China’s military has set up a defense research agency to develop state-of-the-art weapons such as stealth aircraft and electromagnetic cannons.
The new department is reportedly similar to the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), set up in 1957 by the Pentagon. Called ‘Scientific Research Steering Committee’, the agency was set up early this year, South China Morning Post reported citing a documentary aired on state broadcaster CCTV that revealed the new department for the first time.
It falls directly under the Central Military Commission (CMC), which is chaired by President Xi Jinping.
The new committee and the CMC Science and Technology Commission will spearhead scientific and technological innovation, according to the CCTV documentary.
Song Zhongping, a Hong Kong-based military commentator with Phoenix Television, said the committee should include scientists and leading engineers who were familiar with cutting-edge technologies.
“The steering committee will play a consultative role to help the CMC to decide on projects at an early stage,” Song said. “Funding, resources and the detailed implementation of these projects will be overseen by some of the 15 functional departments under the CMC”.