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Chinese Aerospace Power: Evolving Maritime Roles Hardcover – April 30, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"a highly welcome addition to the literature...All chapters are based exclusively on a broad range of...sources, mostly available in Chinese language only...a balanced, insightful, thought-provoking, well researched, and timely analysis of an immensely important topic and an absolute must-read! The editors and contributors are to be congratulated for having put together such a wide-ranging volume that is eminently readable for China aerospace and defence experts and non-specialists alike."
--Marc SzepanThe Aerospace Professional (April 2013): 24.

"Andrew Erickson and Lyle Goldstein are associate professors at the US Naval War College where they founded the China Military Studies Institute. This has provided a context for a series of conferences and publications which have been major landmarks in the developing literature on the evolving maritime capabilities of...China...The fifth and latest is this study of maritime aerospace capabilities...breaks new ground...strongly recommended."
--Eric Grove, International Journal of Maritime History 24.2 (December 2012): 404-05.

"Andrew Erickson and Lyle Goldstein, two prominent China scholars at the Naval War College, fill an important interdisciplinary niche with this book by bringing together an all-star team of authors from both the Air Force and Navy communities. ... a compilation of 27 essays authored by an illustrious group including admirals, intelligence analysts, private-sector experts, and former defense attachés...a real treasure trove."
--Capt. Paul A. Stempel, USAF, Strategic Studies Quarterly 6.3 (Fall 2012): 149-51.

"an impressive series... the various discussions contained within its section on Chinese anti-ship missile (ASBM) capabilities provide much information on a technology that could have a significant impact on the balance of power in the Pacific."
--Conrad Waters, Review of Four Naval Institute Press Books, "Naval Books of the Year," Warship 2012: 190-91.

"an outstanding and important book."
--Alexandre Sheldon-Duplaix, Marine Technology (April 2012): 86-87.

Absolutely the most important book on air and space power I ve had the pleasure to read. The power of this detailed survey is doubled because it presents both an intelligent American analysis and an insightful view of the Chinese perception of the situation. Our two nations have much in common, but the understanding this difference in perception is essential to our selection of our future alternatives. A must have book! --COL. WALTER J. BOYNE, USAF (RET.)former director of the National Air and Space Museum

Serves well as an introduction to advances in Chinese maritime aerospace technology, and will also reward experts looking for the latest update on these evolving capabilities. Many readers will be surprised by the extent of Chinese progress described by the contributors to this work. They detail the strategic and technical issues that are shaping the Chinese military establishment as it looks beyond the country s shores, and examine how it will develop in coming years and decades. --BRADLEY PERRETT, Asia-Pacific bureau chief, Aviation Week, Beijing

An excellent and very readable overview of China s impressive advances in almost every aspect of air and space operations. Not only have the Chinese developed impressive technical capabilities, but they have also given careful thought to the operational concepts associated with them. This is a must read for anyone with a concern for American or Chinese military affairs. --COL. JOHN A. WARDEN III, USAF (RET.), author of The Air Campaign

From the Author

"Interservice conflict invariably produces friction.... The collection does an excellent job of highlighting where the rifts lay, and describing the effect that they've had on planning and procurement. ... These essays shine a light on how China is thinking about fighting the United States, deterring US intervention in regional conflict, and shaping US behavior in the Western Pacific...."
--Robert Farley, "Sunday Book Review: Chinese Aerospace Power," Information Dissemination, 11 March 2012. 
"the authors explore the strategic implications of Chinese forces for the US Navy and the military balance in East Asia...."
--"Chinese Aerospace Power: Evolving Maritime Roles," Brief Notices, Survival 54.1 (February-March 2012): 228. 
"Like the others in the series, it is also rich in detail, comprehensive in approach, strong in analytical rigour and light on speculation. ... the range of sources is impressive. Nearly always primary source--many translated from Chinese--and including more unusual techniques, such as the analysis of Chinese UAV exhibitions at trade shows, it allows for an authoritative discussion...honest self-assessment is admirable....anyone who is interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the rise of China would benefit from reading it."
--Captain Gordon A. Andrew, RAN, "Chinese Aerospace Power: Evolving Maritime Roles," Australian Defence Force Journal 186 (November/December 2011): 100-01.
"This enormously valuable and very up-to-date work... provides a very comprehensive analytical overview of the rapid development of the aerospace functions of the PLA Navy. Politicians, military officers, journalists, naval architects, ship-builders, ship-owners and even businessmen who have any connection with or concern for China would be well advised to buy and carefully study this book."
--Ausmarine (November 2011): 36.
"offers a broad overview and appraisal of recent developments in Chinese aerospace and maritime power and examines implications for the US military, especially Chinese prowess in fielding advanced cruise missiles and China's long-range precision-strike capabilities that pose a threat to forces in the Western Pacific theater...."
--"Reference & Research Book News," Book News Inc. (October 2011), 306.
"Andrew Erickson and Lyle Goldstein... have teamed up for the fifth time to produce an excellent addition to their series on China's maritime development. ... The book is timely ... a substantial overview of China's maritime aerospace developments, with a focus on important strategic areas, some of which are receiving notice for the first time. ...important reading for military practitioners and government and policy analysts who follow China's rise to great-power status."
--Robert L. Worden, Washington Journal of Modern China, 10.1 (September 2011): 76-77.
"offers a comprehensive survey of Chinese aerospace developments"
--Military Technology 35.9 (September 2011): 20.
"numerous strengths. Its greatest contribution to existing literature is that it uses a great deal of open source Chinese based literature to add credence to the authors all-star cast of scholars...discuss one of the most timely security studies subjects of the 21st century. ... When considered as a whole or in part, this work should give US strategic planners...pause. Erickson and Goldstein have created a volume that is balanced, dense in scope but still readable and enjoyable. Combined with the assemblage of a 'who's who' in Chinese security studies, the appeal of such a work is hard to deny. This volume should serve as the textbook to any security studies student who wishes to gain a scholarly perspective on China's aerospace and military rise to power from a maritime perspective. It is a work I will keep close at hand for years to come."
--Harry Kazianis, "Review: Chinese Aerospace Power, Evolving Maritime Roles," 5 Stars, e-International Relations, 6 September 2011.
"this volume evaluates the advances that China has made in its aerospace operations and the implications of this advancement for U.S. naval strategy."
--Katherine Duke, "Chinese Aerospace Power: Evolving Maritime Roles," "Short Takes," Amherst Magazine (Fall 2011): 46.
"there hasn't...been a place in English that brings together all the pieces of the puzzle...until the recent publication...of Chinese Aerospace Power...offers a comprehensive overview of all the latest developments, and touches on the whole spectrum of the Chinese aerospace capabilities...The essays, from some of the most highly regarded analysts in the field, help provide a good understanding of the state of Chinese aerospace modernization...a must-read piece for every government official involved with China-related issues, military or otherwise. If knowing your interlocutor is a prerequisite for successful negotiations, the book should be a big step towards providing a balanced and necessary understanding."
--Eleni Ekmektsioglou, "Understanding China," The Diplomat, 26 August 2011.
"In the past, I have found works by Andrew Erickson, Lyle Goldstein and the good folks at China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) to be of the highest quality and this book was no exception....does a great job of understanding China's motivations/intentions...a must read...I was pleasantly surprised by all of the new information/analysis that I found in this book regarding China's ASBM program...a much more comprehensive look than anything else I have read...very excellent read."
--Feng, Information Dissemination, 16 August 2011.
"...the papers presented by this installation are of the highest quality with primary Chinese sources. They are written by the most respected authorities on the subject.... While unveiling fancy new equipment can generate headlines, the press generally doesn't ask the deeper question of how new equipment may change existing PLA doctrine or examine potential implications. This is where the good folks from the CMSI come in and provide analyses that are lacking in the blogosphere...."
--China Defense Blog, 31 July 2011.
"...Beijing has a brutally simple--if risky--plan to compensate for [its] relative weakness: buy missiles. And then, buy more of them. All kinds of missiles: short-range and long-range; land-based, air-launched and sea-launched; ballistic and cruise; guided and 'dumb.' Those are the two striking themes that emerge from Chinese Aerospace Power...."
--David Axe, "China's Plan to Beat U.S.: Missiles, Missiles and More Missiles," Danger Room,, 27 July 2011.
"The editors Andrew S. Erickson and Lyle J. Goldstein must have sensed that a new wave of the heated debate between both antagonistic groups was coming up when publishing their overview ... the root of the argument remains the perception of a growing military power in China. And this is what the editors of the reviewed book have examined in a very convincing way. ...they have undertaken to publish a survey in which no less than 33 American and Chinese civilian and military experts on China, strategists and members of 'think tanks' examine how China should be perceived.... This approach guarantees that the reader can make a sober assessment when overlaying the Conclusions at the end of each chapter. ... You see that there are many very good reasons to read this thought-provoking analysis, and I have not even mentioned the highly interesting excurses on cruise missiles and ballistic missiles. I bet you will not put this book down until you are through its 493 pages...."
--Wolfgang Legien, Editor-in-Chief, Naval Forces; former Director of Politico-Military Affairs, Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic, Naval Forces: The International Forum for Maritime Power 32.7 (July 2011): 85.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (April 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591142415
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591142416
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,804,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Andrew S. Erickson is an Associate Professor in the Strategic Research Department at the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) and a core founding member of the department's China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI). He serves on the Naval War College Review's Editorial Board. Since 2008, he has been an Associate in Research at Harvard University's John King Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. Erickson is also an expert contributor to the Wall Street Journal's China Real Time Report (中国实时报), for which he has authored or coauthored thirty-three articles.

Erickson is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2012, the National Bureau of Asian Research awarded him the inaugural Ellis Joffe Prize for PLA Studies. During academic year 2010-11, Erickson was a Fellow in the Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program in residence at Harvard's Center for Government and International Studies. From 2008-11, he was a Fellow in the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations' Public Intellectuals Program, and served as a scholar escort on a five-Member Congressional trip to China. He has also helped escort the Commander of China's Navy and his delegation on a visit to Harvard; and worked to help establish, and escort the first iteration of, a bilateral naval officer exchange program.

Erickson has taught courses at NWC and Yonsei University. He advises a wide range of student research and theses at NWC, Harvard, and other institutions; and provides curricular inputs to NWC and other schools. In 2013, while deployed in the Pacific as a Regional Security Education Program scholar aboard USS Nimitz, he delivered twenty-five hours of presentations. Erickson has lectured extensively at government, academic, and private sector institutions throughout the United States and Asia. He has briefed the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations and his Executive Panel, as well as the Secretary of the Navy, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, other Executive Branch officials, and multiple Members of Congress; and testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Armed Services Committee, and U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. He has provided inputs for, and reviews of, various government programs and reports.

Erickson received his Ph.D. and M.A. in international relations and comparative politics from Princeton University and graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College with a B.A. in history and political science. He has studied Mandarin in the Princeton in Beijing program at Beijing Normal University's College of Chinese Language and Culture; and Japanese language, politics, and economics in the year-long Associated Kyoto Program at Doshisha University. Erickson previously worked for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) as a Chinese translator and technical analyst. He gained early experience working briefly at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong, the U.S. Senate, and the White House. Proficient in Mandarin Chinese and conversant in Japanese, he has traveled extensively in Asia and has lived in China, Japan, and Korea.

Erickson's research--which focuses on Asia-Pacific defense, international relations, technology, and resource issues--has been published widely in English- and Chinese-language edited volumes and in such peer-reviewed journals as China Quarterly, Journal of Contemporary China (forthcoming), Asian Security, Journal of Strategic Studies, Orbis, Asia Policy, Pacific Focus, China Security, and Acta Astronautica; as well as in Foreign Affairs, The Washington Quarterly (forthcoming), The National Interest, The American Interest, Foreign Policy, War on the Rocks, Joint Force Quarterly, IHS Jane's, China International Strategy Review (Chinese- and English-language editions), Fudan American Review, and International and Strategic Studies Report (Peking University). Erickson has also published annotated translations of several Chinese articles on maritime strategy. His coauthored Foreign article, "Not-So-Empty Talk: The Danger of China's 'New Type of Great-Power Relations' Slogan," has been read widely in U.S. and Asian policy circles. Erickson's RealClearDefense piece "What Sort of Navy America Needs" registered 60,000 page views in its first 24 hours online.

Erickson is the author of Chinese Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile Development (Jamestown Foundation, 2013). He is coauthor of two books: Gulf of Aden Anti-Piracy and China's Maritime Commons Presence (Jamestown, 2015) and Assessing China's Cruise Missile Ambitions (National Defense University, 2014). He has coauthored three additional volumes: Charting China's International Security Activism (Center for a New American Security, 2015) and the CMSI monographs Chinese Antipiracy Operations in the Gulf of Aden (2013) and Chinese Mine Warfare (2009). Erickson is the editor of two volumes: a study of China's military and commercial shipbuilding industry (Naval Institute Press, forthcoming) and Proceedings of the 47th History Symposium of the International Academy of Astronautics (held in Beijing, 2013). He is coeditor of, and a contributor to, eight volumes: Basing and Forward Presence in the Asia-Pacific (2014); the five-volume Naval Institute Press book series, "Studies in Chinese Maritime Development," comprising Chinese Aerospace Power (2011), China, the U.S., and 21st Century Sea Power (2010), China Goes to Sea (2009), China's Energy Strategy (2008), and China's Future Nuclear Submarine Force (2007); as well as the CMSI volume China's Near Seas Combat Capabilities (2014), and the Naval War College Newport Paper China's Nuclear Force Modernization (2005).

Erickson's work has been cited widely in scholarly publications and reports from the U.S. government and think tanks such as RAND and the Brookings Institution. He has been quoted extensively in numerous newspapers, magazines, and online sources, including Wired, Bloomberg, The BBC, The Economist, Aviation Week & Space Technology, and The New York Times. Erickson's work is also featured in a broad range of print, television, radio, and Internet media. Erickson has published op-eds with CBS and the Asahi Shimbun (Japanese- and English-language editions), and has appeared on CNN, C-SPAN, and the John Batchelor Show. He tweets at @AndrewSErickson and is listed among The China Studies Twitterati 50.

Erickson is co-founder of China SignPost™ 洞察中国 (, a research newsletter and web portal that covers key developments in Greater China, with particular focus on natural resource, technology, industry, and trade issues. He has coauthored 91 China SignPost™ reports. Analyses have anticipated: limitations in the implementation and efficacy of Xi-era reforms (#81), China's recent stock market slump (#89), and a long-run S-curved slowdown in China's economic growth rate and overall development trajectory (#44). Links to these, and Erickson's other publications, can be found at China Analysis from Original Sources 以第一手资料研究中国 (, a website that posts and curates analyses, many based on Chinese-language sources not previously assessed by foreign observers, to offer insights into China and its impact on the world.


China's military and foreign policy
Japan/Asia-Pacific security and international relations
Chinese defense science, technology, and industry
Maritime and aerospace technology development, history and current status
Energy, resources, and geostrategy
Military basing and power projection
Sino-American relations and contemporary policy issues

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tech Historian on August 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's quite possible there are better books on the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) and Chinese military strategy, but for me this book was astonishing. First by the fact that it is a series of edited articles from papers at conference. Almost everyone of the paper was informative (make that eye-opening) and the redundancy actually made the book better. Kudos to the authors and editor.

But the heart of the book for a novice like myself was the realization of what the Chinese Second Artillery Corps has pulled off. Terminally guided precision Anti Ship Ballistic Missiles (ASBM) have essentially made our carriers obsolete for a war-time Taiwan mission in the Western Pacific. The PLAAF cruise missile, fighter and air defense systems are impressive. All of it feels like the Soviet reconnaissance/strike package implemented by a country that has its act together.

This book should be required reading by every staffer in Washington.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Axe on July 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A useful analysis of Chinese air power, especially with regards to the sea. Balanced and highly technical, the book aims neither to hype nor downplay PLA capabilities.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harry Kazianis on April 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Let's face facts, there are many books on China's military rise. There are also many books that detail the technological evolution of China's armed forces. There are not many books though that bring together the world's best writers and thinkers on the subject in one volume who give a balanced approach to the subject. Andrew Erickson and a cast of global thinkers give the reader a fair, highly readable, and credible approach to the important subject of Chinese Aerospace Power. The book tackles a highly controversial subject and does it well, with very little bias or hype. In my own research, I turn to it time and time again when I am writing my own pieces.
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