In pictures: China shows off military might at 70th anniversary parade

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image captionAbout 15,000 Chinese military personnel featured in the parade

Deep-sea drones and an intercontinental ballistic missile were among the advanced weapons on public display for the first time at a parade marking 70 years of communist rule in China.

According to the Ministry of National Defence, about 15,000 military personnel, 580 pieces of military equipment and 160 aircraft featured.

Military march-pasts on a grand scale have a long history in the country.

But experts say this year's display showed China's ambitions to modernise.

"It was Russian and Ukrainian equipment at these parades 20 years ago - now everything is made in China," Jon Grevatt of Jane's Defence Weekly told the BBC.

"The technological advancement that China has achieved is almost unprecedented."

Warfare has become increasingly information-driven in recent years - about networks rather than just systems.

This is reflected in the variety of unmanned systems on display in Tuesday's parade in Beijing, says BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Marcus, "in many ways the 'poster weapon' of new-age warfare".

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image captionHuge floats bore emblems including that of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (R)

For China, experts say today's parade is also a show of strength to the US.

"We have to remember that China's claims to territory are driving this - and many of these places happen to be claimed by US allies like Japan, and nations in the South China Sea," says Mr Grevatt.

At its heart is a strategy known as known as "anti-access area denial".

Our correspondent says it is exemplified by the DF-26 ballistic missile which, fired from land bases, is believed to have the accuracy to strike at the key element of US power projection, the US Navy's aircraft carriers.

This latest parade also saw the first public display of a newer model - the DF-41 road mobile intercontinental ballistic missile - which Chinese analysts say is able to target any part of the globe.

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image captionChina's military displayed new intercontinental ballistic missiles in public for the first time

Weapons expert Alex Neill of International Institute for Strategic Studies says the DF-41 can reportedly carry "a warhead payload of 10 multiple, independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRV)".

He adds: "A MIRV warhead can be guided towards a specific target, so one could potentially hit 10 different targets over a wide area."

China knows that its forces are now very much the benchmark against which the US is re-building its capabilities, says our correspondent, after decades of focusing on counter-insurgency operations in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.

China is responding by developing its own forces, extending their reach and sophistication.

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image captionSatellite images of the parade moving through Beijing's streets gave an idea of its vast scale
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image copyrightReuters
image captionHSU-001 underwater drones were on show for the first time
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image captionRelatives of revolutionary martyrs carried their portraits in the procession
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image captionOne float featured a giant portrait of Chinese President Xi Jinping
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image captionNon-military performers also took part in the parade

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