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      2. Forging Swords --- View on CASIC's Missile Equipment Development from the Military Parade for the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of People's Republic of China


        When meeting with the representatives of aerospace workers in 2019, General Secretary Xi Jinping said great accomplishments start with dreams, rely on innovation and are fulfilled through hard work. What Xi said gets to the point of China's aerospace industry development.

        At the military parade for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, "Dongfeng", "Hongqi", "Yingji" and "Changjian" demonstrated China standing tall and firm in the East and the unwavering convictions as hundreds of millions of the Chinese people.

        All these major achievements in equipment manufacturing come from CASIC. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, CASIC, as a professional R&D and manufacturing company of all series of missile weapons and equipment of China, has always been adhering the corporate mission of "empowering the army with science and technology and serving the nation with aerospace technology" and making unremitting efforts to carry forward the great cause of "forging swords".

        Starting with dreams: the pillars of a great power forging the national defense foundation

        Reviewing the past, we can see how difficult it is to get by. The founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 is the innumerable martyrs' trades with the blood and the life. History and reality tell us that a war is a game of science and technology and a battle of wills. Peace is not from charity while truth is always based on excellent strength.

        Comrade Mao Zedong said that in the world today, it is necessary to protect us from being bullied.

        Comrade Deng Xiaoping said that it reflects a nation's ability and is also a sign of a nation's prosperity and development.

        As pointed out by General Secretary Xi Jinping, the only one who can end a war is the one capable of fighting. It is the foundation and core that cannot be bought with money.

        What makes these leaders bear in mind constantly is advanced missile equipment. It is the key to the success of a war and the sharp weapon to forge the national defense and security foundation.

        CASIC is formerly known as the Fifth Research Institute of the Ministry of National Defense established in October 1956. Here is the cradle of Chinese missiles and the base of forging swords.

        In the early days after the establishment of CASIC, Nie Rongzhen, then Vice Premier of the State Council, earnestly told the scientific researchers: "We have imported some weapon and equipment samples from the Soviet Union and have to understand these equipment technologies before independent design." He gave a vivid metaphor: "It's like that you have to learn to walk before you run and you must go upstairs from the first floor to the second floor. Imitation aims to be original, and only if you understand the technology thoroughly in imitation can you achieve the aim." This clearly shows the path for China's nascent missile industry in the fog.

        In the more than 100 years from the Opium War to the founding of the People's Republic of China, wars took place frequently in China, resulting in poor development of national industries, particularly heavy industry.

        If there is no computer, it takes 21 days to calculate one trajectory with hand calculator.

        If there are no design data, it is necessary to break down and derive data from every circuit to the whole equipment on numerous pieces of coordinate paper.

        In the face of China's "poor and blank" foundation and the cutting-edge missile technology that only a few people have come into contact with, the Chinese aerospace technicians, by virtue of their pledge and determination to serve the motherland and their strict and meticulous work style, have gradually explored a development path from imitation and modification to independent design and then to independent innovation.

        On November 5, 1960, China successfully launched its first short-range surface-to-surface missile DF-1, breaking the prediction that "China will never launch its missiles into space".

        In 1964, China successfully conducted flight test on its first ground-to-air missile HQ-1. The HQ-2 missile, independently developed by China in 1966, shot down U2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft many times, successfully keeping the peace in the airspace of China.

        In 1966, the combination of two bombs and the successful nuclear explosion test of the medium- and short-range missile DF-2 completely broke the superpower's nuclear blackmail and monopoly.

        From 1964 to 1972, China successively completed the centralized development of medium- and short-range missile DF-2, medium-range missile DF-3, medium- and long-range missile DF-4 and long-range missile DF-5 within eight years.

        In 1982, the successful launch of the submarine-launched missile JL-1 marked that China had the secondary nuclear strike capability.

        China is just like an iron dragon, roaming the world with the swords forged by CASIC. China has made a series of breakthroughs from "zero" in the missile industry, telling the world these great miracles at the military parade for the founding of the People's Republic of China.

        Over the 70 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China, China's missile equipment appeared 7 times at the military parades, demonstrating the development of China's missile industry. At the National Day military parade for the 35th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1984, China's missiles made their debut, particularly the YJ-8 known as "China's Flying Fish" and the HQ-2 missile that shot down U2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft many times, attracting worldwide attention. In 1999, a series of missile equipment developed and manufactured by CASIC appeared at the National Day military parade for the 50th anniversary, demonstrating the elegant demeanour of CASIC as China's leader in missile development and production. 10 years later, at the National Day military parade for the 60th anniversary, the ground-launched cruise missile made its debut at the scene and became the focus of the media and the audience. In 2015, China's missile system appeared at the military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Anti-Japanese War, amazing the world and inspiring the Chinese people. At the military parade held at Zhurihe Training Base to mark PLA 90th birthday in 2017, missile equipment made its debut on the battlefield. In 2018, navy warships carrying all kinds of missile equipment appeared at the naval parade in the South China Sea.

        When swords go beyond the sky, there is thoroughfare all over the world. After watching the military parade, netizens said with confidence that the mission will be achieved with Dongfeng special delivery. Only within the missile range can there be the peace and prosperity. Gao Hongwei, Chairman of the Board and Secretary of the Party Leadership Group of CASIC, said: "Since the founding of the People's Republic of China 70 years ago, practice has shown us that the firm leadership of the CPC Central Committee is just like the "backbone" and "fixing star" in the work of aerospace technicians, and the full exertion of the institutional advantages of concentrating our efforts on major issues is the basis of nationwide cooperation and collaborative innovation. With the profound and vast space spirit, we can make "impossible" "certainly possible" and create Chinese miracles in the history of aerospace.

        Relying on innovation: innovation strength supporting the pillars of a great power

        Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, China has always faced the suppression, blockade and sanction of superpowers in the field of aerospace defense equipment. This has strengthened China's determination to rely on its own strength to develop cutting-edge technology and forced China to make independent innovations through its own efforts in the aerospace industry.

        In 1978, the wave of reform and opening-up pushed the integration of China's aerospace industry into the country's economic and social development system. Through institutional reforms in the aerospace industry, China has gradually realized the transformation into large enterprise groups.

        In 1999, the United States bombed the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia, alerting the Chinese people that "lagging behind leaves one vulnerable to attacks" and they must be determined to catch up in the high-tech field.

        No matter at the initial stage of the aerospace industry or after the reform and opening-up, China has never dreamed of following the aerospace development paths of other developed countries or banked on technology gifts from other countries. Instead, generations of Chinese aerospace technicians have worked hard to overcome difficulties of core and key technologies and master key product technologies, finally working out a path of innovative development with Chinese characteristics that fits China's reality, and enabling China to firmly hold the initiative in the development of aerospace industry in its own hands.

        Over the past 60 years or so, China has carried out independent innovations and extensively applied system engineering theories and methods in the aerospace industry, constructed a scientific, coordinated and efficient "two-in-chief" system (chief designer and commander-in-chief), and formed a scientific and rigorous system engineering decision-making system, an organizational system based on project management, a technical system led by general engineering design department, and a product assurance system based on quality management.

        In 1999, CASIC was established with the mission of building national defense weapons and equipment and becoming the main body of the market economy, starting a new journey in the development of China's aerospace industry. By constantly overcoming the insurmountable in core and key technologies and solving the problems in innovation and development, CASIC has made a large number of significant original achievements in important fields, not only meeting the requirements of technology to push forward the aerospace industry, and also advancing the development of technology in related fields, enabling China to take the initiative in seizing the commanding heights in strategic science and technology fields that are related to the overall and long-term development of China, promoting the leapfrog development of national defense equipment, and providing material and technical foundation and precious spiritual wealth for realizing the Party's goal of empowering the army in the new era.

        The take-off curves trace the growth and the prizes show the innovation strength. Over the past 20 years since its establishment, CASIC has completed a "counterattack" from an aerospace electromechanical group with a loss up to 80% at the beginning of establishment to the current aerospace science and industry corporation ranking among the top 10 central SOEs in terms of operating performance in 2018. Over the past 20 years, CASIC won the special prize in the National Science and Technology Progress Award for the fifth time and one China Patent Gold Award. By the end of December 2018, CASIC had obtained over 23,000 valid patents, including 14,000 invention patents, and 2 international standards formulated under the lead and participation of CASIC.

        The fruits of innovation come from ample innovation investment and cultivation. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, CASIC has taken innovation as the first driver for the great cause of "forging swords", exerted itself to lay a solid foundation for innovation, and made great efforts to establish a new weapon and equipment development pattern of "equipment systematization, system intelligentization, and intelligence-aided battle", to march forward to a new stage of system-led and operation-led development.

        —CASIC has always stayed true to its founding mission based on Xi Jinping's thought on strengthening the military and performed its mission based on the Party's innovation theory, aimed at the innovation goal of "reducing the cost by more than 50% without any performance change and improving the performance by more than 50% at constant cost", and done a good job in top-level planning for putting the innovation-driven development strategy into practice.

        —CASIC has attached great importance to the innovation in "five new generations" and "four basic supporting technologies" to carry forward equipment innovation, and focused on strengthening the development of the world's emerging strategic science and technology fields, new national defense equipment and cutting-edge technologies.

        —Starting with multi-level (national, ministerial and provincial, and group) innovation platform, CASIC has built and operated 28 national-level scientific and technological innovation platforms and 115 ministerial and provincial-level ones, established 4 applied basic research centers including applied mathematics, new material and new process. It has also taken an active part in integrating into the social innovation network and fostering innovation teams or enterprises with core technological competitiveness.

        —Based on high investment in innovation (with more than 10% of its operating income invested in technological innovation), CASIC has taken the lead in researches on quantum, intelligent manufacturing and other forward-looking technologies, and taken various incentives to "introduce, employ, foster and retain" scientific and technological talents.

        Gao said that we are currently in a "no man's land" of innovation without answer or experience to refer to in some fields and are at a critical stage of moving from big to strong. It gradually becomes difficult for a ship to sail forward and for a man to climb a mountain on the halfway. In this case, there are two inevitable choices: keep forging ahead or keep falling behind. We must keep abreast of the times, be brave to lead the trend of the times and keep ahead of the times.

        In the new era, China is experiencing profound changes in the connotation and extension of security, the space-time domain and the internal and external factors. Gao said CASIC must keep a clear mind, face up to the gap, innovate independently, fully implement Xi Jinping's thought on strengthening the military, and must be prepared to make more arduous efforts, seize current opportunities, live up to the great era, and keep on firmly building the great wall of steel for our motherland to create an aerospace miracle that makes the world sit up and take notice.

        Fulfilling dreams through hard work: achieve great accomplishments in obscurity

        There are people sheltering us from storm, so we enjoy the peaceful time. There are people moving on, so we can enjoy the scientific and technological progresses.

        The test successes and technological breakthroughs that have shocked the world are the efforts of generations of aerospace technicians who have "achieved great accomplishments in obscurity".

        In 1950, Qian Xuesen, the youngest lifetime professor of MIT School of Science, resolutely decided to return to China to serve the country with science and technology. Kimbeel, then Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Navy, said: "Qian is a top expert in rocket missile manufacturing! He is valuable, worthy of 3 to 5 divisions under any circumstances! I would rather shoot him than let him go back to China." For this reason, Qian was persecuted by the US government and lost his freedom, and took 5 years to return to China. After returning to China, Qian devoted himself to the China's rocket and missile industry and made great contributions to the establishment and development of China's aerospace industry.

        As the Chief Designer of China's first submarine-launched solid-propellant strategic missile JL-1, Huang Weilu was determined to develop China's own missile! During development, Huang led his team to boldly develop a submarine-launched missile development method with Chinese characteristics, and put forward the creative idea of "discuss problems together, overcome difficulties together, master allowance together and bear risks together". He always leaves responsibilities and risks to himself while the allowance and honor to others. At that time, Huang, over 60 years old, lost 11kg due to long-time overwork and great mental stress. People said that Huang is sacrificing himself for the advancement of missile, finally bringing hope and pride to a nation! In 1982, the submarine-launched solid-propellant strategic missile JL-1 succeeded in launch test, indicating that China had effective countermeasures against nuclear threat and blackmail, and also firming the unwavering convictions of the Chinese nation!

        Each generation has its own Long March and responsibility. In modern society, these sword forgers always devote themselves in obscurity to pursue benefit of sharp weapons and equipment. All aerospace technicians show their ambitions of "forging swords" by forging reliable and sharp national swords.

        Academician Liu Yongcai, who led his team to develop China's first generation of ground-launched cruise missiles and won the National Science and Technology Progress Award for First-batch Innovation Teams, exchanged 70% of his stomach for 70% of new technology. Chief Engineer Wang Zhenhua took root in the third-tier base all his life and led his team to pioneer the independent development of new aerospace models at the third-tier base under extremely difficult conditions.

        Leading scientific and technological representatives of CASIC always receive the special-class National Science and Technology Progress Awards on the backstage in the Great Hall of the People. For confidentiality, many aerospace technicians like "Mr. Zhang", "Mr. Wang" and "Mr. Liu" are still unknown to the public. Perhaps it will be decades before they are known to the world, just like people know the deeds of the elder generation of military people such as Guo Yonghuai, Deng Jiaxian and Qian Sanqiang.

        Every time the iron dragon takes off, it is thanks to the unconditional struggle and dedication of generations of aerospace technicians at any price without any regrets.

        Young people in the aerospace industry also have their special poetry and distance. Some testers even spend more than 300 days in external test fields, some researches have celebrated their New Year's Day in Gobi Desert for 11 consecutive years. A young man who has participated in field tests for a long time once had such a monologue on his WeChat: Once, I conquered the sand sea and Gobi at 70℃ and the frozen soil and ice sand at -40℃, but I could not keep her at 36.7℃. A young mother once wrote a poem called "Mom in Gobi" during her business trip: "My dear baby, I'll go to the remote Gobi in the early morning, forgive me for weaning you. I set off and like a soldier turn away from you. In your dream, I'll extend my hands thousands of miles to embrace you". A daughter waiting for her mom wrote: "Dear mom, where are you? I miss you. If you are in the field or by the river, I'll go there for you. If you are not anywhere but in the office, I'll give up looking for you and wait for you". This is the true portrayal of ordinary aerospace youths in the new era!

        Through ups and downs, the missile chariots solemnly convey the confidence and responsibility of guarding peace, responding with forceful facts to the determination of Qian Xuesen, Father of China's Space Program, when he said "If foreigners can, we can" as the answer to the question "Can China be engaged in missiles?" more than 60 years ago. (Written by Ke Xuan)

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