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China introduces equipment testing guidelines

China has introduced regulations to govern the testing and evaluation of defence equipment. The new rules are intended to enhance the capability of indigenously developed military technologies and systems.

On 13 February China's official news agency Xinhua said that the ‘Regulations on the Test and Appraisal of Military Equipment' outline the “basic tasks, contents, and management mechanisms of military equipment experiment and assessment under new circumstances”.

The news agency reported that President Xi Jinping, who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), signed an order to promulgate the rules on 10 February.

Citing analysts, China's state-run Global Times newspaper said the new regulations will raise the standard of weapons and equipment used by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and contribute to enhancing combat capability.

The regulations, which consist of 56 articles, state that they are intended for supporting China's military strategy and are “fully focused on preparing for wars”. The regulations also focus on aligning standards and evaluations of military technology and equipment.

The new rules seek to “regulate the management mechanisms” of testing and appraising military equipment in areas such as project status appraisals, life-cycle performance testing, combat trials, in-service assessments, and installation assessments.

The regulations also state that they intend to reflect the PLA's focus on introducing advanced technologies related to ‘informationisation' and ‘intelligentisation'. These are terms that Beijing uses respectively to reflect efforts to network its military and to integrate intelligent systems.

In late October 2021 China also enacted new guidelines for military equipment procurement. These were similarly geared towards boosting the PLA's capabilities and preparedness.

State media said the procurement rules bring into force a “military modernisation management concept” designed to improve equipment procurement procedures while also resolve “contradictory problems that restrict equipment development”.

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