Russia’s Contribution to China’s Surface Warfare Capabilities

Feeding the Dragon

The provision of advanced Russian military technology has been critical for the development of China’s anti-access/area-denial (A2AD) capability. This study focuses on one aspect of the relationship, namely Russia’s contribution to the PLA Navy’s surface and anti-surface warfare capabilities. Following a discussion of the role of the fleet in China’s A2AD strategy, the author examines in depth the specific warships, anti-ship missile systems, and air defense systems that Russia has been providing. Next, he considers how Russian technology has translated into new military capability for China’s maritime forces. Finally, he offers a projection of the likely future direction of Russian assistance in this area. While China has made enormous progress in developing its indigenous defense production capability, this report makes the case that Russian defense assistance has been, is, and will likely continue to be important for the development of China’s surface warfare capabilities and its A2AD project more broadly.

Paul N. Schwartz