser-guided bombs, making it a deadly opponent to face in dogfights.
Type 003 Carrier
While not completed yet, the Type 003 is a second-generation Chinese aircraft carrier under construction for the People’s Liberation Army Navy.
It is expected to be far more advanced than the previous two editions that were based on Russian designs and will be the first Chinese vessel to use a CATOBAR system.
It launches and recovers aircraft with a catapult assisted system, something that only the US and France have at the moment.
The aircraft carrier will likely be over 300 metres long and have improved defences that can disrupt incoming missiles.
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DF-17 Hypersonic Boost Glide Missile
The Dong Feng-17 is a medium-range missile system that is equipped with a hypersonic glide vehicle, firing missiles that could reach top speeds of up to MACH 10 while gliding.
The missile system, which is tipped to be the first of its kind in the world, is extrmely maneuvrable and can likely evade both radar and US anti-missile systems like the Patriot and THAAD.
The missiles it launches could one day carry nuclear payloads, and reach targets anywhere between 1,100 and 1,600 miles away.
The DF-41 ICBM
Another of the Dong Feng series, this intercontinental ballistic missile is currently the most powerful missile in Mr Xi’s arsenal.
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The DF 41 can carry up to 10 nuclear missiles that could reach as far as the US, experts note that most of these missiles could even be used to break down enemy missile defences
The weapon is both road-mobile and launchable from nuclear silos.
Anti-aircraft Carrier Missiles
China has two key carrier killers, the DF-21D and DF-26B, which could be used to target enemy aircraft carriers up to 910 nautical miles away.
According to reports, China has placed 200 DF-21 mobile launchers and 200 missiles to defend its seas, with each carrying 600 kg warheads that can strike moving targets.