Find a Security Clearance Job!


Military Power of the People's Republic of China

China and Taiwan Forces Data

Taiwan Strait Military Balance, Ground Forces
China Taiwan
Total Taiwan Strait Area Total
Personnel (Active) 1.4 million 400,000 130,000
Group Armies 18 8 3
Infantry Divisions 25 9 0
Infantry Brigades 33 12 13
Armor Divisions/Brigades 9 4 0
Armor Brigades 11 4 5
Artillery Divisions 3 3 0
Artillery Brigades 15 5 3+
Marine Brigades 2 2 2
Tanks 7,000 2,700 1,800
Artillery Pieces 11,000 3,200 3,200
Note: The PLA active ground forces are organized into Group Armies. Infantry, armor, and artillery units are organized into a combination of divisions and brigades deployed throughout the PLA's seven Military Regions (MRs). A significant portion of these assets are deployed in the Taiwan Strait area, specifically the Nanjing, Guangzhou, and Jinan military regions. Figures for the Taiwan Strait area do not include the 15th Airborne Corps and garrison units. In 2004, Taiwan began transforming motorized rifle and armored infantry brigades to mechanized infantry. Taiwan has seven Defense Commands, three of which have Group Armies. Each Army contains an Artillery Command roughly equivalent to a brigade plus.

Figure 8. Taiwan Strait Military Balance, Ground Forces

Major Ground Force Units
Figure 9. Major Ground Force Units

Taiwan Strait Military Balance, Air Forces
China Taiwan
Aircraft Total Within range of Taiwan Total
Fighters 1,550 425 330
Bombers 775 275 0
Transport 450 75 40
Note: The PLAAF and PLA Navy have a total of around 2,325 operational combat aircraft: air defense and multi-role fighters, ground attack aircraft, fighter-bombers, and bombers. An additional 470 older fighters and bombers are assigned to PLA flight academies or R&D. The two air arms also possess approximately 450 transports and over 90 surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft with photographic, surface search, and airborne early warning sensors. The majority of PLAAF and PLA Navy aircraft are based in the eastern part of the country. Currently, more than 700 aircraft could conduct combat operations against Taiwan without refueling.

Figure 10. Taiwan Strait Military Balance, Air Forces

Major Air Force Units
Figure 11. Major Air Force Units

Taiwan Strait Military Balance, Naval Forces
China Taiwan
Total East and South Sea Fleets Total
Destroyers 25 16 4
Frigates 47 22 22
Tank Landing Ships 25 40 12
Medium Landing Ships 25 20 4
Diesel Submarines 53 28 4
Nuclear Submarines 5 0 0
Coastal Patrol (Missile) 41 34 50
Note: The PLA Navy has a large fleet that includes 72 principal combatants, 58 submarines, some 50 medium and heavy amphibious lift ships, and about 41 coastal missile patrol craft. In the event of a major Taiwan conflict, the East and South Sea Fleets would be expected to participate in direct action against the Taiwan Navy. The North Sea Fleet would be responsible primarily for protecting Beijing and the northern coasts, but could provide mission critical assets to support the other fleets. Taiwan completed delivery of four KIDD-class DDGs in 2006.

Figure 12. Taiwan Strait Military Balance, Naval Forces

Major Naval Units of the People's Liberation Army Navy
Figure 13. Major Naval Units

China's Missile Forces
China's Missile Inventory Launchers/Missiles Estimated Range
CSS-4 ICBM 20/20 12,900+ km
CSS-3 ICBM 9-13/16-24 5,470+ km
CSS-2 IRBM 6-10/14-18 2,790+ km
CSS-5 MRBM Mod 1/2 34-38/40-50 1,770+ km
JL-1 SLBM 10-14/10-14 1,770+ km
CSS-6 SRBM 70-80/300-350 600 km
CSS-7 SRBM 110-130/575-625 300 km
7,250+ km
Note: China's SRBM force has grown significantly in the past few years. China's Second Artillery maintains at least five operational SRBM brigades; another brigade is deployed with the PLA ground forces garrisoned in the Nanjing Military Region and a second brigade is forming in the Guangzhou Military Region. All of these units are deployed to locations near Taiwan.

Figure 14. China's Missile Forces

China's Space Assets
Inventory Total
Communications Satellites 14
Navigation Satellites 3
Meteorological Satellites 3
Remote Sensing/Imagery Satellites 6
Scientific Satellites 8
Manned Space System 1
Total 35
Note: China seeks to become a world leader in space development and maintain a leading role in space launch activity. Beijing's goal is to place a satellite into orbit "within hours upon request." With increasingly capable satellites, China is becoming competitive in some markets, but is not yet among the world's technological leaders.

Figure 15. China's Space Assets

Join the mailing list

Unconventional Threat podcast - Threats Foreign and Domestic: 'In Episode One of Unconventional Threat, we identify and examine a range of threats, both foreign and domestic, that are endangering the integrity of our democracy'