Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here -- China is working on a V/STOL jet for her navy

Nation starts research on naval jet
(Source: China Daily)   2015-05-13

  Move addresses gap in PLA's equipment and will further strengthen combat capability

  China's aviation industry is working on the development of aircraft with short takeoff and vertical landing capabilities needed for an important role in the Chinese navy's future operations, military experts said.

  "Research and development on components of STOVL aircraft, such as the engine, have started," Wang Ya'nan, deputy editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told China Daily.

  "The aircraft's principles are not new. They have been known for more than 40 years, so our aircraft designers should be able to develop the plane on their own," Wang said.

  In late March, the Aviation Industry Corp of China, the country's leading aircraft maker, announced on its website that two of its subsidiaries - AVIC Chengdu Engine Group and China Aviation Engine Establishment - have signed a cooperation agreement on the development of the STOVL aircraft's engine. The statement said the STOVL aircraft project aims to strengthen the People's Liberation Army navy's amphibious combat capability and address the absence of such a weapon in the PLA's arsenal.

  Compared with conventional fixed-wing aircraft, a STOVL plane can be readied for action in a shorter period of time and occupies less space in a hangar bay or on the deck of a ship. These features have made it a popular choice for naval powers since late 1960s, when Britain's subsonic Hawker Siddeley Harrier became the first STOVL aircraft to be put in service.

  Almost all STOVL aircraft in active service are based on the Harrier design, and they form the backbone of the naval forces of India and Spain.

  This move is not the first time China has aimed to build a STOVL aircraft. In the late 1960s, the PLA asked the aircraft institutes to develop a fixed-wing plane capable of vertical takeoff and landing. The project was later abandoned due to technical difficulties.

  The PLA also tried to buy the Hawker Siddeley Harrier in the late 1970s, but dropped the attempt because of cost, according to Western military observers.

  This time, AVIC appears to have made the right decision at the right time as the PLA navy now needs a STOVL aircraft because it will "significantly supplement and improve its amphibious capabilities", Wang said.

  "Though the PLA navy now has an aircraft carrier - the CNS Liaoning - it still lacks the experience of developing and manufacturing such a sophisticated naval platform, so there won't be more carriers in the short term," Wang said. "Let's assume that a conflict breaks out between China and another nation in the near future; the PLA navy's limited number of carrier-borne fighter jets, the J-15s, would have to engage in long-distance strikes as well as air defense for the carrier battle group, and they would have to be divided into small groups to perform these tasks simultaneously."

  If China had STOVL aircraft, they could be deployed on the CNS Liaoning and other ships to defend against incoming enemy aircraft, relieving the burden on the J-15s, which could then focus on long-range operations, Wang said.

  "Actually, in the foreseeable future, I don't see a high probability of China's involvement in a war far from its shores. Being dragged into limited amphibious conflicts in or near our territorial waters would be more likely. The STOVL aircraft will be the best choice for air support in such conflicts," Wang said, noting that it would be a perfect match for China's future amphibious assault ships.

  Amphibious tasks

  In November 2013, Yin Zhuo, director of the PLA navy's Expert Consultation Committee, told China Central Television that China is developing an amphibious assault ship whose displacement will be 1.5 times larger than the Japanese Izumo-class helicopter destroyer's 27,000 metric tons.

  Liang Tianren, a Hong Kong military observer, wrote in Hong Kong's Ming Pao newspaper in January that China is building a 50,000-ton amphibious assault ship that can carry 20 helicopters and 12 STOVL aircraft.

  "The government decided to build amphibious assault ships after the outbreak of Libyan civil war in 2011, in which some Chinese-owned assets were seized or damaged. China then had few military hardware to protect its properties," Liang said.

  "The situation made the government realize the importance of amphibious assault ships, which can fulfill various naval operations as well as conduct evacuations or humanitarian missions," he said.

  The first Chinese amphibious assault ship will be built before the end of this year, he said, reporting at least four such vessels will be made.

  Once the first amphibious assault ship is built, the navy will have to choose a suitable aircraft for it, Wang said.

  "The comparatively short deck cannot accommodate the fixed-wing J-15, and attack helicopters like the WZ-10 are slow and have a limited choice of weapons. But STOVL aircraft are fast - the maximum speed of the F-35B is nearly 2,000 km/h, and it has strong firepower," he explained.

  Vasily Kashin, a senior China analyst at the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow, told Sputnik News Agency, "If the PLA navy's amphibious assault ship is equipped with STOVL jets, it can be used as a light aircraft carrier, further adding to its combat capability."

  Senior Captain Zhang Junshe, a researcher at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, told China Daily: "The navy can deploy helicopters and STOVL aircraft on the amphibious assault ship, designating helicopters to conduct anti-submarine tasks and using STOVL planes to perform mid-and long-range air defense as well as air-to-surface strikes."

  Multiple roles

  The PLA air force will also find potential in STOVL aircraft, Wang said.

  "Compared with conventional aircraft, STOVL planes are quicker and more convenient to use in contingencies and conflicts because they have few airport or runway condition requirements. Even a poorly equipped airfield or takeoff/landing point can deploy a lot of them," he said. "They would be a good guard for front-line air bases."

  If the air force's bases were under attack, leading to conventional aircraft being grounded, STOVL fighter jets would still be able to take off to fight, gaining time for repairing the damaged bases and adding resilience to the air force, Wang said.

Photos of the day: French Mistral-class in China.

French Mistral-class protection and command (BPC) ship Dixmude arrives at the Wusong naval port in Shanghai, east China, May 9, 2015. A French naval taskforce consisted of the BPC ship Dixmude and the frigate Aconit arrived in Shanghai on Saturday for a 7-day visit. (Xinhua/Jiang Shan)

Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea

Given the fact that both sides are tracking movements of every ship in that area,  it is hard to believe this is an unplanned encounter by either side. "Funny how I keep bumping into you"

Fort Worth Completes South China Sea Patrol


While operating in international waters and airspace near the Spratley’s, Fort Worth conducted flight operations with its MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aircraft system and MH-60R Seahawk helicopter. Fort Worth encountered multiple People’s Liberation Army–Navy [PLA(N)] warships, each time taking the opportunity to use the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES).

“Just like our first meeting in February with a PLA(N) warship, guided-missile frigate Hengshui (FFG 572), our interactions with Chinese ships continue to be professional and CUES helps clarify intentions and prevent miscommunication,” said Cmdr. Matt Kawas, Fort Worth Crew 103 commanding officer. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

This PLAN Mediterranean naval drill has nothing to do with anything, I swear

China, Russia launch joint naval drills

(Source: Xinhua)   2015-05-11

   MOSCOW, May 11 (Xinhua) -- Chinese and Russian naval forces on Monday launched joint military exercises in the southern Russian port city of Novorossiysk.

  Military officials from both sides attended a ceremony to mark the beginning of the "Joint Sea-2015" drills, the fourth since joint China-Russia sea drills began in 2012.

  The drills, slated for May 11-21 in the Mediterranean and involving nine surface ships from both navies, are to be staged in four phases, focusing on maritime defense, replenishment and escorting.

  The two sides will prepare detailed arrangements for the drills later in the day, and the ships are expected to leave Novorossiysk for waters in the Mediterranean on Tuesday.

  "The joint drills are not aimed at any third party and have nothing to do with the political situation in that region," a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said.

  Geng Yansheng, a spokesman for the Chinese Defense Ministry, said earlier in the day that the drills will deepen friendly and pragmatic cooperation between China and Russia, and boost response operation capabilities in the event of security threats at sea.

  Prior to the drills, Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, said when holding talks with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow that China will work with Russia to deepen their pragmatic military cooperation.

Let slip the dogs of war

Puppies, who doesn't like puppies?

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Photos of the day: PTL02 wheeled assault gun of Chadian troops in action against Boko Haram

Since there is no RPG protection net spotted,  those guns must be deployed in a long rang fire support role instead of direct assault. 

Photo credit goes to AhluBayT News Agency

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

How the QBZ-95 bullpup’s action works

by Timothy Yan, Original article on The Firearms Blog


The Chinese QBZ-95 bullpup has been in service for two decades and due to its sheer production, over 1.65 million so far, it will be the most prolific bullpup ever built. I did a detailed write-up on the QBZ-95 for Guns & Ammo SIP in 2006. Since then, that article has been used by many writers and researchers as reference. However, there’s still some confusion and misunderstanding on the QBZ-95’s inner workings. I hope this will help clarify the matter.

The QBZ-95 is one of the four post-World War II military rifle designs that use a striker-firing mechanism. The other 3 in chronologic order are: the Czech Vz 58, the Japanese Type 64, the Russian AS and VSS twins. Unlike the rotating hammer firing mechanism found on the majority of the modern rifles, a striker-fired rifle uses either a spring-loaded firing pin or a linear hammer to fire the chambered cartridge.
The spring-loaded firing pin type is common in the majority of bolt-action rifles and modern striker-fire pistols such as the Glock. The linear hammer type is used by most striker-firing selective fire rifles. This particular type of striker-firing system has a spring-loaded hammer piece that reciprocates forward and backward in the receiver.

The Czech Vz 58 was based on an early post-WWII indigenous select-fire full-caliber rifle design but it was redesigned to chamber the Russian M43 7.62x39mm cartridge. The Vz 58 was developed in 1958 and it is still in service with the Czech and Slovakian militaries. Its action uses a Walther style dropping block locking system with a short-stroke gas system. The Vz 58’s linear hammer type striker-firing system was the main inspiration for the trigger and striker design of the QBZ-95. Although, the QBZ-95’s striker design is conspicuously different than that of the Vz 58’s.
The Japanese Type 64 was developed in 1964 and chambers the 7.62x51mm full power round, while it normally uses a reduced power version of the 7.62x51mm. The Type 64 is still in limited service with the JSDF. Design wise, the Type 64 uses a short-stroke gas system with a tilting bolt lock action.
The Russian AS special purpose rifle was developed in the late 1980s. Its suppressed VSS twin went into service about the same time as the QBZ-95. Both the AS and VSS are chambered in the Russian 9x39mm special purpose cartridge. The striker and trigger part of both Russian weapons are very similar to that of the Czech Vz 58, just smaller in size. The Russian weapons use long-stroke gas system and an AR-15 style multi-lug rotating bolt.

The following animation from CCTV shows how the QBZ-95’s action works:
1) – After the 5.8x42mm cartridge is fired, the propellant gas passes through the gas port at front of the barrel (in light blue) and drives back the short-stroke gas piston system (in dark green).
2) – The long extension of the bolt carrier (in brown) receives a tap from the short-stroke gas piston while the whole unit starts traveling back. The gas piston spring (in green & white) returns the short-stroke gas piston.
3) – After a short travel, the cam track in the bolt carrier turns and unlocks the 3-lug bolt (in red). The empty cartridge case (in green) is extracted then ejected out of the weapon by a receiver mounted solid ejector.
4) – While the bolt carrier group (in brown and red) is moving back, it also pushes back the striker (in dark blue) along and compresses the striker spring. The reciprocating components come to a soft stop without hitting a solid surface with the help of a recoil buffer (in purple).
5) – The bolt carrier group (in brown and red) starts to travel forward again from spring pressure of the main spring. The striker (in blue) and striker spring is being held back by the sear in the trigger mechanism.
6) – The bolt (in red) strips a new 5.8x42mm round from the magazine and chambers it. The forward moving bolt carrier (in brown) turns the bolt (in red) to engage its 3 locking lugs into the locking slots on the trunnion. The weapon is read to fire.
7) – By pressing on the trigger (in yellow), the connected linkage (in white) pulls down the sear in the trigger mechanism and releases the striker (in dark blue). The striker impacts on the firing pin and fires the chambered 5.8x42mm cartridge. The action cycle repeats again.
The only changes in the latest QBZ 95-1 variant is the redesign of the recoil buffer (in purple) to use a coil spring with a rotating movement, and a new trigger mechanism that moves the selector forward and above the pistol grip. The fixed forward grip that makes up the trigger guard on the original is also replaced by a simple round trigger guard on the later models. Plus, the QBZ 95-1 barrel has a faster twist rate.
Unlike the relatively simple looking linear hammers on the Vz 58 and AS/VSS, the QBZ-95’s striker piece has a very complex shape. The striker spring arrangement is also very different. Instead of having two parallel springs, on the QBZ-95, the main spring and the striker spring are in-line and uses the same spring guide rod.

Since the end of the Cold War, modern combat rifles are being produced in much smaller numbers. I estimate that the Arsenal 276 and Arsenal 256 will still need to make at least 5 million copies of the updated QBZ-95 variants just for replacing all the old Type 81, QBZ-56C and the worn out initial QBZ-95 model in the Chinese service. The Israeli Tavor family (includes the newer X95) of bullpups will get adapted by more countries around the world, but just in the total production numbers alone, the Chinese QBZ-95 will outnumber all other bullpup military rifles combined.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Photos of the day: 19th PLAN "gulf of aden" naval taskforce enters the BlackSea, enrouting to the Mediterranean

China, Russia to hold first joint Mediterranean naval drills in May

Chinese and Russian naval vessels participate in the Joint Sea-2014 naval drill outside Shanghai on the East China Sea, in this file photo taken on May 24, 2014. REUTERS/China Daily

Reuters/China Daily

(Reuters) - China will hold joint naval drills with Russia in mid-May in the Mediterranean Sea, the first time the two countries will hold military exercises together in that part of the world, the Chinese Defence Ministry said on Thursday.

China and Russia have held naval drills in Pacific waters since 2012. The May maneuvers come as the United States ramps up military cooperation with its allies in Asia in response to China's increasingly assertive pursuit of maritime territorial claims.

A total of nine ships from the two countries will participate, including vessels China now has on anti-piracy patrols in waters off Somalia, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng told a monthly news briefing.

"The aim is to deepen both countries' friendly and practical cooperation, and increase our navies' ability to jointly deal with maritime security threats," Geng said.

"What needs saying is that these exercises are not aimed at any third party and have nothing to do with the regional situation."

Geng gave no specific date for the drills, which will be focused on navigation safety, at-sea replenishment, escort missions and live fire exercises.

Since Western powers imposed economic sanctions on Russia last year over the violence in Ukraine, Moscow has accelerated attempts to build ties with Asia, Africa and South America, as well as warming relations with its former Soviet-era allies. [ID:nL8N0XP3ED]

China and Russia are both permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and have close diplomatic, economic and military ties, with China traditionally relying on Russia for its most advanced equipment.

President Xi Jinping is expected to visit Moscow next month to attend a parade celebrating the end of World War Two.

China has been increasingly flexing its military muscles since Xi assumed the presidency in 2013, jangling nerves around the region and globally, though Beijing insists it is a force for peace and threatens nobody.

China's navy has become a focus of Xi's efforts to better project the country's power, especially in the disputed South China Sea.

U.S. President Barack Obama accused China on Tuesday of "flexing its muscles" to advance its territorial claims at sea.[ID:nL1N0XP111]

China says about 90 percent of the 3.5 million sq km (1.35 million sq mile) South China Sea is its sovereign territory. The Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam also claim large parts.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Writing by Michael Martina; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)