Heavy artillery was just gaining ground at the start of WWI with the introduction of machine guns, armored tanks, and chemical warfare. These innovations revolutionized militant forces and altered the way countries would conduct war from that point forward.
That groundwork gave way to the advancements in technology that we have today. As technology continues to progress, the scope of war becomes an ever-changing visage.
With nearly a century of time passed since the last World War, the next seems like it may be overdue. But the question remains as to who the fighting forces would be. Should we find ourselves at war with China, the country often referred to as a “superpower,” we may face some of the highest technological advancements available.
Ultra Fast Aircraft
Among China’s military aircraft, the DF-ZF aircraft can fly at speeds five times the speed of sound, although it is reported it may be able to double that speed (1). These capabilities would allow it to reach speeds of 7,680 miles per hour. This hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) is designed to zoom past United States missile defenses.
With the latest advancements in cloaking technology, these fast speeds may be virtually undetectable. The exact science and application is still being configured, but cloaking abilities could spell drastic changes for military in the air (2).
Military missions, both manned and unmanned, will be accompanied by the latest innovations in drone technology. But instead of just capturing video footage or laser-guided bombs or missiles, the unmanned aerial vehicles may feature newer technology (3).
Chinese researchers are exploring the latest in electromagnetic technology. While railguns have existed since 1918, recent advancements have been made. This technology allows projectiles to be launched using electromagnetic force rather than gunpowder.
China’s progress and interest in the development of new military technology demonstrates their focus in the field (4). These efforts are being focused towards naval and on-land systems due to the device’s power generation concerns.
Outer Space Treaty
While all members of the United Nations – China included – agreed to the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, a modern day World War could see countries violating the treaty (5). This would mean military forces utilizing outer space to house or deploy weapons of mass destruction.
In addition to military technology, technology itself could be a major contributing factor in war efforts. Just recently, Chinese hackers were able to penetrate American personnel files (6). The cyber attack included individuals with top secret security clearance, potentially including information about their families as well. This effort was only one of many U.S. intelligence breaches with China (7).
The gathering of intellectual property may represent damage equal to, if not greater than, the mass destruction that could occur with weaponry technology. The United States government has continuously revealed vulnerabilities in their security as China and other countries manage to hack into high security facilities.
The hacking doesn’t have to stop with government facilities. If China were to explore their abilities on a domestic field, the result could be a crash in American infrastructure. So much of today’s business is conducted online, that a massive attack could spell major trouble for large and small scale businesses.
A war of any scale with a force such as China would be devastating to all countries involved and the world over. Although current relations are considered positive, the geopolitical power struggle could force US-Chinese relations to the point of no return. If action isn’t taken to quell the opposition, the result could be a war of epic proportions.