(A tank developed by China North Industries Group Corporation Limited performs maneuverability demonstration at Airshow China 2016)
Military able to operate in any terrain to safeguard territory
China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) has strengthened its power and management in border defense by developing new types of equipment that can be used in all environments, including those with extremes of temperature and topography.
A satellite early-warning monitoring system is planned in some border areas that are in dispute or are difficult to enter and to patrol, the Beijing Evening News reported Sunday.
A surveillance camera network has also been built in border zones, and the density of coverage is set to increase to cover blind spots, although the report did not mention which, or if all, of China's border regions are covered.
The informatization and mechanization of equipment, vehicles and monitoring methods of PLA border defense will give an early-warning of any risks to security as well as overcoming previous blind spots, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Sunday.
The PLA has to increase the level of automation of its equipment, Song noted. This will include using drones and tracking vehicles to conduct patrols and setting up unmanned monitoring systems, which means border regions will come under continuous monitoring and control.
To cater to various geographic environments along China's long borders, the PLA has developed equipment that can be used in water, in the air or on land, Song said.
At Pangong Lake, which at an altitude of 4,250 meters is divided between Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region and India, the PLA has put a new patrol boat into use, made of non-metallic materials. The craft has a top speed of 40 kilometers per hour and can resist ice collisions.
A type of heavy scout vehicle, called the "wild ox," capable of accommodating 17 full-armed soldiers, has been deployed to a border defense regiment in Southwest China's Yunnan Province, which shares a border with three countries.
Besides a BeiDou satellite navigation system, it also has a real-time communication system installed. The scout vehicle also has water filters, a kitchen and a toilet so it can conduct patrols in tropical environments.
The report also implied that in the jungles of Yunnan, the sparsely populated deserts of Xinjiang and the high plateaus in Tibet, PLA troops began using drones to patrol more areas than 10 years ago, which has resulted in a 25-fold increase in efficiency.
Border defense troops in Koktokay, in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, have recently tested more than 20 types of new equipment.
Koktokay, in northern Xinjiang and bordering Mongolia, has an average temperature of -20 C in winter. A new type of hot water bottle that can keep water hot for 24 hours has been issued to soldiers in Koktokay.
The troops garrisoned at Koktokay have also tested other new equipment such as cold-proof blankets, tents and snow camouflage suits.
"Logistics support is the main guarantee to generate combat capability," Song said.
"These changes all benefit from China's increasing military technology ability and innovation," Song noted.
Guard rails have been set up along the border to prevent terrorists sneaking into China, an officer from a border defense detachment in Xinjiang's Kashgar, a prefecture that shares a border with Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan, told the Global Times previously.